Jesse’s Story of the Day

Jesse explains what you need to check in a pre-purchase inspection


A Ferndale woman purchased a used car and it broke down the same day.

How do you avoid this from happening to you?

Kerri Hendrickson, from Frendale bought, a used 2008 Subaru Legacy from AWD Auto Sales in Monroe. The same day she drove the car home, she heard a knock in the engine.

“I drove it about two hours to get home and it did start sounding a little bit louder,” Hendrickson said.

The knocking continued, so her son called the dealer.

“He called the dealer and said, Hey there’s something wrong with the engine, could you please give either me or my mom a call,” Hendrickson said.

An inspection shows the car needs a new turbo engine. The owner at AWD Auto Sales told the family he wasn’t going to refund Hendrickson the $12,000 she spent on the car.

“Oh, it was fine when you bought it. You drove it off of the lot, I have all the paperwork, so it’s basically your problem now,” Hendrickson said, explaining what the dealer told her.

The only paperwork she received from the AWD Auto Sales was a vehicle history report and a receipt of some work that had been done on the vehicle.

She says the report the dealer gave to her shows it had not been in an accident, there is no title problem and the odometer was checked. The paperwork looked like a Carfax report.

In the state of Washington there is no lemon law for used cars. There is only an implied warranty of merchantability.

This means the vehicle must be good to drive, free of major defects, reasonably safe, and the average quality of similar vehicles should be available for sale in the same price range, Attorney General Bob Ferguson said.

However, Hendrickson waived that right and purchased the car as is from AWD Auto Sales.

The dealership response to Hendrickson’s Better Business Bureau complaint – there was never any promises made on whether the car would last two seconds, two hours or 12 years. According to the law, he owes her nothing.

“Any place that has integrity would try and help you out with the problem,” Hendrickson said.

It’s important to get a pre-purchased inspection. Scott Welsh, from Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma, says the $100 spent on the inspection can save a person thousands.

“We’ve seen things such as exhaust systems that were duct-taped together and hanging by wire. They sounded fine until you get them in the air then you got a serious problem that needs to be addressed,” Welsh said.

What to check for in a pre-purchased inspection:

  1. Check modules, computers and Dash light for functionality.

Quick code scan ($49.00 AutoZone Tool) will not detect issues – must use a professional diagnostic scanner for determining if there are critical issues present, historical or pending

  1. Complete Brake system, Wheel Bearings
  2. Steering and Suspension / Rust (huge issue)
  3. Tires (age and conditions)
  4. Body  Line Up – previous body repairs and for potential hidden crash damage



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