We received a highly modified Honda Civic on the hook the other day for a no start condition. This car was so radical the towing company had to remove the front bumper assembly in order to get it on the truck. I t had been lowered to the extreme and the body had been modified with an aftermarket kit. Body mods included the removal of the outside door handles. The doors were now operated by remote control. Interior work included modifications to the seats and interior consul. Even the gauges were refaced in white. Someone had spent a lot of time and money. It seems that this particular hot rod had been sitting for a long time.. a very long time.
The current owner had inherited this gem in a finance deal that went sideways. To make maters worst while sitting the car have been vandalized. The dash had been ripped open, the stereo stolen and the wiring completely destroyed. Unfortunately, very little of the original wiring harness was left unmolested. What a nightmare! Most of the wiring had been destroyed, however a study of the remains revelled that the previous owner had designed his own electrics. Let's just say it was less than perfect. The new owner now faced the task of funding the rebuild of this project. A task that will cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
Now for the bad news. After all the money has been spent, the new owner will not be able to drive this car. Why? We couldnt certify it for road use. Oversize wheels hitting the body, no outside door handles, Lowered and not enough road clearance. In quest of their dream the previous owner has rendered this car unsafe. I doubt you could get far before the local constabulary was negotiating with you about towing it to your house or their storage yard.
The moral of the story? Well obviously don't lend money to deadbeats. No actually the real lesson here is if you are out there buying a used car take along someone who knows cars and the law. Make sure the car you are purchasing will pass not only the safety standards that are currently in effect, but also the emissions standards. Ask to see some records. Is the guy selling you the car the owner? Could be a curbsider. Private purchases are risky at best. Dont know anyone with automotive experience? Hire your local mechanic for a couple of hours. We offer to check our customers purchases free of charge (at our shop). We feel its better to check it before were stuck with keeping the thing on the road. Remember, if the vehicle can't be licensed then it's really just a box of parts that looks like a Chevy Biscayne not a real car. To be safe purchase your next used car from a registered used car dealer.