Nearly all auto service facilities — from chain repair stores to dealerships to independent garages — offer some type of pre-purchase inspection. There are even companies who are independent and represent the buyer. Most independent organizations will even come to you. Why should you bother? Here’s why.
What price is peace of mind? You can’t cite one. However, the going price from an independent service is typically from $129 to $150. Pricing from auto service firms is typically from $200 to $300. Most repair facilities will give a quick description of the number of points in the inspection and how it is conducted. Not all who claim to be pre-purchase used car inspectors, however, do a thorough job.
One of the biggest problems in transactions between individuals is that of setting expectations. With a good inspection, you know what you are getting. With your own examination, you level the playing field. Consumer experts agree that a good inspection serves several functions:
* Verifies the equipment, or options, on the car
* Confirms the condition level of the car
* Reveals hidden problems with the body, frame or engine
* Finds engine codes that can reveal engine problems
* Builds confidence in the value of the vehicle, and that you’re making a good investment.
Problems that can be spotted by an inspector:
Frame damage — If the frame shows damage it indicates the car has been in a serious accident. Unless it has been repaired correctly, the car’s wheels might not track properly, causing the vehicle to pull to one side and eventually leading to tire damage.
Poor previous repair work — This could range from sloppy bodywork to improper installation of modifications.
Smoker’s car — A car being purchased may temporarily disguise the fact that someone had smoked in the car. Smoke gets into the vehicle’s headliner and upholstery, and it is impossible to remove the smell. Inspectors can ‘smoke’ that problem out!
Flood-damaged car — A vehicle history report can red flag a flood-damaged car unless its title has been falsified. If that’s the case, then it’s important for an inspector to check for signs of water damage in every one of the many places that can occur.
Given the fact that thousands of dollars are at stake, an hour of your time and a little over a hundred dollars is good insurance against the unknown.