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Pre-purchase Car Inspection Service

What does a pre-purchase inspection entail?

For your convenience, our mechanics go to the car owner’s location to inspect the car. The mechanic performs a standard 150-point inspection that includes a visual inspection of the fluids, body, brakes, cooling system, suspension, HVAC, tires, and overall external appearance. They do not put the car on a lift but may use floor jacks to raise up parts of the car as needed. The mechanic will also take photos of the exterior and interior. You can see a sample report here.

The mechanic may scan the car's various computers for trouble codes and test drive the vehicle if it’s safe, operational and the owner has been given permission. If the mechanic inspecting the car is not given permission to test drive the car or it is unsafe to test drive the car, the inspection will be completed without the road test portion. Tools used in the pre-purchase inspections are those needed to check the fluids, brakes, tires, batteries, and other parts of the vehicle. For a full step-by-step break down of how a pre-purchase inspection is performed read this article.

Pre-purchase Car Inspection

When are the mechanics available to inspect the car?

The mechanics are available 7 days a week from 7am to 9pm nationally You can book an appointment online anytime by selecting your location, car, and the pre-purchase inspection job. The specific availability of the mechanics in your area will appear after you request a quote.

Mechanic's Qualifications

On average our mechanics have over ten years of experience and most are master technicians with ASE Certifications. We extensively screen all of our mechanics with background, criminal, and reference checks. On each mechanic’s profile page, you’ll see a full list of all their certifications, years of experience, job skills, and feedback from real customers. We constantly monitor the performance of our mechanics to make sure they’ll provide you with professional and courteous service. If you would like to view mechanics in your area browse them for your city here.

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Car buying advice from our expert mechanics

1. Do your research

It is important to do proper research on the car you're considering. You'll have tons of options when it comes to buying a car, so arm yourself with as much information as possible before you make a big decision. Websites like CarBuyingTips.com are great repositories of car buying information. When you find a car that piques your interest, determine that there are no major potential problems with it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a list of Recalls and Technical Service Bulletins (TSB), which will tell you about issues with the car.

2. You found a car you like—what to do before meeting with the seller

You'll want to know if the car has been in any accidents, has failed smog checks, or had other past issues. Get the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) from the seller, which you can use to learn about the car. CarFax is a good source of car history, taking data from insurance companies, shops, and other providers. Also be sure you know your budget, as well as the fair price and full cost of ownership of the car. Use Edmunds.com as a solid resource for determining the average cost of ownership of a car. We also recommend getting an insurance quote as well as pricing on registration fees and estimated yearly maintenance costs so you don't later discover any surprises.

3. When you meet the seller

Always, always, always test drive the car. Ask a lot of questions about the car including why the owner is selling it, and whether they have any service records showing regular maintenance. Do a visual inspection of the car's exterior and interior to see that it is in an acceptable condition, and check for signs of accidents or damage.

During the test drive, listen for any strange noises coming from the car during acceleration or braking. Be sure to take the car out on a freeway to ensure it operates properly at high speeds. Test the brakes several times during the drive, braking both hard and normally to determine their responsiveness. Check the dashboard for any warning lights and make sure all the various controls (wipers, blinkers, radio, etc.) and the air conditioning system work.

4. The vehicle passed your inspection—now have a professional look it over

If you like the car and it is in good condition, negotiate the price subject to the inspection of a professional mechanic. At this point you can enlist a professional mechanic to give his/her diagnosis of the condition of the car. The mechanic's inspection will cover the fluids, brakes, electrical systems, cooling system, suspension, engine/exhaust, HVAC, tires, and body. The mechanic will scan the car's various computers for trouble codes and test drive the vehicle. Should the mechanic discover any problems, he can estimate repair costs and you can use these for further negotiations with the seller. This way you can have complete peace of mind about the car you are buying.


Recent Pre-purchase Car Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(5,109)

Rating Summary
4,773
180
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4,773
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38
82

Richard

35 years of experience
78 reviews
Richard
35 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata L4-2.4L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lutz, Florida
Richard was awesome! I needed a time change and he was able to fit me in and did a great job! 10/10 recommend!!!
Jeep Wrangler - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Tampa, Florida
Richard arrived a few minutes before I did and I was there on time. He was very thorough and caught an issue that protected me from buying an $18k jeep with transmission issues.

Attila

19 years of experience
842 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Chevrolet Equinox L4-2.4L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Little Ferry, New Jersey
Attila was prompt, friendly and super knowledgeable. He communicated with me regular during the entire process and made me feel comfortable with my decision to buy the car he inspected. I would definitely recommend this service and Attila in particular.
BMW 328i xDrive - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Union City, New Jersey
Attila showed up and saved me from buying a car that I thought was the one for me. I appreciate that.

Diana

18 years of experience
82 reviews
Diana
18 years of experience
Jeep Liberty V6-3.7L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Wood Ridge, New Jersey
A guy tried to sell me a used Jeep with major mechanical problems today, and long story short, within 5 minutes of inspecting the vehicle, Diana was able to save me from wasting a lot of money and time. She was honest, direct, thorough, and competent, and I am forever grateful to her. I will be calling her from now on to work on any vehicle I have in the future!
Nissan Juke - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Kearny, New Jersey
Diana was awesome! She is very professional and she answered all my questions patiently, highly recommend! If I need any help in the future, I will definitely contact her. Thank you so much!

Willie

24 years of experience
104 reviews
Willie
24 years of experience
Lexus ES350 V6-3.5L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Midway City, California
Willie is a top-notch, no non-sense mechanic who is very knowledgeable and thorough. Don’t hesitate to hire his services. He saved me mega buko bucks via his pre-assessment of a prospective car buy miles and miles away. Willie Rocks!
Lexus LS460 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Long Beach, California
Went the extra mile to call me and have a conversation about the car that was inspected. I really appreciated the walkthrough of the report

Recently inspected cars

Car Health - 64/100
1979 GMC K1500 V8-5.7L
Inspected in Conroe, Texas.
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2014 BMW 328i L4-2.0L Turbo
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2008 Mini Cooper L4-1.6L
Inspected in Fort Myers, Florida.
Car Health - 63/100
2011 Acura MDX V6-3.7L
Inspected in Marietta, Georgia.

Commonly overlooked issues when buying a used car

1. Smog check

The seller of the car is required to get the car smogged before selling it. The car must pass the smog within 90 days of the intended sale date. This is the responsibility of the seller, so make sure you get a smog certificate or you may be in for a surprise when registering the car.

2. Keys, locks, remote controls, and other accessories

Make sure the seller is providing you with all necessary keys, key fobs, and remotes that go with the vehicle. For instance, if the car has wheel locks, make sure the seller provides you with the proper wheel lock key/socket. Also make sure the car comes with the owner’s manual, any extended warranty documents and service records, as well as a spare tire, and jack, and tools (this one often goes unnoticed).

3. Verify that the pink slip gives you clear title

Make sure that there are no liens against the car—in other words, no bank or other party still holds an interest in the vehicle. On the pink slip you will see the owner’s name and any lien holders listed. “Lien holders” should either be blank or any holders will have signed off as “lien-satisfied.” Essentially, make sure all owners have signed off on the car before going through with a purchase.

4. Salvage title

A vehicle pink slip may list a vehicle as having a salvage title. What this means is that at one time in the car's life, an insurance company recorded this vehicle as totaled, indicating that the car has been in a major accident with repair costs higher than the vehicle’s value. Buyer beware, some of these salvage vehicles may have extensive problems, have voided warranties, and/or not be eligible for comprehensive auto insurance. You can check the full history of the car on CarFax , which takes data from insurance companies, shops, and other providers.

Everything you need to know about
pre-purchase car inspections


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