Cars are long-term investments, and the more they were cared for, the better of an investment they can be. But, when you're buying a used one, you have no way of truly knowing how well it was cared for. This makes a pre-purchase inspection key to finding a reliable used vehicle.
What's a Pre-Purchase Inspection?
A pre-purchase inspection means taking the vehicle to an independent, certified mechanic to have the car looked over before you buy it. When you do this, you can get a better sense of how the vehicle is fairing mechanically. The technician should check the fluids, be thorough under the hood, and inspect the body for signs of previous damage that you may not know to look for.
Some things a mechanic may spot in an inspection include signs of flood damage, frame cracks, problem hoses, or worn belts that may not be obvious to the naked eye. Your pre-purchase inspection should also include a test drive, so the mechanic can not only tell you what if anything is wrong with the vehicle, but what's right, too.
Pre-purchase inspections can help you judge the future quality of the car you're considering. And, they can give you peace of mind before sinking a lot of hard-earned cash into a car that isn't reliable.
Where Do I Go for a Pre-purchase Inspection?
In most cases, a dealership shouldn't have a problem with you taking it to a certified mechanic in the area, or allowing you to get a mobile inspection at your home or the car lot. If a dealership refuses to let you have the car inspected, or tries to steer you toward only one specific shop, it's okay to walk away.
That being said, vehicles are hard to come by right now which makes it tough to walk away from a sale for something so seemingly small. However, if you skip the inspection and the car breaks down soon after you buy it, there's usually no recourse, since used cars are sold as-is. There's no guarantee that something like this wouldn't happen anyway, but the chance may be far less after an inspection.
Try to take the vehicle to a mechanic you trust, who's certified. If you're buying from a dealership, you can typically have it inspected there, though you may want an independent opinion.
Typically, it costs around $100 or more for a pre-purchase inspection, and you have to pay for it yourself.
What if There's a Dealer Inspection Report?
A dealer inspection report, and even a vehicle history report, may be presented while you're considering a used car. If they're not, you should ask for them. A dealer inspection report shows you that the dealership had the car inspected when they bought it. A vehicle history report typically tells you all the information found under the VIN for the used car you're considering. Both of these reports are key to knowing as much about the car you're considering as possible. Even with these documents in hand though, you should insist on taking the vehicle to the mechanic of your choice.
Looking for Your Next Car?
If you're ready to find your next used vehicle but aren't sure where to start, we've got you covered. Here at The Car Connection, we have dealerships across the country that are signed up with special financing lenders, and we want to help you make a match.
Our dealer network can work with people in many types of challenging credit situations, including bad credit, no credit, and bankruptcy. To get started now, simply fill out our car loan request form. It's fast, free, and never any obligation.