Pre-purchase car inspection
Is it worth paying for a pre-purchase inspection before you buy a used car? You’ll often hear us answer car advice questions with “it depends”. But not in this case.
In our opinion, yes, it’s absolutely worthwhile getting a pre-purchase inspection before you buy a used car.
The two main reasons are the two reasons we use for a lot of our advice around vehicles:
- It could save you money in the long run
- It could help keep you safe
These are the two factors most people look at when buying a vehicle – how expensive will it be, and is it safe? A pre-purchase inspection helps answer both of these questions. And it provides you with invaluable peace of mind that you’re making a solid purchasing decision.
Aside from buying a home, buying a vehicle is one of the largest purchases you might make. It’s important to have as much information as possible upfront. Once you buy a used car, particularly if you buy it privately, it’s impossible to go back and dispute whether the price you paid was adequate.
What does a pre-purchase car inspection include?
This is where we’ll say, “it depends”. There are no standard pre-purchase car inspection criteria that mechanics have to abide by. So all mechanics will do this differently. Some mechanics may even give you advice on what they think the car is worth.
At Roskill Auto Mechanical, our pre-purchase inspections are similar to the type of inspection you’d get when you’re renewing your vehicle’s Warrant of Fitness (WOF).
We want to make sure that all the mechanical and electrical parts are working properly and that you’ll be as safe as possible on the road.
At Roskill Auto Mechanical, your pre-purchase car inspection includes:
- Full mechanical report
- Full underbody check
- Visual rust report
- Bumper to bumper exterior report
We do all of that for a very reasonable $170, including GST. If we discover that the vehicle needs a wheel alignment, we can provide one for an additional $65 (incl GST).
How do you choose where to have your pre-purchase car inspection done?
It’s advisable to choose a mechanic that:
- provides you with a written report – this may come in handy if you need to make an insurance claim or if you need to go back to the person you bought the car from regarding the performance of the vehicle
- also does Warrant of Fitness (WOF) checks – they’ll have all the necessary testing equipment to do a thorough job
- is able to give you an upfront price for the inspection – not one that tells you the price depends on what they find
- is able to perform any repair work that may be needed for you to be satisfied with your purchasing decision
Should you take the vehicle to the mechanic that the seller uses? There are pros and cons to this. On the one hand, that mechanic will be familiar with the vehicle, particularly if it has had regular service appointments. Yet, on the other hand, you may want an objective opinion from someone looking at the vehicle for the first time.
You may also want to have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic that you use regularly – they may know your driving habits, or they may give you a special price based on the fact that you are their regular customer.
There’s no right or wrong answer here. But you will obviously need agreement from the seller to take the car to a mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection.
What if the seller doesn’t want you to have a pre-purchase car inspection done?
If for any reason the seller does not want you to have a pre-purchase inspection done, take it as a warning sign and walk away. If they tell you that an inspection has already been done, ask to see the written report. If they can’t produce it, or are not willing to share it, again, walk away.
Is a recent WOF check as good as a pre-purchase car inspection?
No, it isn’t. Even if the vehicle has had a recent WOF check done, it’s still worthwhile to have a pre-purchase car inspection done.
A WOF checks for safety issues, ensuring that the vehicle is fit to be driven. But it won’t tell you the condition of the engine or how long specific parts will last. A good mechanic can give you a better idea of whether the vehicle you’re looking at purchasing will need parts repaired or replaced any time soon.
We liken it to a building report done before you buy a home. You want to know the true story and the history of any repairs done before you buy it. Taking the time and money to have an inspection done ahead of time can likely save you a lot of time, money and hassle in the long run – as well as ensure your safety.
If you’ve got a used car in mind that you’re considering buying, get in touch with us for a reliable Pre-Purchase Car Inspection.