The prepurchase inspection is a thorough assessment of the used vehicle. In this assessment, a certified inspector reveals any hidden problems that might not be obvious to the normal driver. Prepurchase inspection costs range from $100 to $200 and can get higher depending on the details you're looking for.
While you can get a vehicle for a decent deal when purchasing it privately, the process involves some risk of purchasing a vheicle with mechanical problems. In addition, although the test drive can help you identify some obvious problems, it's not as thorough in detecting some hidden issues that might cost you thousands of dollars down the road.
One of the best ways to prevent buying a vehicle with major problems is to have a professional mechanic perform a pre-purchase inspection. This way, the professional mechanic can help you detect any hidden problem that might not be obvious to the normal driver.
While prepurchase inspection is a great approach to make sure that you're buying the best vehicle without any issues, it involves some costs. Depending on your budget, you may or may not be able to afford a prepurchase inspection. However, as a rule of thumb, automotive experts recommend that if you're planning to buy a relatively expensive vehicle to invest, then a pre-purchase inspection is worth it.
This article provides you with all easy know about pre purchase inspection. In addition, it highlights what's involved in this inspection and when you're recommended to have it done for your future used vehicle.
What is the prepurchase inspection report?
Before we dive into the details about what is involved under the prepurchase inspection, we must clarify the definition of this inspection.
Prepurchase inspection means a detailed evaluation of a certain vehicle before purchase. This evaluation covers investigating and inspecting the different cosmetic, safety, and chemical condition of this vehicle. Any mechanic cannot do the prepurchase inspection, and it should be done by certain certified mechanics who are very familiar with the vehicles.
The primary goal of this prepurchase inspection is to reveal any hidden problem in the vehicle that might not be obvious to the normal driver. For example, a professional technician or certified professional can tell you whether the vehicle has a major issue in the transmission or the engine. They can also detect minor problems related to small issues that might give you a headache down the road.
Should I get a used car inspected before buying it?
Pre purchase inspection is not a free service, and it's not very cheap. You are requesting a mechanic with a certain mechanical skill set to help you identify hidden problems in your vehicle. Therefore, this mechanic will have a certain pay rate that you will need to take care of.
In general, automotive experts recommend that you perform a prepurchase inspection in any future purchase for the vehicle without warranties. Also, you recommended implementing this inspection if you're planning to buy a vehicle from another state or city where you're not familiar with the people and don't have enough trust with the seller.
Imagine if you bought a vehicle that doesn't have a warranty; it's not surprising to find some major mechanical problems related to one of the biggest components that might cost you thousands of dollars immediately after you signed the dotted line in the bill of sale.
The nice thing about prepurchase inspection services is that you don't have to have the mechanic travel to a different city. In other words, if you're planning to buy a car online and you can't be present in the other state or city, you can virtually or by phone hire a professional mechanic to perform the prepurchase inspection on behalf of you.
It's never a good idea to hire a professional recommended by the dealership or the person selling you the car. Thus, be wise about who you're sending and ensure that they don't have any relationship with the seller to give you honest feedback about the vehicle. Usually, larger companies that provide prepurchase inspection service should be a great way to start.
How to find a prepurchase inspection service?
With the advanced technologies nowadays and the huge transition towards online car selling, plenty of national organizations provide pre-production inspections nationwide. The nice thing about these organizations is that they are mobile, which means that they can arrive at your location wherever you live and provide you with the service. All it takes you is to perform a quick Google search for “prepurchase inspection.” You should find plenty of results around your area with tons of contact information to reach out to.
Aside from the national specialized model prepurchase inspection organizations, you can also hire a mechanic from a dealership or a certain independent repair shop. Just make sure that the mechanic knows the vehicle type and has previous experience about what type of problems to expect from this vehicle. As we indicated before, you don't want to get your papers inspection done by a person or an agency suggested by the seller because they might be working together.
What's involved in the pre purchase inspection?
It's really hard to tell what exactly is involved in the pre purchase inspection because it differs depending on the price. For example, suppose you decided to go with only a basic prepurchase inspection. In that case, all that you get is a visual inspection and some hydraulic lifting to check for any leaks or breakage in the liquid lines.
On the other hand, if you decided to go with a more advanced and expensive prepurchase inspection, they can go to the level of inspecting every single component and performing a test drive. For example, some more detailed prepurchase inspections involved testing the vehicle's computer and looking in detail about any warning lights to determine internal problems.
How much does it cost to get a prepurchase inspection?
If you decided to go with a pre purchase inspection, the first thing you need to know is that it's your responsibility to pay for any costs. Thus, do not expect the seller to take care of these costs.
When it comes to prepurchase inspection costs, it's generally somewhere between $100 and $200. However, if you're planning to go with a more advanced and thorough inspection, costs can be much higher but not more than a couple of hundreds of dollars.
What type of problems can a pre purchase inspection detect?
Pre purchase inspections are very effective in addicting some of the major problems that a normal driver can not defect. Some of these common problems include:
- Frame issues
The vehicle's frame is the first thing you want to inspect and confirm that it doesn't have any problem buying a used car. A damaged frame indicates that the car was involved in a major accident, and the accident might have affected several internal components. Unless the frame was properly, the sword could not hide major frame damages.
- Issues with old repairs
The professional mechanic certified to perform a pre purchase inspection can easily detect any repairs that were not done properly. For example, he can see if there are any issues related to a small key bodywork. He can also detect any modifications that happened or any component that was not installed properly.
- Fire or flood damages
Many car buyers fell for scams when they bought a damaged vehicle in a flood or a fight. Legally the vehicle should be marked or have a certain red flag indicating that it was involved in a flood or fire instance.
Flood and fire are among the worst conditions a vehicle could be put in because it impacts the outer part of your vehicle and many internal components.
Thus, when hiring a professional to perform a pre purchase inspection, he can help you identify such vehicles and prevent buying these vehicles.
- Other problems
Obviously, the previous inspection also can determine some of the very common problems like fluid leaks, problematic accessories, rusted frames, and other minor issues. While you can detect these issues when you test drive the vehicle, you might miss many of them if you have the right skill sets, and you will end up suffering immediately after purchasing the car.
Automotive experts indicated that it's also important to inspect some of the minor components you expect to use frequently. For example, it's important to review the status of the air conditioning or the radio. While these components might not be super expensive, they can give you a real headache after purchasing the vehicle if they're not working properly.
What's the difference between mobile and garage prepurchase inspection?
Two different instructions might serve you depending on your goals and your specific situation. Moreover, both methods have their own pros and cons. Let's take a closer look below at some of the main differences:
- Mobile prepurchase inspection
If you decided to go with a mobile prepurchase inspection, the inspector or the certified mechanic will arrive at the seller's house or location and inspect the vehicle. The nice thing about this approach is that it's very convenient and can be done very fast where the inspector can print out the pre inspection reports right on the spot.
However, one of the biggest drawbacks of mobile prepurchase inspections is that you might not find the top skilled mechanic who knows the brand in detail, which means you need to investigate and research and understand the inspector's skill sets.
- Garage prepurchase inspection
As the name suggests, you will have to take the vehicle to a certain location to get inspected regarding garage or inspections done by mechanics. The best thing about the garage purchase inspection is that you can select a certain mechanic from the same automaker dealership, which means that they know the vehicle very well. Therefore, they can determine any measure and common problems that might face this vehicle.
The one drawback about the prepurchase garage inspection is that you will have to find a certified location and you will have to take the vehicle to that location. Thus, this might be challenging for many car sellers, especially if you decided not to purchase the vehicle.
Prepurchase inspection is a very important practice if you plan to buy any used car without a warranty or a car from a different state or city. However, keep in mind that this inspection is not free, and it will cost you somewhere between $100 and $200 depending on the complexity of the inspection.
In general, the prepurchase inspection can't either involve a visual inspection by checking for any major leaks or broken fluid lines. However, it can also involve a thorough, detailed assessment of the vehicle while performing the test drives and reviewing the internal computer warnings.
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