One of our customers purchased a late-model SUV for $8,000 for it in January, buying it from the previous owner.
It's in our shop now, needing about $4,000 in repairs.
The repairs wouldn't have been too hard to find. The buyers, however, didn't get the car inspected and purchased it as-is and now they're going to get a huge repair bill. The irony is that all of this could have been avoided with a vehicle inspection, for which we charge $70 to $140, depending on the complexity of the work.
If you're really serious about buying a vehicle, get it inspected. If you bring a used car to us, we won't charge you for the inspection if we recommend you not buy it. If we recommend you buy it, we will charge for the inspection. One recent customer brought us six vehicles to inspect and we only charged for the sixth one, which we found to be in good mechanical condition.
If you're really serious about selling a vehicle, get it inspected. Buyers understand any used vehicle is going to have at least a few problems and they're willing to accept that; an inspection report will give buyers confidence and sellers a better negotiating position. Also, the vehicle may have problems that you're not aware of and you can sleep easier at night knowing you disclosed everything you knew, or should have known, to the buyer. Any vehicle with an inspection report will have a definite advantage in the used car market.
Edmunds.com has a good article on vehicle inspections as well.