Get an inspection before buying a used car Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our mission is to help you make better financial choices by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators that provide objective and original content, by enabling you to conduct your own research and compare data for free to help you make financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers, including but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make money The products that appear on this website are provided by companies that compensate us. This compensation can affect the way and when products are featured on this website, for example such things as the order in which they may be listed within the categories of listing, except where prohibited by law for our mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. This compensation, however, does not influence the information we provide, or the reviews that appear on this website. We do not contain the entire universe of businesses or financial deals that may be open to you. SHARE: Sinology/Getty Images
3 minutes read. Published May 12 2022
Written by Kellye Guinan Written by personal and Business Finance Contributor Kellye Guinan is a freelance editor and writer with over five years of experience in personal financial. She is also a full-time worker at her local library where she assists her community access information about financial literacy, in addition to other subjects. The article was edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain confidence to control their finances with precise, well-studied facts that break down complex topics into manageable bites. The Bankrate promises
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This compensation could influence the manner, place and in what order products are displayed within the categories of listing and categories, unless it is prohibited by law. This is the case for our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other products for home loans. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether or not a product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range could also affect how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide the most diverse selection of products, Bankrate does not include details about each credit or financial product or service. The reports on the history of a vehicle are an excellent source of information when looking into used cars, but if you’re looking to buy, it is essential to conduct an inspection. You should consult an independent mechanic — someone not connected to the seller to determine potential problem areas. Trustworthy dealers will allow this to be a part of the process, and you may be able to arrange an inspection on the spot if a private seller doesn’t want to drive to an unknown mechanic. The most important thing is to ensure that your mechanic is certified and trustworthy to ensure you don’t have to pay for repair bills in the future. A thorough inspection is key to the buying a used car process. A pre-purchase inspection will provide you with information about the cosmetic and mechanical condition of the vehicle. This will not only help highlight potential issues however, it will allow you to rescind buying if the vehicle isn’t up to your standards. When you schedule an inspection, ask for the details of what the inspection covers and exactly what your mechanic is seeking. You should be provided with a complete report, which will include a thorough examination of the exterior and interior for wear and tear. The mechanic should also examine the functioning of all features of the vehicle and also all fluid levels. You should find a mechanic who can assess the engine, steering suspension, frame, and suspension as well as signs of prior incidents or water damage. You should also employ the code-reading tool to look for any error codes which could signal an issue. If they discover any, they can request an invoice for the appropriate repair. Once you have a report, you’ll have the ability to negotiate to a better price or locate a new vehicle. It could take longer however it can save you thousands in repair bills if you can spot a problem before it becomes a problem. When is the best time to have your used vehicle inspected? You should avoid an inspection that is official until you are certain about the . This means negotiating the price and then driving the car and performing an inspection yourself first. If you’re sure that it’s the car you are looking for, set up an on-site mechanic to visit you or work with the seller in order to bring the car to a trusted shop. A pre-purchase inspection is the final step before closing the purchase. You don’t want to spend money on a car you won’t purchase. What is the cost of an inspection? A check-up can cost anywhere from $100 to $150, according to . But the actual cost will depend on the expertise the mechanic has, age of the car and the underlying problems. Your mechanic should be able give you a quote before you bring your used vehicle into. Like taxes and fees, don’t include the cost of this into the loan. Plan for a used car inspection separately — and don’t schedule one until you’ve narrowed your choices to one vehicle in good condition. There is always a chance you’ll never want to buy the vehicle, but putting off the inspection for a later negotiation will save you money. Where can you get a used car inspected The ideal way to conduct an inspection is to be performed by a mechanic you already have a relationship with. The majority of private auto body and repair shops will perform inspections on used cars. If your mechanic isn’t able to offer a referral, ask for one that does. If you don’t already have a mechanic you trust Look for local mechanics not associated with dealerships with good reviews from customers. There are reviews available on the shop’s Better Business Bureau page. Members of American Automobile Association (AAA) can search for a certified garage, or choose a mechanic who is recommended by the insurance company. Any mechanic you hire should have been certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). A different option would be to work with a national firm specializing in used-car inspections for example, Alliance Inspection Management, Carchex and Inspect My Ride. You can request a portable inspection.. Inspections are typically done at a shop or garage There mechanics who offer mobile inspections. This could be more convenient when you’re dealing with a private dealer, or the dealer isn’t able to allow an extended test drive. However, this route may be more costly than bringing the vehicle to a mechanic. The convenience will cost you and it’ll probably take a few hours before the technician can completely examine the car. Online used car buying and inspections Online used car sellers such as Carvana and Vroom offer a week in which you can try the car out before making a final decision on the purchase. This allows you to take the vehicle to your mechanic to have it checked. Since most online sellers don’t allow negotiation on the price, any mechanical issue identified could be sufficient to have the vehicle returned. If you’re buying a vehicle that is not seen online, make it clear that you’d like it to be examined by a mechanic prior to purchase. The seller may not agree with this — but that’s fine. There are many cars available, and you should continue to search instead of purchasing a car that has not been inspected. Next steps Regardless of the kind of inspection service you choose be sure to get an official report with photos of any issues. The report will prove helpful when you are negotiating for a purchase of a used vehicle should you decide to move ahead with the purchase. Find out more
Written by Personal and business Finance Contributor Kellye Guinan is a freelance editor and writer with more than 5 years experience working in the field of personal finance. She’s also an employee full-time at her local library, where she assists the community gain access to information on financial literacy, in addition to other topics. The article was edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain confidence to control their finances through providing precise, well-studied information that breaks down otherwise complex topics into digestible chunks.
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