posted by [identity profile] at 10:11pm on 2007-04-05
I'm in Baltimore, Maryland.

I'm a bit nervous about buying vehicles at state/county auctions, but the idea of hiring a mechanic to come along and advise does help with that ... Hmm. Time for me to see what folks like that charge around here, or whether any of my Much More Car Enclued friends are willing to go hit an auction with me.

There'll also be the matter of dealing with the state inspection, but with someone who can steer me away from the cars with problems in that regard, the inspection just becomes an added step to deal with instead of a potential landmine.

[Maryland auto inspections are not periodic safety inspections as they are in many other places; they're a "try to convince people to buy from dealers instead of each other" hurdle, and are only required when the vehicle is bought or sold. So you can buy a passing vehicle and drive it for ten years accumulating serious safety issues, and unless you lose a headlight the car will still be legal. But when buying a car there are all sorts of uber-nitpicky things that can cause it to flunk the inspection, some of which seem like legitimate safety issues and some of which don't. If I'm seriously interested in a car that doesn't have a recent inspection certificate, I want to be able to get it inspected (by an authorized inspection station) before buying it so I'll know how much more it'll cost me to make it legal. And it's unusual for even a really nice-seeming car to pass on the first try. Another consequence is that even buying a car from just across the border in DE/PA/WV/VA/DC is an extra level of headache for a Marylander.]
posted by [identity profile] at 11:55pm on 2007-04-05
I once ran into that rarity of rarities, an honest used-car dealer, at Port Towns Motors on Bladensburg Road in Mount Rainier. Unfortunately, I understand that particular salesman no longer works there. But he was honest about which cars had massive electrical problems, which had bad engines, and which were just plain old but good cars...of the cars on the lot, perhaps two or three were creampuffs....

It might be worth a visit to see if they've hired another honest salesperson...
posted by [identity profile] at 01:05pm on 2007-04-06
Laurel Motors on Rt. 1 South (about a block past Main St.) totally won my heart. Honest, friendly, nice cars and the raging-conservative salesman can be overlooked in this case. Plus, they really helped me out when I tole them I didn't have much to spare.
posted by [identity profile] at 08:36pm on 2007-04-06
Aggh. Don't get me started on the MD inspection thing. I can't tell you how many rolling road hazards I've come across with MD/DC plates. Someone needs to enclue these people that driving with non-functional headlights and taillights is Not A Good Idea.



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