Are Pre-Purchase Inspections Really Worth the Cost?

A pre-purchase inspection involves a qualified mechanic inspecting a variety of important characteristics of a car in detail before a prospective buyer chooses to purchase it. This inspection can be valuable to help a buyer find some issues with a vehicle, but the cost of the inspection itself, often being several hundred dollars, may make some people hesitate. If a seller assures the buyer that the car is in excellent condition, and has the paperwork to prove it, is there then a point to spending more unnecessary money on the vehicle? It’s an interesting line of discussion and one with both pros and cons. To give you a better idea of what the best idea for you is we tackle the issie in more detail below. 

Why pre-inspect a car in great condition?

With many people continuing to educate themselves about their vehicles in order to self-service and maintain their cars, there is an increasing misplaced belief that mechanics are only necessary for all but the most in-depth work to a vehicle. Although this can be true in some circumstances, when you’re dealing with such an expensive investment, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Although there is a cost attached that can be considered significant by some, a pre-inspection can often be offset by any issues that the inspection finds. If these are easily solvable, there’s a way you can get the price of the car lowered while also knowing the internals of the car are in a good condition. As an example, if you were to get a car inspection in Melbourne, your mechanic might notice an issue with the air-conditioning that might require a relatively quick fix. Identifying the issue to a buyer may cause them to panic and drop the price of the car enough to subsidise the cost of both the fix and the inspection. 

What is involved in a pre-inspection?

Pre-inspections are so valuable because the qualified mechanic undertaking the inspection goes to great lengths to test common vehicle problem areas. Their prior experience is also hugely beneficial, as they’ve likely seen a huge assortment of cars in all kinds of conditions – this is especially useful as the mechanic can give you advice that is entirely objective. During a pre-inspection, a mechanic will conduct exterior and interior checks, in addition to internals like the engine bay, and the wheels and tyres, brakes and suspension. The vehicle will also be taken for a test drive on the road to better determine its engine and transmission performance, as this is often an easy tell for major problems. In greater detail, the following are covered in the inspection: engine, fluids, radiator, vehicle lighting, transmission, brakes, steering and suspension, instruments, and gauges, electrical system, heating and air conditioning system, seats and seatbelts, underbody and condition of the car’s body and paint. 

Consider a pre-inspection before you buy your next car

Although the related cost may scare some of the more frugal people off, a pre-inspection by an expert mechanic is an excellent way to know if you’re being burned by a sale or not. Even in the best case scenario where your dream car is in perfect condition, knowing that it won’t give you trouble in the near future is peace of mind in itself. It’s also important to keep in mind sellers aren’t necessarily honest – even if they claim to have already performed an inspection, its recommended to still proceed with your own. 

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