Book a Pre Purchase Inspection Service
Commonly asked questions and what an inspection service is all about.
Finding the used car that’s right for you takes time, and when you finally find ‘the one,’ it can be tempting to rush through the buying process to get into the driver’s seat as soon as possible. Before you fully commit, there’s one more important step to take and that’s a pre-purchase inspection service.
What is a used car pre-purchase inspection?
This is a vehicle inspection performed by a licensed mechanic or auto technician who will give the vehicle a thorough inspection to determine its cosmetic, mechanical and safety condition. The mechanic will pinpoint any existing conditions and highlight potential issues that could arise in the future and will investigate to make sure any previous damage has been properly repaired. By learning more about what’s happening under the hood, has the vehicle been serviced regularly, for example, you could end up more confident that you’re making a great purchase, decide that it’s not the right ride for you, or uncover some details to leverage in your price negotiations.
Where can I get a car inspection?
If you’re buying the vehicle from a dealer, you can usually have them conduct the car inspection onsite. They should also be open to you taking the vehicle for an inspection by an independent mechanic. As a consumer, it’s your right to have a pre-purchase inspection, and usually a non-binding offer to purchase and a refundable deposit is considered acceptable pre-conditions to an inspection. If you are getting the inspection done offsite, or you’re dealing with a private seller, ideally you’ll take the vehicle to a mechanic you already have a relationship with.
What will they check for in a pre-purchase inspection?
Your mechanic will do a safety inspection to check for many things during the inspection. Ideally, you’ll have a Vehicle History Report that will alert them to the vehicle’s damage history so they are aware of the areas requiring extra-detailed inspections before they get started. Letting them know where to look will help them determine that any damage in the vehicle’s past has been carefully and thoroughly repaired.
Basic inspections are largely visual, but if you’re looking for a detailed inspection (which is highly recommended) it should include an engine and mechanical system check, putting the car up on a lift, and checking for broken/rusted components, leaks and more. It’s also helpful for the mechanic to take the vehicle for a test drive so they can assess its steering, braking and listen for any strange sounds.
What if I find damage during a vehicle inspection?
This depends on whether the damage was disclosed prior to the inspection. A vehicle with a damage history can still be a great buy, and can often be your opportunity to get into a more premium model than you would have considered otherwise. The pre-purchase inspection is one way to ensure that previous damage has been properly repaired and the car is safe to drive, and the extent of that damage can be a great negotiation point when you’re talking price with the seller.
However, if the seller indicated there was no damage history and was not willing to prove it with a report, you may re-consider doing business with this individual. If they were dishonest about this key piece of information, it’s questionable if you can trust them to legitimately close the deal.
How much does a safety inspection cost, and who usually pays?
While this could be something you negotiate with the seller, typically the buyer will cover the cost of the inspection, which usually ranges from $100-$250. This price can be higher or lower depending on the level of detail with which the inspection is conducted.
I’ve had the vehicle inspection. Now what?
Depending on what you learn from the vehicle inspection and the vehicle history report, it’s now time to decide whether to buy the car. If you feel like it’s the right vehicle for you, go back to the seller to negotiate the price. If you’re buying from a dealer they’ll take care of the rest for you, and if you’re buying privately you’ll have to check into the rules and regulations around finalizing a private used car sale in your province.
A pre-purchase safety inspection is a final step in determining if the car you’re considering is the right one for you. By arming yourself with information from a purchase inspection report, you can be confident about the vehicle’s history, its current state and potentially gain some leverage for your price negotiations.
1. What does a pre-purchase inspection include?
A pre-purchase inspection includes a mobile inspection, the report that includes road tests.
2. How long does the inspection take?
Inspections can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours depending on the type, age, and condition of the vehicle.
3. What is checked in the inspection?
Interior: seats, seat belts, other trims, radio, rear window demister, air-conditioning, heater demister, washer/wipers, horn, doors, locks, hinges, window operation, warning lights, and gauges, dash, and all other lights.
Exterior: rust, body repairs, glass/mirrors, sunroof, aerial, convertible (if applicable), frames and members, underbody parts, front suspension, rear suspension, steering components, auto/manual transmission, exhaust, differential, and drive shafts.
Engine Bay: engine noise, fluid level, fluid leaks, mountings, hoses/pipes, water pump/fan, ignition system, fuel system, battery, radiator/cap, drive belt/pulleys, brake booster, and master cylinder/ABS.
Tyres, Wheels, and Brakes: tyres, wheel rims, spare tyre/rim, brake hose calipers/pipes, brake pads, brake discs, brake linings, wheel cylinders, brakes and drums, park brake, and wheel bearings.
Road Test: ease of starting idle, engine noise, engine performance, exhaust smoke/emissions, gearbox auto/manual, differential, steering/suspension, brake operation, speedo, cruise control, 4WD (if applicable), camshaft/drive belt, and owner’s manual.
The inspection of any vehicle undertaken by BRS AUTOS Inspect is visual, audio (for abnormal noise) only; no removal of parts or components is undertaken during the inspection process.
4. What is not checked in the inspection?
Brake function and lining material, brake drums, limited to what is immediately visible
Evidence of brake fluid contamination/hydraulic fluid
Anti-lock braking system (ABS) mechanics
Meters indicating oil and fuel consumption or the degree of oil and fuel consumption
Reason for oil leaks
Oil pump strainer to assess sludge build-up
Vehicle electrics and electronics
Engine cylinder compression
Body water leaks or reason for leaks
Odometer and camshaft belt, drive belt and timing belt;
Estimated expiry of the exhaust system, clutch, dual mass flywheels
Standard to which repairs or service history have been completed
The functionality of audio-visual or entertainment system including CD, Cassette, TV, DVD, iPod connectivity, sensors, alarm/security devices, satellite navigation systems/GPS
Degree of gas emissions
Additional accessories included as a result of the owner’s modifications
Mechanical switching of wipers and lights
Air conditioning efficiency
Status of habitation areas of motor homes or caravans
Vehicle’s computer systems, such as trip meter computers, cruise control, and any other computer systems
5. Does BRS AUTOS Inspector go to the vehicle owner’s house to conduct the inspection?
Yes, BRS AUTOS Inspector is a mobile inspection service. Inspectors will conduct the inspection at a home, workplace, or car dealership. When booking the inspection you’ll need to specify the vehicle location, by submitting this location you confirm that the vehicle owner has consented to you providing their details to BRS AUTOS Inspect for the purposes of being contacted by an inspector to conduct a vehicle inspection of their vehicle.
6. Do I need to be at the inspection?
It is not necessary for you to be present during the inspection; however, you are welcome to attend.
7. Once I book the inspection online, how quickly is the inspection complete?
The inspection is aimed to be completed as soon as possible of the booking; however, this is subject to change depending on the location of the vehicle and the vehicle owner’s availability.
8. What qualifications do BRS AUTOS Inspect mechanics have?
All inspectors are fully qualified mechanics with specialist experience conducting vehicle inspections.