The Importance of a Pre-Purchase Car Inspection

mechanic inspecting car tires

A car is one of the biggest investments of your life. Just as you would never purchase a home without having it inspected properly,  you should never purchase a used car without proper inspection. Used car inspection involves information verification through a vehicle history report and vehicle examination by an expert mechanic.

A pre-purchase inspection is the most important step in a used car buying process.

Many of you must be finding the process of selecting a used car very easy. As, all you look at in a used car is its exterior body, colour, wheels, stereo, amenities, comfort, price, and the way it drives. Although aesthetically, a car might look beautiful with fresh colour and polish it can still cost you a lot more if you don’t look for hidden problems. These unknown and hidden problems can make your purchase a disaster if neglected at the time of pre-purchase inspection. After all, what is under the hood and under the vehicle’s body are actually more important than how it looks on the outside.

Pre-purchase mechanical inspection

Whenever you decide to buy a used car, you should budget for an inspection.  Most mechanics do the inspection at their shop with a little pre-arrangement, and some even agree to come into the dealer’s store to inspect it on-site (mostly mechanics prefer their shop as they can use the lift).

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On an average, a thorough inspection by an independent professional shouldn’t cost you more than $200, and it could save you thousands.

It doesn’t matter when and from where you are purchasing a car, an independent inspection by a mechanic for your chosen car is always an important and recommended part of your purchase. But, If the seller isn’t willing to let the inspection process take place before final deal, you can assume there’s a good reason why, and that’s reason enough to walk away.

Remember, a used car should never be purchased without proper examination by a knowledgeable ASE certified automotive technician.

An ASE Certified Mechanic

Look for an  ASE certified mechanic, especially, if you’re after the best possible pre-purchase inspection you should consider it strongly. You can trust the quality check of ASE certified mechanics as they all belong to an organization which tests and verifies the knowledge and abilities of mechanics.

To qualify for ASE certification, a mechanic must have two years of on the job experience or one year of work experience. Also, graduation from a two-year automotive school is mandatory. To maintain the certification, mechanics should retest every five years. ASE certification gives the surety that the mechanics are up-to-date on all the latest automotive technology.

Multi-Point Inspection

You can get the multi-point inspection of your selected used car by a reputable mechanic. Regardless of where you get it done, always get the details from the mechanic about what’s included in the inspection.

There is no explicit standard of inspection, typically the multi-point inspection includes:

  • Dash warning light inspection and bulb check
  • Exterior lights
  • Abnormal Sounds
  • Rust
  • Dents
  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Brakes
  • Fluids (level and condition)
  • Battery and charging system

Beware of misleading advertisements by mechanics. You may find advertisements claiming for “150 Point Inspection”, where brakes will take up 50 of those points. So, always check with the mechanics about the details, it will keep you informed about what you’re paying for.  You can also request the mechanic to inspect things like suspension and steering.

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