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What do you do about cars that can't be test-driven?

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What do you do about cars that can't be test-driven?

Old 02-10-2019, 10:14 PM
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Default What do you do about cars that can't be test-driven?

I've been running into a lot of people selling cars that for one reason or another can't be test-driven even if it runs - often no tags, not registered. Do you ever buy a car under those circumstances - just make your best judgement from what you can tell with it sitting there?
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:45 PM
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2 examples

x 1 --- car is advertised for sale
I find out FIRST thing if it's drivable. Unless it's a very special rare example, I then treat it as an incomplete, non-running "roller" … and I value it accordingly. I tell seller same before I ever plan a visit.

x 2 --- car is Not advertised and I'm on a cold-call hunt.
I expect to find cars which don't run, typically neglected but owner is emotionally attached. I tiptoe with respect..
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:46 AM
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x 3 --- Car is a loser and can't run; owner is making excuses for why you can't take it for a drive. In that case, YOU run....
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:31 AM
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I would buy one if the price was right and I planned on ripping it apart and redoing the car.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:31 AM
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Default Drive it Anyway

So you are saying that the car can be driven, just not legally. I would personally drive the car with the owner in passengers seat anyway. Iíve done it several times. Iím not gonna be the one to get fined for lack of registration anyway, because itís not my car. (Check your state laws though). Iíd simply be ďtest driving with the intent of legally registering the vehicle if purchasedĒ. No way Iíd buy a car that can run, without actually running it.
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:30 AM
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What if the owner will take you for a ride but won't let you drive it? What if it is stated "no test drive unless cash in hand"? What does that even mean? I PAY for the car and then drive it? I just show the money then I drive it? It's a deal breaker for me.
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:45 AM
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If the seller has a running car that he is selling as a non-running parts car, fine. Price it accordingly, and buy it as such. If you can't reach a price you both agree on, walk. There are no shortage of deals out there, most with more agreeable sellers attached.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:28 PM
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i always ask them to take me for a ride, i will sit in the passenger seat and that solves 95% of my questions/issues anyway

also consider my motorcycle. nobody test rides a motorcycle I am selling. I will let them ride on back and I will take them.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:33 PM
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I have bought several cars without driving them (ebay, live auction). Really depends on the car. If its a cheap flipper, I drive it and allow the buyer to drive it, if its an NCRS or low mile original, a potential buyer can drive it the same time that I first drove it - after I paid for it.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by 7T1vette View Post
x 3 --- Car is a loser and can't run; owner is making excuses for why you can't take it for a drive. In that case, YOU run....
This describes many problem child cars...same with ran when parked.
Unless you pay a non running "it may need everything" price keep walking. Tell the seller that, too youll find out real quick if it really runs if he wants to sell it.
Too many out there to take those kinds of chances.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:29 PM
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I have never purchased a vehicle (of any kind) without driving it. When I bought my 82 CE a few years ago it had no tag but I drove it anyway. If you simply cannot get a test drive you probably should factor into the price the possibility there could be some issues.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:56 PM
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I sold many drag boats, custom, race and show motorcycles.
Nobody test drove or even asked to.
I did not test drive my 73 but rode with the owner as he drove.
Ive driven many cars in my life and really want to feel the ride, listen to the drive train, and get a feeling of the car without worrying about driving in an unfamiliar area or traffic.
I do request that a car Iím going to look at be cold to start and not be warmed up and ready to go when I arrive.
I want it to get a cold start, go through the warm up cycle so I can crawl under and over the car to listen without hot exhaust pipes and hot engine parts in my face.
I check everything during the warm up such as lights, signals, heater/ac/defrost, radio, windows, locks, doors, check for leaks and look for any signs of body work and bubba repairs.
I usually have a good idea if I want the car or not before we go for a test drive.
Letting the owner drive gives me an idea about how the car has been driven under his ownership.

Last edited by OldCarBum; 02-11-2019 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:30 PM
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Owner of my Corvette didn't want to give much of a test drive because he didn't have insurance on it. I showed up with insurance already on it (I had pretty much decided I was going home with it anyhow). Put that argument to rest in a hurry. Ended up costing me nothing, I didn't have it covered long enough to hit a day on my policy before parking it in my garage.

He still wanted to drive it around, so fine, not a big deal to me. If a car can move and the owner won't let it, I generally just walk away from the sale. At best case, they are difficult to work with and probably not worth my time, at worst they are hiding issues. If a car is not running, I treat it as parts value. May be worth a lot more, then again there are a lot of ways to disable a car that would make it seem like a simple fix, but can be done to hide much more terminal issues. Not to mention, if it really is just a $100 fix to add thousands of dollars to the cars value, the owner would logically do it.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:22 PM
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Every situation is different. Five decade old car, stored in the garage. Of course your not going to run it down the street. Ninety percent of what your buying can be checked by an outside survey. If within your price range a decision can be made based on what your looking to spend. Engine / transmission problems can be corrected fairly reasonable. Its the accident damage, rust, missing parts, and title that are most important. The last four Corvettes I purchased didn't require test drives. I have a trailer and lift to check them out before lighting an old stored creature to life. One must remember the supply of your particular desire may not be available on every street coroner. In the past they were simply used cars. If restored , updated , and newer with many to choose from the situation differs. Respect is a key issue. To the seller it may be considered family for the past decades. The " I have cash " routine that worked years back may not be a factor. Agreed payment is considered a known factor not a discount.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 7T1vette View Post
x 3 --- Car is a loser and can't run; owner is making excuses for why you can't take it for a drive. In that case, YOU run....

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Old 02-11-2019, 10:11 PM
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I bought the 75 I have now without a test drive. It had no insurance or plates on it and I don't blame the owner for not letting it off of his property. The first time I drove it was on my way home after paying for it and transferring the title and registration. I am currently selling a car that is on insurance winter lay up. There is no way you are going to take my car on the road when it is not insured. You can start it after I put the battery back in. You can look all you want, run through the gears, move it around in my 150 foot drive. If you leave my property it becomes a stolen vehicle. When full insurance is in effect this Spring if you come across as a trustworthy person I will let you drive with me in the car. If you do something stupid I will not sell the vehicle to you. If you have never driven a 4 speed you can drive the car after you buy it.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:18 PM
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Even if the car is in "storage" status with your insurance company, a simple phone call to your agent can make it active for a short period for test drives so that you can sell it. Everything short of the car actually not able to be driven is just an excuse.
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