Pre-purchase car inspection

Pre-purchase vehicle inspections

A pre-purchase vehicle inspection can help you buy a used car with confidence and negotiate a better price.

When you’re buying a used car, making sure you’re getting a quality vehicle is critically important. But if you don’t have any mechanical or automotive knowledge, the car you buy could have hidden defects or problems that could cause you a whole lot of expensive trouble in the future.

This is where a pre-purchase vehicle inspection can help, providing peace of mind that any car you plan on buying is in good condition. Read on to find out how pre-purchase inspections work and how they can help you.

What is a pre-purchase vehicle inspection?

A pre-purchase inspection can be conducted on any vehicle you plan on buying. Carried out by an independent mechanic, this service involves a comprehensive inspection of the vehicle’s quality, safety and performance.

Once an inspection has been completed, you’ll be provided with a detailed report explaining the results, including any defects or problems that may have been detected. You can then use this information to decide whether the vehicle is roadworthy and in good condition or whether the price the seller is asking represents good value for money.

Who can use pre-purchase vehicle inspections?

Used car pre-purchase inspections can be hugely beneficial for car buyers and sellers:

      • Car buyers. If you’re buying a used car, it’s vital that you know the vehicle’s current condition. A pre-purchase inspection gives you a complete rundown of a car’s quality and safety, allowing you to work out whether you are getting a good deal or whether you’re about to buy a lemon. Car buyers can also use the results of a pre-purchase vehicle inspection to negotiate a better price with the seller.
      • Car sellers. If you’re selling a used vehicle, you can use a pre-purchase vehicle inspection to increase your negotiating power. With a positive inspection report to back you up, you can prove to potential buyers that your car is in excellent condition and has been well looked after. And because buyers know they will be getting a quality vehicle, you’ll be able to negotiate a higher sales price.

What does a pre-purchase vehicle inspection include?

The exact list of items checked during a pre-purchase vehicle inspection will vary depending on the mechanic or independent inspection service you use. However, it will usually include an inspection of the following items:

      • Engine and transmission
      • Tyres, wheels and brakes
      • Drivetrain
      • Steering and suspension
      • Interior (including door locks and hinges, seat belts, seat trim and much more)
      • Electrical components
      • Undercarriage
      • Exterior (including detection of rust and previous body repairs)

Some inspections will also include a road test to check engine performance and noise as well as the exhaust, steering, suspension and brakes

What are the benefits of a pre-purchase vehicle inspection?

The following are some of the reasons why you should get a pre-purchase inspection:

  • It will identify any issues. Many potential issues with a used car are not immediately obvious to the untrained eye. By getting an expert to conduct a pre-purchase inspection, you’ll be able to unearth any issues that may affect your decision about whether to buy a particular vehicle.
  • You could save money. Buying a car with hidden defects could end up costing you thousands of dollars in repairs. This is especially true if you are buying a car that is no longer covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • You can buy with confidence. Buying a used car is risky. Unless you know about cars, you run the risk of purchasing a vehicle with hidden defects. A pre-purchase vehicle inspection can give you the peace of mind that you are buying a quality vehicle for a fair price.
  • You can buy from afar. If you’ve found a vehicle you want to buy, but you can’t check it out yourself because it’s a long way from home, arranging an inspection can help you make an informed purchasing decision without seeing the vehicle in person.
  • You can sell for more. If you’re selling a used car, a pre-purchase vehicle inspection is a very effective sales tool. If you can demonstrate to buyers that your car is in excellent condition, you’ll be in a strong position when the time comes to negotiate a price.

Where are pre-purchase vehicle inspections performed?

Pre-purchase inspections can be performed at a wide range of locations. In some situations, you will be required to take the vehicle into your chosen mechanic or automotive service centre.

However, there are many companies that also offer a mobile inspection service, allowing you to get your car inspected at the following places:

  • At the seller’s home
  • At your own home
  • At the buyer’s or seller’s workplace
  • At a used car dealership

How can I book a pre-purchase vehicle inspection?

Pre-purchase vehicle inspections are offered by most mechanics and automotive service businesses around Australia, so it’s worth comparing several providers to find one that offers comprehensive and affordable inspections. However, whichever business you choose, make sure the inspection will be carried out by a licensed mechanic.

Pre-purchase vehicle inspections can usually be arranged over the phone or online. Simply provide a few details about the vehicle, where it’s located and your desired inspection time.

The cost of pre-purchase vehicle inspections can vary depending on the mechanic you choose, the type of car to be inspected and how comprehensive you want your inspection to be. As a general guide, prices range anywhere from $100 up to about $400. When you consider the time and stress a pre-purchase inspection could potentially save you, this additional cost could be well worth it.

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