A pre-purchase inspection can save miles of trouble and heartache.
In the automotive repair business we are frequently asked the question “From a repair perspective, what kind of car should I buy?” Many are initially drawn to the emotional side of things - performance, luxury, throaty exhaust. Others more strongly consider the practical side. Do you need all-wheel-drive, or better fuel economy?
Technology in today’s automobiles is advancing at an amazing rate, offering features from advanced driver assistance systems to Colorado-friendly all-wheel drive. This can bring cost and complexity in the automotive repair market.
To eliminate anxiety and help you get an accurate assessment of the vehicle you are about to purchase, consider a pre-purchase inspection (PPI). A pre-purchase inspection is a detailed assessment by a qualified technician to determine the cosmetic, mechanical, and safety condition of the vehicle before completing the purchase. The intent is to uncover existing conditions and reveal maintenance shortcomings that may become potential safety or financial issues for the buyer.
While there is not an industry standard, a detailed pre-purchase inspection will cover the vehicle’s major mechanical systems under the hood, under the car, and in the cabin. It will include a test drive where components such as steering and brakes can be assessed. Ad advanced inspection may also include an engine compression test and a computer engine analysis.
A good inspection report will provide peace of mind to complete the sale. If the PPI reports minor flaws, you may be able to use it as a bargaining tool and ask that the seller resolve these problems or lower the price in consideration. A troublesome report will give you a reason to walk away if the seller refuses to repair the problems.
The buyer typically pays for the pre-purchase inspection, which may cost $150-$250. In some negotiations, the sale is contingent on the completion of a satisfactory PPI; the buyer and seller should agree on the terms before the inspection takes place.
Pro Tip: If you already own the vehicle and are planning a road trip, consider a pre-trip inspection. Less expensive, this inspection eliminates the in-cabin portion and focuses on under-hood and under-car systems. It is intended to prevent you from spending your vacation in a road-side hotel while your car is in the repair shop!