top of page

Used Car Pre-Purchase Inspection

Pros That Care

Where Should I Take A Used Car for Inspection?

Before you buy a used car, you have to make sure it is safe to drive and does not require expensive repairs. You want to check for signs of a serious accident, water and fire damage, and poor maintenance. If you are going to be sure you are buying a reliable car, a professional mechanic needs to check for details you might miss. A professional used car pre-purchase inspection verifies all components of the car are working, reveals obscure defects and establishes its general condition. More than that, it increases your familiarity with the car and helps to build confidence in your purchase.

If you are buying a car from dealership you can call us and will accompany you to the dealership and inspect the car on the lot. Most reputable auto dealerships allow prospective buyers to take cars off the lot for inspection. If a seller is reluctant to let you have the car independently inspected (a sales manager may cite insurance restrictions, for example), it is a sign he is hiding something. Walk away.

How to set up a Used Car Pre-Purchase Inspection?

Before you schedule an inspection, check that the car is in the actual condition the seller claims. Look for dents, rust and fluid leaks and ensure that everything inside and outside the vehicle is in good working order. A used car pre-purchase inspection can take about one hour, and costs start at $99, so a vehicle in obvious disrepair is not worth calling mobile mechanic. Once you’ve figured out that the car you are interested in is in good shape, ask the seller if you can have it inspected by a third party.

Next, give us a call. A to Express Mobile Mechanics are certified mobile repair shop that can do a comprehensive examination.

Dealer Inspection Reports

Many dealers inspect their cars and provide prospective buyers with inspection reports. An independent inspection can be a good idea even if the dealership has examined the car and is selling it with a warranty or service contract. In most cases, dealership evaluations—as with mandatory state inspections—usually focus on substantial conditions that could make driving a car unsafe. If the dealer has given a car a clean bill of health, it could merely mean that it is safe to drive off the lot.

Some used cars on a dealership lot may be marked “certified.” Usually, this means the cars have gone through a more thorough inspection and come with a limited warranty. If the car you are interested in is “certified,” ask for a report of what was inspected and what the warranty covers. The report should supplement rather than substitute an independent inspection.

Mobile Car Inspection

The mechanic will check, among other items, the engine, transmission, suspension, wheels, and electrical systems, state of maintenance. You can go with the mobile mechanic on a test drive and ask about any issues that come up. Even without your asking, the mechanic will inspect the car against a checklist and give you a comprehensive report when he is done.

A mobile inspector could also be your only option if you are buying from a distance or cannot make it to the inspection. We can take close-up photographs of any damage the car has, advise you on its condition and reliability, and tell you right away if it is a good buy.

Mobile car inspections are fast and convenient, they are as comprehensive as auto diagnostic clinics. A mechanic will carry a jack, code reader, and other necessary equipment to the dealership lot to perform a used car pre-inspection.

Using the Inspection Report

The evaluator will give you written description of what he covered in the investigation, the issues the car has and their severity, the repairs you will need to make after purchase, and the estimated cost of these repairs. The evaluator may include a purchase recommendation if the vehicle is in excellent condition.

If there are only a few cosmetic issues that blemish an otherwise spotless used car pre-purchase inspection report, you can proceed with the purchase in confidence. Relatively easy-to-fix issues are nothing to worry about because nearly all used cars have a few minor problems. Rather than getting hung up on these issues, use them to challenge the asking price. A detailed inspection report, especially one with estimates of repair costs, is a great bargaining tool.

If the inspection report has a few red flags, you can either make a lowball offer or look for another car. A dealer may offer to do the repairs and sell you the car at the original asking price. You can accept the offer and ask for evidence that the issues have been fixed. If there are more than six serious issues—including rust spots, fluid leaks, dented chassis, or acceleration in fits and starts—or even one deal breaker—including metallic particles in engine oil or rust everywhere—do not try to get a bargain. Look for another car.

Pre-Purchase Inspection: About
bottom of page