Buying Used Cars: 3 Ways You Can Benefit from a Professional Pre-Purchase Inspection
Buying a car is a major decision. It represents a significant investment that, if made with care and using the right knowledge, can prove to be advantageous for the car owner. In fact, even if you can’t afford to buy a brand-new vehicle, you can still get the most out of the used car you buy if you opt to have a pre-purchase car inspection done first.
Before you decide to shrug off this useful service, you must first understand what it is, how it works, and how you can benefit from having the car you wish to buy undergo this test before closing the deal.
Pre-Purchase Inspection Basics
What Is a Pre-Purchase Inspection?
As the name implies, a pre-purchase inspection entails a thorough examination of the vehicle in question. Ideally, this task should be accomplished by a trained professional, like an auto technician or a licensed mechanic. He or she should then perform tests to determine the car’s mechanical, safety, and cosmetic conditions.
During this test, the person conducting the inspection should be able to list down issues involving every aspect of the car — from problems that are already apparent to those that could potentially arise in the near future. He or she should also be able to inform you of the repairs that have already been done to the vehicle and whether those fixes were effective in solving the issue or not.
How Does It Work?
Car inspections that are considered basic mostly entail a visual examination of the vehicle’s condition. However, pre-purchase inspections should be more detailed, so that you can be sure that the car fares well beyond mere appearances. This means that the inspector should check the mechanical system and the vehicle’s engine.
Also, you should know that some car inspections that include a test drive don’t always show all potential issues, either. There could be major flaws hidden in the automobile that can lead to potentially dangerous problems if left unchecked.
Some clues and parts that your pre-purchase inspector should check are:
- Strange noises that occur while the car is running, when the breaks are being applied, and while the wheel is being steered
- Rusted or broken components under the car
- Engine and transmission issues
- Worn-out or leaking tires
- Radiator and wiring conditions
- Damaged or worn-out belts and hoses
- Battery and alternator problems
- Level of fluids
- The vehicle’s lights
Some pre-purchase inspection services offer used car buyers a checklist of the things they will look at during the inspection. You can use this as the basis for your car purchase deal.
3 Reasons Why You Should Get a Pre-Purchase Inspection
Pre-purchase car inspections aren’t mandatory. However, it will do you good to have one conducted before you close the deal if you want to get the most out of what you’re paying for in the used vehicle you’re planning to buy.
Here are three reasons why you should get a pre-purchase inspection for your used vehicle purchase:
1. You get to negotiate a better price
Pre-purchase inspections are meant to check the car’s condition and determine how much it costs based on its face value. With that said, you can use the result of this test as a bargaining tool to negotiate a better deal, especially if there are minor problems with the car you are planning to purchase.
If it comes down to it, you can also point out issues that could potentially cause costly repairs in the future to dial the price down some more. If the seller won’t budge with the deal, you can walk away knowing that you didn’t waste your money on a car that may cost you more in the long run.
2. You save money on potential repairs
Having the car checked before buying it will also help you prepare for potential repairs. Determining the issue before it gets worse can help you save a lot of money.
If you like the car so much, but found out through pre-purchase inspections that it requires near-future maintenance, you can also try to bargain with the seller and have him or her deal with the issues first before passing on the vehicle to you.
3. The inspection helps you understand the quirks of your “new” car
Pre-purchase inspections serve as a sort of introduction to the quirks of your “new” car. This means that the test results can help you predict potential issues and schedule the maintenance at the right moment to extend the lifespan of the vehicle.
This is especially useful for car parts that corrode or wear down after a set period, such as the batteries, fluid condition, belts, cables, exhaust, tires, fuel lines, and the gas tank. Sometimes, brakes and suspensions appear to be undamaged, but they may already be worn down and can cost you an arm or a leg if left unchecked. This also applies to the body of the car that may be starting to rust.
Before You Close the Deal
Understanding the condition of the car you want to purchase is the key to getting the right value for what you pay for. Pre-purchase inspections offer you a way to know what’s happening under the vehicle’s hood and to make an informed decision before closing a car deal.
Luigi Rubinacci is the Director of Strategic Ventures at AW Rostamani Automotive Group. AUTOTRUST Multibrand Car Service and Accident Repair is the Group’s strategic division that deals with the accident repair and service of all brands and makes of cars. Its service centers currently operate from Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.