ABOUT RECEIPTS (from Chapter 4: The Test Drive)

    Don't be shy about asking for them. If someone claims they have kept all their receipts and informs you that a new clutch was installed last month, don't believe them until you verify the receipt yourself. People will lie about work done to their car! They have a good motive. They're trying to sell you a car.

    Plenty of times I have called on a receipt that sellers have claimed possession of and they were unable to produce it. Somehow the one from last month's clutch job mysteriously disappeared! When this happens, their claim of repair loses validity. These people are playing with you. People who save all their receipts don't lose the big ones from last month.

    When you do look at a receipt, make sure it belongs to the car that the owner claims. Check the date, year, make, and model, and somewhere on there will be the license plate number. Also, the mileage of the car at the time of repair should be logged in there as well. All this information should coincide with what the seller is saying about his car.

    Pay particular attention to the mileage. This is where you can catch evidence of odometer tampering. Is the amount currently on the car more than what was logged on the receipt in the past? Keep in mind that many vehicle odometers won't go over 100,000 miles, which means they will turn over and start again. So if the owner claims that the 58,000 miles currently on the odometer is the actual mileage and you notice 95,000 miles on a three-year-old receipt, you know the odometer has either been tampered with or the car has 158,000 miles on it. Watch out for this.