Here are a few frequently asked questions:

Why Auto Analyst

The Carfax Report says there are no accidents, do I really need to have the car inspected by Auto Analyst?

Definitely. Carfax is far from perfect. We regularly find paint work and body repairs on cars that have “clean” Carfax reports. Carfax is useful, and we recommend that you get one for the car or truck you are looking at, but nothing can match a full hands on Pre Purchase Inspection from the Auto Analyst. Even if an accident is reported on Carfax, only Auto Analyst can tell you just how bad that accident was. Was there frame damage? Were the repairs done well. Should the fact that this car has had an accident be a no buy decision maker? Auto Analyst can answer these questions, while Carfax cannot.

The car I found is a "Certified Used Car", do I really need Auto Analyst to do a Pre Purchase Inspection?

The answer here lies in another question. What exactly is a “Certified Used Car”? There is no standard for what that term means. To some dealer it might simply mean that he “Certifies” that the car is indeed “Used”. Some dealers think a car is “Certified” if they liked it enough at the auction to buy it. Most of the time, however, being Certified merely means the the car comes with a somewhat longer warranty. The short answer, of course, is that YES, by all means you need to have that “Certified Used Car” inspected before you buy it.

Why should I use Auto Analyst? Why not go to a regular mechanic or service shop?

The Auto Analyst has been performing Pre Purchase Auto Inspections for almost twenty years. Ron & Jeff have a blend of talents and experience that make them uniquely qualified . They have both worked as certified mechanics, but also have spent long years buying and selling used cars. This gives them the ability to both evaluate the mechanical condition of a vehicle, ferret out any hidden paint work or body damage, and then to correctly appraise its value. No mere mechanic can do all those things, no matter how many certifications he has. Additionally, a mechanic will have an axe to grind. He makes a living repairing cars and trucks. He doesn’t make a living when he is not repairing cars and trucks, so he has a vested interest in finding issues that need repair – whether they need it or not. Auto Analyst has no such interest. Our only interest is to make sure you don’t buy a lemon, that you have a good idea of what to expect from your new car over the near term, and that you pay the right price for it. No mechanic will be able to give you that.

How does the Appointment Process work?

How much notice do you need to set up an appointment?

We usually only need about 24 hours notice to set up an appointment. We take appointments Monday through Saturday.

How do you get underneath the car if we don't bring it to your shop?

The Auto Analyst van is equipped with everything we need to do a complete and comprehensive inspection. We bring floor jacks to put the vehicle up in the air, computer, scanners, and other diagnostic tools to “Talk” to the cars computer and test all of the components. We don’t mess around and when we are finished you will know everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision.

How soon can I get the report from you once the inspection is completed?

Once the inspection is complete, we immediately email the completed report in PDF form (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this. If you do not have Acrobat, just click the previous link and follow the instructions for a free down load. Its easy) to you. Once you’ve had a chance to look it over, we encourage you to give us a call so we can go over the finer points together and answer any questions you have.

How do I pay you for the Inspection Report?

That part is easy. We will send you a PayPal invoice along with your report in a separate email. from which you can pay using whatever form you prefer. They take MC, VS, DS, AMEX, Venmo, and electronic checks. It’s very easy and secure, just follow the links. If you prefer, We also take checks and cash. The mailing address is on the Paypal invoice you will receive. Just send us an email to let us know you will be mailing a check.

Does Auto Analyst....

When doing a Pre Purchase Inspection, does Auto Analyst also include an appraisal of the vehicles value?

Yes we do. First we give you the NADA retail value. This is what a dealer will usually start with as an asking price. Then we give you the Wholesale value. This is what a dealer would most likely offer you for a cash sale. We get this from researching actual Auction figures where we see what that particular is actually bringing at the dealer auctions. Then we give you our Auto Analyst Appraisal, which is what we thin k you ought to actually pay for the vehicle as a retail purchase. This takes into account whatever repairs are needed, or will be needed in the near future.

Does Auto Analyst do repairs on cars or trucks?

NO. Auto Analyst Inspects and Appraises all kinds of cars and trucks only. We do not sell them, nor do we perform any repairs. This is what assures you that we are totally unbiased and can be trusted to stay that way.

Does Auto Analyst perform State Safety and Emissions inspections?

No, we do not. We are a mobile service, and those inspections must be done at a fixed facility. We will be able to give you an idea as to whether the vehicle you are looking at should pass those inspections, but you will need to take it to a state authorized facility to get it done.

General Appraisal Questions

What is Diminished Value?

Diminished Value is what happens when your car or truck is hit and suffers body and/or frame damage. The insurance company dutifully pays for the repair of the vehicle, but what do you have when it is all over? You have a vehicle that is worth substantially less than it was before the collision. Who takes that financial loss? You do when you eventually sell or trade in that car, and it can easily get to thousands of dollars on today’s cars and trucks. That loss can be recoverable from the insurance company, but you may need an attorney to get it, and you will definitely need a Diminished Value Appraisal to show the loss. Click here for a sample report.

If my car has had a previous accident, can I still make a Diminished Value claim?

In general, the answer is no. Diminished value only happens once to a car or truck. Once a vehicle has been in an accident and had repairs made, it has suffered all the diminished value it can accrue. Most Insurance companies will disallow any claims on vehicles that already have a negative Carfax report showing a previous accident.

How do I get a Salvage Branded vehicle titled in Virginia or Maryland?

Maryland and Virginia are making it increasingly difficult to title and register Salvage branded cars and trucks. Both states are now requiring an inspection and appraisal by a licensed appraiser to determine the value of the vehicle at the time of the accident, the estimated cost of repairs, whether the replacement parts were new or used, and whether the repair work was satisfactory. This applies even to stolen/recovered cars with no accident history. If the value of repairs exceeds 90% of the then value of the vehicle, no title or registration will be issued. For this reason, Auto Analyst recommends extreme caution when buying a Salvage branded car or truck. If you have purchased such a vehicle, Auto Analyst is qualified to perform the required appraisal and can provide you with the necessary forms and documentation to help you through the process.

Click here to see a sample Salvage letter.

Click here to see a sample salvage appraisal.

What do I need to know about donating my car to charity?

Many people today are donating their cars to a charity rather than sell them. Its a great way to help out a charity in need, it solves the problem of what to do with a car you are replacing, and you can get a nice tax deduction to boot. Just be aware that there are a number of rules you need to adhere to in order to do it properly. There is an IRS form you need: Click here for IRS Form 8283 and the Instructions.

Does Auto Analyst Recommend Dealerships or Auto Repair Shops?

What Dealers would you recommend to shop for a used car/truck?

Auto Analyst does not recommend any particular dealerships. The important thing to remember, when shopping for a used car, is that all dealerships get their cars from the same place. A large multi-brand new car dealership is just as likely to get a lemon at the auction as the smallest mom & pop dealership in town. What really matters is the Vehicle! It does not really matter who you buy it from. Get an Auto Analyst inspection before you buy it, and you will be safe regardless of who you buy it from. Having said that, there is the danger of Curbstoners. You should beware of these people. Curbstoners are illegal “dealers”, rip off artists mostly, who pose as private sellers and usually are selling junk.

Where should I take my car for repair?

We do not recommend any particular repair shops, for the same reason we don’t recommend dealerships. We just wish to remain as unbiased as we can, so we stay away from that. What we would recommend is finding a shop with a good reputation among friends. Go look at it. Is it dirty and messy? Or is it neat and clean. Check with AAA for their recommendations. Are the Mechanics ASE Certified? Is there a Master Certified mechanic there? Are they busy. Do customers look happy when coming out? OK, you’re not a gumshoe, but you get the idea, that is how to pick a good repair shop.