There’s nothing more important than getting a used car inspection if you’re considering buying a pre-owned car. Getting an inspection will help uncover potential problems, including revealing costly structural damage.

The advice listed here will help you avoid buying a lemon and get the best deal based on the actual value of the car.

Hire a Professional

The best advice we can give you to avoid buying a lemon is to have a used car inspection performed by a qualified auto care specialist. Most car buyers who think they’re mechanically savvy won’t know all the things to look for during a car inspection. Here are some of the points a comprehensive used car inspection covers.

  • Confirms the functionality of various mechanisms of the vehicle.
  • Checks for trouble codes that may reveal electrical and mechanical problems.
  • Verifies the overall condition of the vehicle, including things like wear and tear on the tires, the condition of the brakes, etc.
  • Looks for body, frame and engine problems. If the frame reveals damage, it’s an indicator that the vehicle has been in a severe accident.
  • Educates about previous work performed on the car, ranging from poor engine service to bad bodywork, to the improper installation of modifications, accessories, and more.

Additional problems a used car inspection can expose include fluid leaks, hidden rust, dubious odors, and maintenance that’s overdue. If the results of the inspection reveal minor problems, you may want to negotiate for a better price. If the inspection reports major problems, continue your search for a vehicle that’s in good condition.

 Get a Vehicle History Report

An important step when it comes to used car purchases is to get a vehicle history report. A vehicle history report (CARFAX) provides details about a vehicle’s ownership, title status, mileage, accident history, whether it’s been in a flood, fire, and more. You’ll need the vehicle’s VIN (vehicle identification number) to run the report. 

Cost for a Used Car Inspection

The cost typically runs between $100 to $200 depending on your make and model, but always ask for an estimate before you bring the used car in. Most repair shops provide a document that lists out the points (and detailed descriptions) covered by their used car inspections.

Buying a Used Car from a Different State

Shopping for a vehicle online gives buyers access to countless vehicles, in and out of state.  Buying a car that’s out of state can present a long list of potential problems, including the inability to check the vehicle out in person before buying it.

If you find a used car you like that’s out of state, you’ll want to get a vehicle history report and detailed (close up) pictures from the seller. You’ll still need to have a used car inspection performed, and arranging for one out of state, while challenging, is possible. To find a good auto care facility out of state, check with the Better Business Bureau, read online reviews, and visit their website before calling them.

A lot of car buyers don’t want to spend extra money for a used car inspection. Others don’t want to deal with the hassle of getting a private party or dealer to agree to an inspection. Don’t be this car buyer. A professional used car inspection provides an essential level of assurance that you’re not going to end up with a lemon. While just about all auto care centers offer pre-purchase inspections, it’s essential to choose one that has an excellent reputation. Look for a shop that has great reviews, is ASE certified and has earned the rating of “AAA Top Shop.”

Ending up with a good used car doesn’t have anything to do with luck and everything to do with having a used car inspection. Knowing about potential problems before you buy as well as the history and reliability of the vehicle will save you from expensive problems down the road. Most sellers won’t have a problem with you having their vehicle inspected – if they’re hesitant, walk away.

We’re happy to do a complete used car inspection for you. Contact us today.

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