Is that used car you’re considering lightly worn or actually worn out? When you’re making a commitment that runs into thousands of dollars and miles on the road, it hardly seems worth taking the risk – for your finances or your safety. That’s why experts agree getting a pre-purchase vehicle inspection is one of the most important steps you can take before signing on the dotted line, especially if the car has no warranty. While a vehicle history report is an invaluable resource detailing services, any accidents and repairs and title status, having a trained mechanic inspect the vehicle will give you a thorough understanding of its condition and the knowledge to make an informed decision.
Reasons to get a pre-purchase inspection
Buy a car with confidence
A pre-purchase inspection can not only tell you whether a car is mechanically sound, but also how it matches up to the condition and price advertised.
Know when to walk away
These assessments can uncover a whole host of things from major issues, such as frame damage, shoddy repair work, flood or fire damage, to faults like rust and fluid leaks. A significant problem may be your cue to search for a different car.
Negotiate a lower price
The mechanic evaluating the vehicle will likely be able to give you an idea of cost for any repairs or parts that will soon need replacing; information you can use to negotiate the price of the car.
Easy to arrange
You won’t have to look too far – repair shops, dealerships and garages all typically offer pre-purchase inspections. Another option, if buying from a private party, is a mobile inspection at the seller’s home or a convenient location. If the seller has been upfront about the car’s condition, it’s unlikely they’ll object to an inspection being carried out.
It will cost in the region of $100 to $200, which is not much compared to the average price of a used car and potential repair bills from buying a lemon. As part of the fee, you’ll usually get a list of all the points covered and may receive photos to accompany notes of any recommended repair work.
Unless you’re a professional mechanic, a pre-purchase inspection is probably going to be a lot more insightful than the perfunctory job most of us could perform. With that in mind, choose a qualified, independent specialist, and try to use a mechanic with whom you have a trusted relationship, advises Edmunds. Many pre-purchase inspections will encompass 150 or more individual points.
Combines with a test drive
The inspector will no doubt test drive the vehicle as part of their task, and you can take the opportunity to get behind the wheel for a meaningful drive, if you haven’t done so already, too.
Helps when buying out of state
If buying a car in another state “sight unseen,” the mechanic can be a reliable set of eyes and ears as they check out the vehicle and file their report. When traveling to see a car yourself, it’s still a good idea to get an inspection to ensure good decisions follow and, if you decide to buy, a smooth transaction.
Find and finance a car with RoadLoans
From the assurance that comes with getting to know the details of a car’s condition to the chance to negotiate on price if issues come to light, a pre-purchase vehicle inspection is a valuable part of the used-car buying process. It also helps to choose a trusted seller known for selling high quality vehicles. Online auto lender RoadLoans works with a network of 14,000 auto dealerships across the country able to show customers select models meeting our standards for age, mileage and financing. Learn more about buying a car with RoadLoans.