Q: Vehicle inspection on a car with a dead battery

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I want to sell a car that has been sitting in my garage for a few years. The battery is dead. Can a mechanic perform an inspection on a car with a dead battery? I heard that jump starting an old battery to perform an inspection is not recommend on certain car models. Is that true?

Hello. To do a thorough inspection a mechanic would need to be able to start the car. This allows him/her to check all of the electrical systems and to also drive the vehicle to see if they can detect any problems. Having a dead battery would leave them with nothing but a visual inspection which doesn’t tell you much more than how the vehicle looks cosmetically. One other thing to keep in mind is that many states require a vehicle to pass a smog check prior to selling it. If the car is built after 1996 then it will need to have battery power as it needs to be driven for the emissions monitors to reset before an emissions test. Unless you are planning on selling the vehicle "as is" you will need to at least replace your battery. Prior to selling it, I would recommend having a full inspection in order to ensure that it passes all checks prior to sale.

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