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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


YourMechanic Pre-purchase Car Inspection Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

3,732

Rating Summary
3,458
159
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29
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3,458
159
32
29
54
Leslie

Leslie

12 years of experience
32 reviews
Leslie
12 years of experience
Audi S7 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
Leslie did a pre-purchase car inspection for me and I was very happy with his communication and the report. He arrived early and promptly called me once the inspection was done to let me know the results.
Subaru Forester - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Called me directly to give me the low down on the car. Inspected the car per my suggestions as well.
Wayne

Wayne

8 years of experience
2 reviews
Wayne
8 years of experience
Ford E-350 Super Duty - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Atlanta, Georgia
Wayne performed a used car pre-purchase inspection for me. He took the time to talk to me on the phone after his inspection and was thorough and honest in both our conversation and his written report. I would recommend him to a friend.
Trevor

Trevor

20 years of experience
125 reviews
Trevor
20 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Oceanside, California
He knows what he's doing and highly recommended! I flew out to SD to buy a car and had him do an inspection before driving 1100 miles back home. He met me a shopping center to look at the car. It took him about an hour to complete the inspection. Just a few minor issues with the car, but he said the car was good to go. Thanks so much!
David

David

32 years of experience
26 reviews
David
32 years of experience
Nissan Sentra - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Rodeo, California
He was early to the appointment and was able to explain to me what work would be needed on a car I was looking to buy.

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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


How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1-800-701-6230 · hi@yourmechanic.com