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Pre Purchase Inspection tips, lessons learned, horror stories, strokes of luck

29 December 2010
Pittsburgh, PA
It's likely that I'll pull the trigger soon on an out of town PPI. I've read (and enjoyed) the wiki and threads about buyer's advice like inspection checklists, buying from a Primer, preferring cars with maintenance histories, seeking an NSX cert'd tech and collision expert for PPI's, checking carfaxes, asking local Primers for a drive-by or PPI tech recommendations, compression/leakdown or not, etc. But where things get interesting is searching thread titles for "pre purchase inspection" and reading about all the things on the fringe like inexperienced PPI sources (bad), things intentionally witheld by unscrupulous sellers (worse), or later finding things not discovered during an otherwise solid PPI simply because you can't see thru steel or predict the future (dumb luck). In fact very ironically I realized today that an NSX just listed in Autotrader was owned for only 3 months and is the same one I passed on in November since the car and the seller seemed kind of sketchy; it needed thousands of $ of service after purchase around December, possibly due to a bad PPI or no PPI. I'll later update my other thread on this car out of fairness to future Prime shoppers once I verify a few things so as to not unfairly penalize the current seller if the car is now solid.

So I'd like to hear if anyone has any good fringe stories from their PPI's that are above and beyond all the good typical buyers advice and which will actually be good lessons learned to pass on. Did you provide a checklist or let the dealership use theirs? Some Acura dealer PPI's sound like a general checklist for screening CPO's, and I've heard too often of CPO cars that were probably only given a visual once-over, oil change, and detailing... Although they're interesting to hear about, I'm not looking for any "I passed on a PPI and got a bulletproof gem for $22k" stories, as awesome as those are.


PS - am I crazy or was there once a 4 or 5 page pdf "buyers guide" from a Honda-fan magazine that's no longer available on the Wiki? I'm thinking it was this and that someone re-typed it possibly to avoid some copyright issue? Does anyone recognize this as being a retype of an article?

The most important issue in getting either a dealer or independent NSX technician PPI is to verify the experience of the person conducting the inspection.

Good luck yinz - anxious to see what you end up finding.
-Look for paint runs, overspray, color matching off.
-Also check the front frame rails for damage.
Thanks everyone so far. 99NCX - I'm as curious to see what I get as you are. See you in NC or PGH with it hopefully soon. Blue - thanks for the great link, exactly the tales I "enjoy" during my hunt, but only when they end well for someone. I'm glad things turned out good for McNice. Another kudos for Ben - he actually PM'd me yesterday shortly after me posting this thread telling me to call anytime for PPI questions. What a guy, what a great resource Prime can be. Good thing my gut told me to pass on the one in November - could have ended similarly had I got a bad PPI, but that would have been unlikely since one of our gurus lived near the car.

I had a great experience with my PPI from Acura of Concord. They didn't miss a single detail and I was so satisfied with my experience with them that I had them keep the car in the bay and do the TB/WP job. Luckily nothing else was found and the car was rock solid, I drove it cross-country sight unseen.

I'm not sure what there is to really worry about, anybody running a PPI as an unbiased 3rd party is really working in your corner.