If a used but “new-for-you” vehicle is on the horizon, make sure a professional used car inspection is part of that plan. Before purchasing a previously owned vehicle, most careful buyers will visually inspect the interior and exterior of the vehicle they are considering for signs of wear or damage. Next, they’ll take it for a test drive to verify that it performs acceptably.
If the vehicle passes their inspection, the next step in the process is to have an auto repair professional give the vehicle a thorough check for problems that may not be obvious to the prospective buyer during a test drive. This is what’s known in the industry as a pre-purchase used car inspection. The goal is to provide reassurance that the vehicle is mechanically sound, instill confidence that the car, truck or SUV is a good value for the asking price, and hopefully save the shopper from experiencing buyer’s remorse when a major problem arises not long after the purchase.
With used car purchases representing a significant piece of the annual vehicle sales in America, it’s obvious many buyers are opting to invest their transportation dollars in pre-owned versus new vehicles. Depending on the model year, this means financing for a term anywhere between 3 to 6 years. To avoid spending additional dollars on surprise repairs, serious shoppers can’t afford to skip a professional used car inspection.
Used car inspections are invaluable
The unintentional neglect of missed or delayed maintenance can add to the normal wear and tear of day-to-day driving and cause vehicle components to age prematurely. These worn components can become the hidden repair problems that don’t show up until after the purchase.
Having a used car inspection performed by a competent and trustworthy auto repair professional allows existing as well as potential mechanical problems to be uncovered. Highlighting safety issues or future repair needs allows you, the potential buyer, to factor in future repair or maintenance items when considering the vehicle’s price tag. This gives you an accurate picture of the true cost of a particular vehicle.
4 pathetic reasons to skip a used car inspection
Even so, many car shoppers give a variety of reasons to skip having a vehicle professionally inspected before they buy:
- It’s an added expense I don’t want to pay for
- I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary
- I’m afraid somebody might buy the car while I’m waiting to schedule an inspection
- I don’t know where to find a trustworthy repair shop
Skipping the used car inspection before you buy, no matter what reason, can have significant consequences. Compare the small cost of an inspection fee with the enormous cost of an engine or transmission repair and see how an inspection can pay for itself in cost savings down the road.
10 categories of what a used car inspection covers
Be aware that what takes place during the inspection can vary from one provider to another. It’s worthwhile to check with several repair facilities to ask what they include for the inspection fee they charge. Most reputable shops include between 25 to 100 items on their inspection checklist to guide the technician in assessing:
- Cosmetic damage inside and out including flood water damage
- Body or frame damage outside including excess rust
- The level and appearance of all fluids
- Evidence of fluid leaks
- Engine and transmission operation
- Brake function
- Steering and suspension
- Radiator leakage
- Accessories operate as designed
- Computer scanning and analysis
Repair shops that offer pre-purchase used car inspections want to make sure they can satisfy the customer’s expectations since they may become a repair customer in the future.
Consider making your own list of what you expect an inspection to accomplish before scheduling one. In making a list, try to identify what you expect from a vehicle that makes it an asset instead of a liability.
With existing and potential repair issues pinpointed by the used car inspector, a buyer is able to better negotiate the selling price with a seller. If repairs are recommended, a motivated seller will either decrease the purchase price to adjust for work the vehicle needs or agree to have the repair work done before the sale is completed. The maintenance or repair needs identified can help a buyer decide whether this vehicle is a good value or is over-priced.
Typical cost of Boise used car inspections
In Idaho, you can expect to pay between $50 and $130 for a pre-purchase inspection. Frequently, that price will cover inspecting a second vehicle if the first fails to pass or has significant problems that make it a poor investment.
If additional labor time is required to investigate one or more systems in greater depth, the shop should contact you to authorize the additional expense. Be aware that if digging deeper reveals extensive and expensive work will be needed, it’s more than worth the additional money to find out before you own a car that you can’t give back. Remember, if repair work is recommended after the inspection, be sure to request a printed estimate as documentation for negotiating with the seller.
At AutoTranz, we believe the value of used car inspections far exceed their cost because of the critical information they offer prospective buyer in making decisions about vehicle value. Make your used car purchases with confidence and no regrets when you schedule an inspection with us. Call or visit us online to request an inspection appointment for the pre-owned vehicle you’re considering.