Next to your house, buying a luxury or exotic car can be your second biggest investment. The cost of buying this kind of car can be high, especially when you add in the luxury tax, destination charges and dealer preparation charges, plus sales tax on the retail price you pay. Also, expect to pay higher auto insurance rates, depending on where you live. That’s the bad news.

The good news is, there are some remarkably good values when you consider buying a quality, previously owned, high – end luxury or exotic car. Most people are apprehensive about buying a car a couple of years old or older, but if you do your homework, you can save thousands of dollars on the price of the car, luxury tax, sales tax and auto insurance.

Finding the right previously owned luxury or exotic car takes time and patience.

RULE #1: ALWAYS have the car checked out by a qualified mechanic who specializes in the type of car you are looking to purchase. Choose a mechanic who will look for frame damage and previous body damage, as well as perform a thorough inspection of these key areas:

Lubrication – Fuel – Air Conditioning & Heating – Front Suspension – Brakes – Final Drive – Engine Instruments – Ignition – Lights – Cooling System – Rear Suspension – Drive Line – Steering Diesel (if applicable) – Starting – Differential – Transmission – Electrical – Tires & Wheels Electrical Accessories – Visibility – Exhaust

The ideal buy is from the original owner who has all of the service records to accompany the car. If this is your preliminary observation, then you have made a great head start. At Monaco Motors, we go through all of the cars that we put up for sale. We fix whatever needs fixing, then we sell the cars.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself BEFORE bringing the car to a qualified mechanic for inspection:

Are the door seams evenly spaced? Are the hood and trunk seams even? Do any opening and closing units drag? How are the interior seams? How are the steering wheel stitches (if applicable)? Is the convertible top torn or weathered (if applicable)? Do the paint lines show over spray, indicating previous body work or repainting? Does all the paint match when you look at the car from a distance? Are the bumpers horizontal? Do they have title to the car? Ask if it is clean title, which would mean it is not a salvage title. When you test drive the car, how well does it shift, either manually or automatically? Does the car’s exhaust produce smoke? Have you looked at the car’s service book history? Have you asked for and reviewed the service invoices for work done on the car?

Now that you have done the preliminary work, it’s time to take it to a qualified mechanic who specializes in the type of car you are looking to buy, for a second opinion. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and in this case, could mean the difference in thousands of dollars of future repair bills if you buy unwisely. Let the buyer beware.

Note: Wade Lennan has over 28 years experience, servicing BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Ferrari and Rolls Royce, and is the owner of Monaco Motors in Canoga Park, California.

Is it a good Idea to Let your European car sit for an extended time?
It’s not like aging a bottle of wine. We’re talking about a fine European automobile! Perhaps the worse thing you can do for your car, or yourself, for that matter, is to let your car sit.

Let’s look at the car with its rubbers and fluids. The rubber bushings start to deteriorate without any lubrication. Water pump seals are famous for failing when the car sits unused for extended periods. Ferraris are especially susceptible to this problem.

Depending upon how much time has passed, the gas starts going bad and tarnishing the internal components of the injection system. The tires start to form to the floor and cause flat spots, rot and crack.

Let’s not forget about the little creatures that run around on the ground. They jump up into the engine compartment, make a nest and take up residence! These creatures sharpen their teeth on your expensive wiring and chew it up. So, be good to yourself. Don’t let your valuable investment deteriorate. Preserve your car and your pocketbook by driving your car.

However, if you have to store your car, take it out for a lengthy drive at least twice a month. Start up the engine weekly and let the car warm up. This enables the fluids to circulate throughout the car and help keep those pesky little creatures at bay.