Mechanic in Tyler warns of car owners selling damaged used vehicles to unsuspecting buyers

Updated: May. 7, 2019 at 1:48 PM CDT
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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A mechanic and managing partner of a automotive shop in Tyler said he’s seen a rise in the number of people bringing in damaged used vehicles purchased from sellers in “good” condition.

Gary Stewart of Donnybrook Automotive said the most recent case he’s seen was a young woman who bought a used car from Arlington from a seller who told her the car was in “good shape."

“She was told the car had been wrecked, but it had been rebuilt and repaired, it was in good shape and everything was fine,” Stewart explained. “So she went ahead and purchased the car assuming it was taken to a reputable body shop and had been repaired correctly and professionally. We found out that was not the case.”

Stewart popped the hood of the car and explained the difference between professional repairs and what he saw on the vehicle the young woman bought; part of the bumper was bent in, contacting the antifreeze reservoir, part of the frame surrounding the headlight had been collapsed and spot welded, and part of the frame was caved in, among other defects.

“She paid $9,500. She thought it was a real good deal, they told her they were looking out for her best interest and they really wanted to help her," Stewart said. “And this was the car that she got.”

Stewart said what makes the fix so dangerous is the fact that vehicles are built in specific ways to withstand impacts. Once they’ve been damaged and not repaired correctly, the ability to withstand an impact has been removed.

“If she were ever in an impact in this area again, the safety factor is completely gone,” said Stewart.

If you’re in the market for a used car, Stewart said one of the best things you can do is find a reputable mechanic and have them inspect the vehicle bumper to bumper.

“The dealerships sometimes purchase these cars at the auction, and these things are covered up and they don’t even know it,” Stewart warned. “Taking it to have it checked does not mean you don’t trust the person you’re buying it from. That’s just letting them know that you want to find something if there may be something wrong you need to know about that maybe they don’t even know."

Stewart said the problems have gotten worse in recent years, and has included vehicles with previous flood and other weather-related damage from major weather events like Hurricane Harvey.

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