What is a pre-purchase car inspection?
For most people, purchasing a vehicle is not easy financially. The money spent is a major part of their savings because vehicles are expensive. Not everyone has the capacity to buy a vehicle and realize it’s not right for them, and run to the store to buy another. So it’s always wise to inspect the car carefully before you buy and make sure that it’s the best value for your money.
There is a multitude of factors to consider before buying a car. And unfortunately, the price tag is not the only thing you must consider. Buying new cars from a car company is relatively easier than buying a used car. Because for new cars, you can consider reviews and advice of a technician and the reputation of the company before buying. But for used cars, well, you have to turn the inside out and consider every fault and repair before deciding to buy.
But how can a buyer select cars if they know nothing about them? Most consumers know how to drive a car and can select a car color or model based on their preferences. Most of us are not car experts, so the smartest choice is to hire a car specialist to inspect the car for us. Yes, that would cost you. But considering the potential cost of repairs from buying a faulty, a certified automotive technician is a good investment.
Inspecting a car thoroughly before a purchase has many benefits. If the inspection proves the car is not worth the stated price, then you can easily back off from the purchase, or you can use the report to negotiate for a lower price. Most sellers will agree to a pre-purchase car inspection, but if they hesitate the, beware that something could be wrong.
It’s always better to hire a technician who is ASE-certified and someone who you already have a good relationship with. Having the car inspected by a professional will help you know the good and the bad of the car in depth and makes you more familiar with its functioning. An automotive expert would verify the functioning of the equipment and options in the car, would check the tire wear and potential repairs, and can reveal hidden problems on the body, frame, or engine. It also builds confidence in the value of the vehicle.
The Pre-purchase car inspection
A pre-purchase car inspection would typically cost between $100 -$200. Most repair garages or professional inspectors will give you a written description of the number of points covered with a detailed description of how it is done.
Pre-purchase car inspections take time. The process lasts for 45-90 minutes or more. Pre-purchase car inspections can also be done in a garage. This is better than mobile inspectors, as garages have lifts to check the underside of the car for fluid leaks.
The inspection includes a test drive. The test drive should ideally have a route that has hills, bumps, and potholes so the car can be tested for engine performance and suspension issues. It also includes monitor checks for the sensitivity of dashboard warning lights and sensors. Further, there are system checks with the battery, charging, exhaust, lights, ignition, HVAC, radiator, and cooling.
Mechanical checks include steering linkage, hoses and belts, suspension components, and check for fluid leaks. Tires, brake systems, glass, and windshield wipers are also checked.
When choosing an inspector, make sure they are a third party. Dealers may have a bias in hiding flaws. So choose a technician who is independent. Focus on inspectors who make pre-purchase car inspections for a living. Make sure the vehicle is inspected thoroughly. Don’t go for shortcuts.
Finally, have the inspection report documented. Get a high-quality report from a high-quality inspector and not just a checklist with a few marks. Transparency is important in all industries.
There are many online car-selling sites. But these have many potential problems. If the car you wish to buy is somewhere far from you, you can have an inspection arranged, and the report sent to you. Of course, do not appoint an inspector recommended by the seller. There are many inspection services, like Alliance Inspection Management and Automobile Inspections, that specialize in long-distance inspections.
However, these reports do not guarantee a 100% flawless inspection. But a trained eye can catch a lot more than a typical car buyer. Try to find an inspecting agency that offers a warranty for their inspection.
Although you have to spend more money for a pre-purchase car inspection, a professional inspection has many benefits, like exposing hidden flaws or giving you more confidence in your purchase. A few hours and a few hundred dollars are better insurance against potential vehicle repairs that can cost you thousands! So make sure you always inspect your car by a professional before buying.
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