Buying a used Corvette can be a complicated venture, as there are many criteria to be met, and the price can be prohibitive. After seeing the price of some of the models in good working order, the temptation to purchase a non-running Corvette or one that obviously needs extensive work can be high. But, cars with these problems may not save you any money if you fix them up yourself. After the price of the parts and other expenses are added up, it would likely to have been cheaper to buy the car that was in good condition in the first place.
The decision to buy a good used Corvette means that a potential purchase should be checked for serious flaws, such as rust. Rust affects the underside of many used corvettes, and is only visible by going under the car for a look. If there is nothing to hide, a prospective seller should not mind a peek at the chassis, which is most prone to rust. While under the car, visually inspect the cross members and the vulnerable area in front of the rear wheels. The underside of the front radiator support should also be checked for rust. If the support is rusted, it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, but the replacement cost should be factored into the cost of the car.
When the rust inspection is over, there are still more areas that will need to be looked at. One way to see if the car has ever sustained major damage is to look at the A-Arm shims. Look for many shims on one side and fewer on the other. This indicates that there is still something wrong with the car that has not been fixed. No shims on one side and many on the other indicates some major issues, such as a bent cross member. There may also be suspension damage to the car left over from the damaging incident in the past.
If the car has passed the visual inspections, its time for a test drive. During the drive, the inside accessories and features should be checked and found to be in working order. Test the windows, heat and air, the radio, the seat adjustments, and any other features inside. Pay attention to how the car handles and any noises it makes. Some Corvettes make a popping or whining sound from the rear end due to worn positraction units. If the sound is not too bad, it may not be a problem that warrants expensive repairs beyond the addition of some positraction additive to the gear oil . If the noises are severe, it may warrant a change in the price to compensate for repairs that may be necessary.
More indications of a used Corvettes hidden problems can be found with an inspection of the body of the car. Most of the time when a fiberglass panel has been damaged, it is replaced, leaving little evidence of the damage. But by inspecting the front bumper, you may be able to tell if the car suffered a collision in the past. Look at the area of the bumper that attaches to the fiberglass. If that area has ripples in the paint, it was likely repaired from a head-on collision or other major trauma. Collisions of this kind can cause unseen damage to the cars suspension, which can be costly to repair.