Inspection Essentials for Buying a Used Car

Nov 8, 2017 10:00:00 AM


Buying a used car shouldn’t be a guessing game. From used car lots to private sellers, who do you trust when your time, money and safety are on the line? When you find the right car at the right price, investing in a pre-purchase inspection removes the guesswork and gives you the peace of mind you need to make a solid investment decision.

The Basics
A pre-purchase inspection is a detailed assessment performed by a qualified mechanic or repair facility. These inspections cover cosmetic, mechanical, electronic and safety components on a vehicle. In addition to identifying pre-existing conditions, vehicle inspections can also help determine what components of the car could be at risk in the future.

The Right Time to Inspect
Always perform an inspection when buying from a private seller or purchasing any dealership vehicle that is labeled “as-is” without a limited or extended warranty. If the vehicle is in another state, complete the vehicle inspected before you travel to pick up the vehicle.

Some dealerships offer in-house inspections with satisfaction guarantees on the vehicles they sell. If so, ask to see the inspection and verify that it was inspected recently. Used and certified pre-owned vehicles are inspected upon intake and can sit on the lot for months. If the dealer inspection is out-of-date, ask them to perform another or seek a third-party inspection to validate.

Finding the Right Inspector
Arranging a certified mechanic to inspect the vehicle is always preferable. These technicians have a series of inspection points and are experienced in the process. Many auto dealerships will have this onsite and can provide the service for free. If the inspection is performed on behalf of the selling party, simply ask for a detailed overview of the inspection.

Finding a mechanic that can inspect a private seller’s vehicle can be a bit trickier. From aligning with the seller’s availability to sourcing a house call, the process may require some work on your part. Resources like Repair Pal and YourMechanic are a great place to start when looking for a pre-purchase inspection. You can even locate a mechanic that will travel to the seller’s location to inspect the car. 

What To Inspect
Simply put, everything. Most inspections are based on a point value that examines certain components of the car. Mechanics will typically provide an exhaustive report on your vehicle after the inspection but walking through the results and discussing any concerns is always recommended. Ask the mechanic to take a drive in the vehicle to understand how the car drives and to feel out any issues with the steering and transmission components.

The Cost
With most pre-purchase inspections ranging from $100 to $200 dollars, investing in an inspection should be a no-brainer. In some cases, the seller may agree to cover the cost of the inspection if the sale goes through. Make sure this is agreed upon prior to the inspection takes place and well before you sign on the dotted line.

Performing a pre-purchase inspection could be the difference between loving or hating your car for years to come. Nobody wants a lemon. The best way to prevent this is to be informed before you buy. Once your car is inspected and the keys are in your hand, further your investment protection with a ForeverCar Vehicle Service Plan.

ForeverCar is removing the hassles and costs of car repair one satisfied driver at a time.  If you have a breakdown, ForeverCar’s Protectionators take the wheel. We help arrange a tow, line up a rental car, and process your payment to the repair facility of your choice. Stop worrying about car repairs. Leave it to the pros at ForeverCar.

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