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Like a box of chocolates

June 10, 2015
By Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Buying a used (and therefore not guaranteed) car, boat, airplane, motorcycle or even lawnmower, often leaves us with a nervous disposition. We hope it is in good shape, like the seller said it was, and will perform our bidding with little or no additional expense. But inside, we know better. It's sort of like Forrest Gump's momma said. ".Like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

Of course, there are ways to reduce your level of risk. It's called doing your "due diligence." That means checking and double-checking everything you can think of that might go wrong with the deal. Be a pessimist. Expect the worst. If you simply stand there and admire the shiny paint job until the salesman convinces you to sign on the dotted line, you will make his day, and you will probably regret it later. Of course they're going to keep talking and telling you how great the thing is, how great the price is, and how smart you are for appreciating how great the deal is. That's their job. Your job is to see through the flak and weigh the prospect of possible repair expenses added to the asking price.

On anything that can seriously dent your bank account, like a house or a yacht, or seriously dent your head, like a car or motorcycle, you should always have it inspected by an impartial inspector. Always. It almost always saves the buyer money. The inspection fee is usually far less than the repair expenses that are discovered. Those expenses can be used to negotiate a lower price, which is how the buyer saves money. It also saves headaches and worries about what the future might bring. We will know what flavor is next out of the box of chocolates. Peace of mind is worth money too.

--Larry DeHays is the author of the book "The Car Care World", a compilation of his most popular columns. It is available now through Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, or at the DeHays Automotive office, 17617 Broadway Ave., Fort Myers Beach. He has been an ASE Certified Technician for 37 years and an arbitrator for the Florida Lemon Law for 16 years. For more information go to or



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