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Old 10-28-2019, 03:41 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 13
How to get an out-of-state bus inspection

I'm sure everyone who is considering buying a used bus halfway across the country doesn't jump on a plane every time they see an interesting ad. It seems I've heard of services that do inspections of auction merchandise on behalf of interested out-of-state buyers. Is that common knowledge, and I'm the only one who doesn't know how everybody is doing that?

All advice greatly appreciated--thanks!
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Old 10-28-2019, 12:58 PM   #2
Bus Geek
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 6,395
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
There are companies out there that will go out and inspect a vehicle for you for a fee.

I have contacted a couple and found that the inspections don't really do us much good.

They will tell you about body damage, interior condition, broken glass, tire tread depth, fluid levels etc.

They tell you little to nothing about the running condition.

I have purchased three buses. I got to inspect one of them before the sale. I wound up with three nice buses.

With the auctions you are talking a bit of a gamble. School districts are generally much more forthcoming and honest about condition that your local used car dealer. Sometimes service records are available.

When I bought my Bluebird it had been in route service until just recently when it suffered some body damage. I talked to the bus barn at the district and was told that it was a great bus but was just a couple of years from being "aged out" so they didn't want to spend the $ on the body work.

I felt pretty good about the condition so I bid on it and won. I showed up to pick it up without ever having seen it. When we set out for home I didn't know if the bus would take me 300 feet or 300 miles.

As it worked out, the bus is in great condition. Drives like a dream and make a great moving truck

If you shop dealers or Craigslist for a bus you will most likely be able to test drive it and take it to a mechanic for inspection. This has value. You will likely pay 2-4 times as much than you would at auction.

Remember, that guy on Craigslist offering you an $8000 bus probably bought it a few weeks ago, at auction, for a fraction of what they are selling it for.
PNW_Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2019, 02:37 PM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Cazenovia, NY
Posts: 151
Year: 1985
Coachwork: Leyland
Chassis: Leyland
Engine: Cummins
Rated Cap: 17500, probably kg
I used lemon squad for my bus. They take tons of photos (See School Bus Conversion Resources - Crisfole's Album: Double Deck Inspection Photos) and they use a pretty detailed checklist. It cost me about $600.

Considering that I was purchasing the bus for $25k, and considering that it caught well over $700 of repairs I felt it was more than worth my money.

The one I bought measured every tire's tread, included body damage and rust assessment, interior condition assessment, and ran the bus for a test drive.

There are less expensive inspections out there. You can also call bus garages, local mechanics, etc...the whole process requires tons of creativity. In my case because it was such a unique buy (and because we are doing this _instead_ of purchasing a way more expensive RV) it was worth it. YMMV...

Mileage jokes on this forum still get me every time....
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Old 10-28-2019, 03:53 PM   #4
Bus Geek
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 9,364
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
That's why I like buying from school systems on GoveDeals. The school is not out to recoup every dime they can by shading the sales. They are very upfront about the and therefore I have not have an issue buying sight unseen. Picking one up Fri and driving it 2600 miles on the word of the maintenance manager that I will have no issues. I bought another one in OKC, that turned out to be junk. The fleet manager immediately refunded every penny I paid for it. I seldom believe much of anything a car salesman says, I usually know more about the vehicle than they do.
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buying service, inspecting service, out of state buying

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