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mechanic's inspection and compression checks...was lopin' cgt

re: compression test:

Phil Payne said:  "I won't buy a car without doing one.  End of story."

Jeffrey Goggin replied: 
"Hmmm ... I've never done one *before* buying the car.  I guess it has to do
with the price ... in my case, the cars I buy are cheap enough that I have
to snap them up before someone else comes along!  Based on my friend's
experience with pre-purchase inspections by mechanics -- most of which
failed to turn up what I consider to be rather obvious problems -- I'm not
sure it's money well spent unless you don't do any of the work on your cars
yourself and/or have no mechanical aptitude.  YMMV, of course..."

To which I add:
Before making any offer on a car, I go with the mechanic's inspection, if
possible.  Another option is to take it to a local garage/mechanic to at
least get it up on a lift.  Even without much experience with cars, it's easy
to look for damage, leaking fluids, cracked bushings, etc. when a car is on a
lift, and very difficult when you're lying on your back in the dirt with a
flashlight.  Certainly worth the $35 or so they might charge you.  And yes,
even a simple garage should be able to handle a compression check; I've got a
guage I've used with private sales without any problems as well.

Even with sending the car in for a mechanic's inspection, I ask to look as
well, and participate in the inspection, with suggestions on things to check
out.  I'd recommend this for any car, even one that is relatively new.  Don't
be swayed by how nice the interior looks; the mechanical condition is often
unrelated...And, anything you find can help you negotiate on the price.
Chris Miller, Windham NH, c1j1miller@aol.com