Buying a Car Sight-Unseen and Pre-Purchase Inspections??

I have been expanding my searches lately for a new vehicle. The kinds of cars that I want seem to be few and far between locally to me. This means I might have to take a blind leap of faith and plunk down cash on something that I won’t be in the seat of until I have already purchased, or have nearly purchased it.

Mazdaspeed6's have been on my radar for years....

I have come across something recently that I really like from a used car lot 1300 miles away. The ad has tons of pictures and it looks really clean and exactly what I want. They are also an eBay seller and have plenty of good feedback.


So besides running a Carfax and asking for additional pictures, I have also looked around and found a few Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI) services in the area.

Looking at their websites, it looks like they’ll do a photo-set, run codes, drive it and inspect for odd noises and leaks. It seems like it would be a wise investment of $150.

The Saab Turbo-X Sportcombi is one of my favorite wagons

So, has anyone here actually done this type of thing? If so, how happy were with your PPI and the buying sight-unseen experience in general?


Also, if you have had a PPI done, were you able to ask to have them inspect specific things? Some of the cars I’m looking at have quick, little things to look at that can tell me a lot about potential issues beyond just what scanning for codes and a test drive would tell me.

Volvo made the V70R in such great colors.

I’m still in preliminary stages of this process right now. The thought of flying out to buy a car and drive over a thousand miles home (yeah, I know I could ship, but driving is a fair bit cheaper and much more fun) seems way out of my comfort zone at this point.

I’m hoping that some of you will be able to share some positive stories about doing this to give me the confidence to pull the trigger as the car I am currently interested in is quite a hard-to-find car.

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