Don’t buy a lemon!

Get a 150-point YourMechanic Pre-Purchase Car Inspection

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ON-SITE INSPECTIONS

Our mechanics travel to the seller's location to inspect the used car. Receive an instant report by email.

TOP-RATED MECHANICS

Don't be fooled by novice car inspectors. Our professional mechanics repair cars for a living.

AFFORDABLE PRICES

For just $90-$105 you have peace of mind with your car purchase (price depends on location).

Getting a professional car inspection is as easy as 1-2-3

1

BOOK AN INSPECTION ONLINE

Book online 24/7. We don't bill you until the inspection is done. Cancel 24 hours in advance without penalty.

2

MECHANIC INSPECTS THE CAR ONSITE

Our mechanic will perform the 150-point inspection at the seller's location, taking photos and notes of the car's condition. You do not need to be present.

3

GET AN INSTANT REPORT

You will receive the mechanic's report by email as soon as the inspection is complete. Use photos and recommended repairs in the report to negotiate with the seller.

Recently inspected cars

Car Health - 55/100
1974 Toyota Land Cruiser L6-3.9L
Inspected in Winter Park, Florida on March 03, 2016.
Car Health - 58/100
1987 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL V8-4.2L
Inspected in Phoenix, Arizona on March 30, 2016.

What our customers say

Steve

from Dania, Florida

I was happy with this service. I've never purchased a car on-line or by phone. The inspection seemed thorough and José was great for calling me and answered all questions I had. I would use the service again. Thanks

Zilla

from San Antonio, Texas

Justin came out for a pre-purchase inspection and he was incredibly thorough as well as personable. He even took the time to clean off some corrosion on my battery terminal and clean up some oil that the dealer had spilled on one of the oil pressure sensors.

Everything you need to know about pre-purchase car inspections

When are the mechanics available to inspect the car?

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

What does a pre-purchase inspection entail?

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. 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 and operational and if permission from the owner has been given. 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.

Can the mechanic call me during the inspection from the vehicle location?

Our mechanics provide detailed evaluations of each car they inspect, and report the condition of the car to you as soon as it’s complete. The report is sent electronically to your email address and no phone calls are made. If you have questions about the report or want to speak directly to the mechanic who performed the inspection, you can contact our customer service team at 1-800-701-6230 and we will have the mechanic contact you.

Does the mechanic put the car on a lift?

For your convenience, our mechanics go to the car owner’s location to inspect the car. They do not put the car on a lift but may use floor jacks to raise up parts of the car as needed. For example, the rear of the car may be jacked up a few inches off the ground in order for the mechanic to inspect the wheels and tires.

Does the mechanic use any diagnostic equipment?

Diagnostic equipment is not typically used in a pre-purchase inspection. Tools used in the pre-purchase inspections are those needed to check the fluids, brakes, tires, batteries, and other parts of the vehicle. An OBD II scanner may be used to record any trouble codes that may exist. One important part of the inspection is the mechanic’s years of experience working on cars and providing their expert feedback on the condition of the car.

Does the mechanic check the title or verify any background on the vehicle?

The mechanic will identify the VIN (vehicle identification number), but does not check the authenticity of the VIN, history, or title. When you find a car in which you’re interested, you need to determine whether there are major potential problems with the car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a list of recalls and Technical Service Bulletins, which you may check regarding the car you have in mind for purchase. You'll want to know if the car has been in any accidents, failed smog checks, or had other past issues. You can check the history of the car on CarFax , which takes data from insurance companies, shops, and other providers.

How do I pay for a pre-purchase inspection service?

Booking a pre-purchase inspection is the same as booking any other appointment through YourMechanic. We require a credit card to book an inspection, but we will only process the payment after the work is done. If you need to change the credit card number, you can give the mechanic a different card. At this time, we do not accept checks, cash, or PayPal.

How long does it take to complete a pre-purchase inspection?

On average, a pre-purchase inspection takes a little more than an hour for a mechanic to complete.

Is a YourMechanic pre-purchase inspection guaranteed?

A YourMechanic pre-purchase inspection is not guaranteed because it is an assessment of the condition of the car at a specific point in time. After the inspection, a part could be altered that would affect the overall condition of the car, thereby invalidating the mechanic’s inspection report. Furthermore, the car is fully assembled and the mechanic cannot see the inside of an engine or transmission during the inspection. Our mechanics do not take the whole car apart to check every component in the car. Thus, there are possibilities of impending failures that are not evident at the time of inspection. Our mechanics use their judgement and years of experience working on cars to provide their best opinion on the condition of the car, and may suggest potential repairs. If you believe that the report is inaccurate, please contact our customer service at hi@yourmechanic.com or our service line at 1-800-701-6230. Due to the complex mechanical structure of cars and the inability for in-depth inspection of various car components to guarantee the continued performance of the car, all claims must be submitted within 2 weeks of the date of inspection. Please note: if it is confirmed that the report contained any inaccuracy, the remedy will be no greater than the purchase price of the inspection service. You can read our full terms and conditions here.

Will the mechanic perform a compression test?

Our mechanics do not include a compression test as part of the pre-purchase inspection. Conducting a compression test involves removing the spark plug and there is the potential for other issues to arise when parts are removed.

What are the mechanic's qualifications?

Our mechanics undergo a rigorous evaluation and screening process. A large number of our mechanics are ASE certified and have a wealth of hands-on, practical experience.

What is the pre-purchase inspection cancellation policy?

The cancellation policy for a pre-purchase inspection is the same as cancelling any service by YourMechanic. To avoid a cancellation fee of $25, we request that you cancel the appointment at least 24 hours prior to the start time. You can cancel or reschedule your appointment using your online account, mobile app, or by calling us at 1-800-701-6230.

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, 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 VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) 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.

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 totalled, 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.


How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, from 6 AM to 5 PM PST.

1-800-701-6230 · hi@yourmechanic.com