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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Short version: Pre-purchase inspections are well worth the money! Each one is a paper cut to the wallet, but it's better than having your savings account amputated to salvage a bad purchase.

Long version: I was looking for a practical, dependable car to get me from point A to point B when I saw a dark gray, 2008 Base Cayman described as in "very good condition" for sale. I HAD to have that car!

Vehicle unseen, I contacted seller and made arrangements for him to drop it off at a German auto tech for a pre-purchase inspection at my $240 expense. I timed my drive so I'd arrive during the inspection. Two hours into a three hour drive, I learned that the car had not been dropped off. Couldn't reach seller, so I did a u-turn and headed back to Portland. Seller later apologized for the snafu and offered to pay for the inspection if I was willing to drive out again. I agreed, but decided to see the car before the inspection.

I saw the car and was underwhelmed, though still tempted to haggle and buy it on the spot. Luckily, sanity won out and I waited for the inspection. The pre-purchase inspection mechanic called and described about $8k in delayed maintenance and much needed repairs, not the least of which was a cracked head. Sadly, after I took a pass, I saw that seller continued advertising the car as in "very good condition."

Bullet dodged, I slowed my roll and began to properly research all things Cayman, early and late models, bells, whistles, and warning signs.

After reviewing Kelly Blue Book, NADA, CarFax suggestions, Edmunds, and all things in between, I was willing to pay trade-in value plus a thousand bucks or so, i.e. more than "private party" prices but less than dealer's retail. The pickings were slim, but enough to keep me hopeful. A $300 inspection saved me from a $26k money pit in Southern California. That one really bummed me out more than the first.

I was no longer having "fun" searching, and even returned to a previously seen a Craigslist ad for a "brown" Cayman S north of Seattle. Brown? Seriously? Brown? Somewhat desperate, and with low expectations, I decided to drive north of Seattle to see the "excellent condition," Macadamia Metallic Brown, manual, 2008 Cayman S with 60k. The color really caught me off guard: I think "classy" is a fair description. I made an offer subject to my subjective approval of a pre-purchase inspection ($350 at Cantrell Motorsport). Inspection found $1,700 in suggested repairs and noted that tires were thin. I made an offer based on the inspection and seller countered. Sold!

I got 4 new tires (Michelin Pilot Sport 4s) balanced and installed for $1,250 at H M Motorsport in Beaverton, then I got an oil change and new air filters for $473.68 at Stuttgart Autotech Inc. in Lake Oswego. Stuttgart did a free inspection and said the car was in "great" condition.

I can't deny that the pre-purchase expenses were starting to stress me out, but this would have been a very different post had I purchased one of the two "failures."

Instead, I haven't enjoyed driving this much since I was a teenager!
 

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Short version: Pre-purchase inspections are well worth the money! Each one is a paper cut to the wallet, but it's better than having your savings account amputated to salvage a bad purchase.

Long version: I was looking for a practical, dependable car to get me from point A to point B when I saw a dark gray, 2008 Base Cayman described as in "very good condition" for sale. I HAD to have that car!

Vehicle unseen, I contacted seller and made arrangements for him to drop it off at a German auto tech for a pre-purchase inspection at my $240 expense. I timed my drive so I'd arrive during the inspection. Two hours into a three hour drive, I learned that the car had not been dropped off. Couldn't reach seller, so I did a u-turn and headed back to Portland. Seller later apologized for the snafu and offered to pay for the inspection if I was willing to drive out again. I agreed, but decided to see the car before the inspection.

I saw the car and was underwhelmed, though still tempted to haggle and buy it on the spot. Luckily, sanity won out and I waited for the inspection. The pre-purchase inspection mechanic called and described about $8k in delayed maintenance and much needed repairs, not the least of which was a cracked head. Sadly, after I took a pass, I saw that seller continued advertising the car as in "very good condition."

Bullet dodged, I slowed my roll and began to properly research all things Cayman, early and late models, bells, whistles, and warning signs.

After reviewing Kelly Blue Book, NADA, CarFax suggestions, Edmunds, and all things in between, I was willing to pay trade-in value plus a thousand bucks or so, i.e. more than "private party" prices but less than dealer's retail. The pickings were slim, but enough to keep me hopeful. A $300 inspection saved me from a $26k money pit in Southern California. That one really bummed me out more than the first.

I was no longer having "fun" searching, and even returned to a previously seen a Craigslist ad for a "brown" Cayman S north of Seattle. Brown? Seriously? Brown? Somewhat desperate, and with low expectations, I decided to drive north of Seattle to see the "excellent condition," Macadamia Metallic Brown, manual, 2008 Cayman S with 60k. The color really caught me off guard: I think "classy" is a fair description. I made an offer subject to my subjective approval of a pre-purchase inspection ($350 at Cantrell Motorsport). Inspection found $1,700 in suggested repairs and noted that tires were thin. I made an offer based on the inspection and seller countered. Sold!

I got 4 new tires (Michelin Pilot Sport 4s) balanced and installed for $1,250 at H M Motorsport in Beaverton, then I got an oil change and new air filters for $473.68 at Stuttgart Autotech Inc. in Lake Oswego. Stuttgart did a free inspection and said the car was in "great" condition.

I can't deny that the pre-purchase expenses were starting to stress me out, but this would have been a very different post had I purchased one of the two "failures."

Instead, I haven't enjoyed driving this much since I was a teenager!
I'm impressed by that deal on new tires more than anything!
 
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