Pre Purchase Inspections
(1) Questions for the Seller
Why are you selling?
Do you have maintenance/repair history?
What brand/type of oil have you used?
Who changed the oil?
Has the timing belt been replaced? If so, when?
Are there any known problems?
Has the vehicle ever been in an accident?
Do you have extra rims with snow tires?
I need to take it to my mechanic for inspection.
Is that OK?
(2) Check the Exterior
Body line gaps are correct/consistent.
Paint matches on all body panels.
The hood fits and opens easily.
Paint is not cracked or flaking on the bumpers.
Windshield is not cracked.
All exterior lights are operational.
All mirrors work and are free of cracks.
(3) Check Under the Vehicle
No fluids are leaking.
Nothing hanging down or loose.
Tires are worn evenly, smooth, and free of bumps.
Tires are not cracked and no damaged to the sidewalls.
All tires are the same size and same brand.
All tires have the same tread depths.
Wheel lock is present.
(4) Check Under the Hood
Fluid levels are full and clean.
Oil dipstick is not discolored.
Battery terminals are not corroded.
No rusty stains or signs of overheating.
Drive belts are not cracked.
Radiator/heater hoses are soft and pliable.
Hose clamps are not rusty.
(5) Check the Interior
Key on, engine off, check engine lights illuminate.
Seat belts work.
Power windows work from all switches.
Power door locks work from all switches.
Interior lighting works.
Power receptacles/USB ports working.
Windshield wipers working, no streaking.
Turn signals and emergency flashers working.
Carpet is dry and free of water stains.
No musty orders.
No signs of cigarette smoking.
A/C and heater controls working.
HVAC blower motor works on all speeds.
(6) With the Engine Running
Starts easily, no extended or slow cranking.
Idles smoothly and exhaust is quiet.
Dash gauges work and read normally.
No warning lights illuminated.
(7) Test Drive
No noises, rattles, or knocks.
Drives straight, steering is tight.
Stops smoothly, brake pedal firm with no pulsations felt while braking.
Transmission shifts smoothly, no jerking or delayed hard-shifting.
Engine temperature is normal.
Operates well at 30, 45, and 60 MPH.
Used Vehicle Inspections include:
Dynamic power balance which checks ignition, fuel mixtures and compression
Pressurize the cooling system
Charging and electrical system
Belts and hoses
Front end steering and suspension
Front and Rear brake are inspected
Drive train, drive line and drive axles
Undercarriage for previous accident damage
All accessory check
Manufacturer defects and recalls (VIN)
Safety and emission recalls (where applicable)
Do I need a car inspection?
So, how many times did you answer Yes to your questions?
It’s easy for me to tell you what you need to be doing but, if you have little or no experience in determining a genuine, reliable car from a poor one you may feel resigned to taking a risk with your money and hoping for the best.
77% of car buyers answered yes to at least one of the questions I asked and admit feeling they take risks on choosing a car.
Perhaps more surprising is that the price of the car doesn’t make much of a difference.
Whether the car is £2,000 or £20,000, the attention to detail is about the same.
Therefore, car vehicle inspection services are valuable for those that lack confidence in making an informed used car purchase.
Limitations of a used car pre-inspection service:
Car inspections do NOT guarantee a car won’t break down or cost you money
Inspections are not a used car warranty
Inspections are specifically designed to provide greater peace of mind and help you spend your money wisely
Inspections do not include background history checks from providers like AA car check or RAC car check.
When you buy a car history check use my sister website, CarVeto. My leading service carries almost identical data to hpi, the AA and RAC Passport but costs less. I also include my industry leading car buyers guide!
Do’s and Dont’s
Never rely on a verbal report from the inspection. Always insist on the written report before buying the car outright
Always read the small print of the inspection service and understand its limitations
Make sure the car owner will not sell the car while you wait for your inspection
If you lay a deposit prior to the car being inspected, get written confirmation of a full refund should the car fail its inspection testing
Always account for the age and mileage of a car before buying an inspection. You must expect wear and tear on a used vehicle
Once you buy the car YOU are the one that is liable, not the inspection service, provider
Evaluate used cars for sale anywhere across the continental United States.
Accelerate Purchase Decision
Make time sensitive car buying decisions and conduct negotiations with confidence.
Receive Personal Attention
Select up to 3 specific inspection requests and watch us make them happen.