Everything You Need to Know About Pre-purchase Car Inspection
Are you excited about bringing home your first car? Then it’s likely that you already have a favorite model in mind. But have you done your homework properly to be certain that it’s worth the money you are paying? Did you look into all those details that will affect the car’s lifespan and your standard of living? This is exactly what pre-purchase car inspection is. It is of utmost significance and here’s all you should know about it.
Used cars are bought widely around the globe. In 2021, the number of second-hand vehicles sold in the United States was 43.1 million. The stats reflect that more than 79% of American citizens purchase used cars. So, the market for second-hand vehicles in the US is huge. Buying a used car in good condition is a cost-effective solution as well. However, a detailed assessment is compulsory to confirm you are spending your money on a healthy car. Only a qualified mechanic can do it correctly and save you from making additional expenses on unseen problems.
What is pre-purchase inspection and why is it necessary?
Buying a car is a big investment. Imagine spending a fortune on a car and then exhausting your savings to repair and maintain the newly bought car. Which car owner would like to go through such hassles? But that’s exactly what might happen if you buy something in hurry without any inspection.
Pre-purchase car inspection means examining the functioning of all parts and the exterior body of a car before buying it. This process is mandatory whether you are purchasing a used car or a new one. It is of more significance if the vehicle is second-hand because it reveals its drawbacks and flaws, thus letting you know it won’t be a good purchase. So, a pre-purchase examination assists you in making a well-informed decision by removing any uncertainty about the car’s condition.
Do you require a professional for a pre-purchase car inspection?
A pre-purchase inspection is something that most people do on their own. That’s because they don’t realize how crucial it is. Your knowledge in this field is limited and you might end up overlooking major red flags. So, in order to ensure you are paying the right amount for the car, you must hire a mechanic or a pre-purchase inspection service provider.
Your checklist for a proper pre-purchase inspection
Before you make the purchase decision, follow this checklist when you are inspecting a car manually:
Look for paint jobs or scratches- The best time for inspecting a car is in broad daylight. Take it out of the garage so that every inch of its exterior is visible. If there is any discrepancy in the paint, it means the previous owner has repainted scratches and scuffs. Some scratches here and there are fine, but they can be indicative of accidents. So, ask for the Registration Certificate to have the surety that the car hasn’t been involved in major accidents and no parts have been replaced.
Inspect the functioning of the electronics- The electrical system of a car is one of the principal components. It includes various elements like the music system, indicators, power windows, foldable mirrors, etc. Take your time to verify that all electrical parts work satisfactorily. And if you like in a place that gets unbearably hot during summer, you absolutely can’t neglect the significance of air conditioning. If the AC isn’t able to give the desired cooling, it will be better to explore other options.
Be careful about battery problems and leakages—How can you make sure there isn’t any wear and tear? After lifting the hood, check near the battery terminal for signs of corrosion. In addition, wait for at least 30 minutes after you are done with the test drive to observe if there are any leakages.
Listen for weird noises while you test drive- You cannot select a car unless you test drive it. When you are in the driver’s seat, the first thing that you need to do is switch off its music system. After that, open the car’s windows and pay attention if there is any kind of sound coming from any part. If there is some noise, it may suggest issues with suspension or some other component.
Test the car’s brakes- If the brakes don’t work immediately, it could lead to being life-threatening for you, people/ animals on the street, and people sitting in the car with you. The easiest way of testing them is by pulling the brakes aggressively. Notice if they are smooth and you must press hard to make the car stop.
Checking the engine is mandatory- The engine must be in perfect condition or else the purchase won’t be cost-effective for you. It should neither misfire nor produce any kind of knocking sound. When you press the peddle, observe if there is any delay in the acceleration. If you spot smoke coming out of the rear of the car, it will be wise to take the advice of a professional on the engine.
Check the car’s odometer reading- Odometer tampering is not an uncommon thing. Car owners often do that to hide the total distance the car has covered. If you think the readings on the odometer don’t match the overall status of the car, you shouldn’t hesitate from giving a call to the service center and asking for details.
Analyze the condition of the tires- Keep in mind that if the tires are in great condition, the threads will be deep. If the rubber is about to go bald, you should use your bargaining skills and bring down the price quoted by the car dealer.
Go through the maintenance history- Regular servicing is compulsory for cars and all other vehicles to extend their life. Many car owners often ignore it. So, you have to get the service book of the car from its owner. It will have all details about its maintenance history. It is like the biography that will reveal how the car has been pampered over the years.
Avail the main legal documents- The legal documents are useful in verifying the car’s ownership. Once you are satisfied with the inspection, it is time to proceed with the purchase. For a legal transaction, the owner will transfer the following documents to your name:
Insurance papers- It is essential to get the car insured under your name. The insurance must be valid for some time so that the transition is smooth.
Registration certificate- The owner has the original RC which will be in your name when you become the owner. This will be the proof that the car belongs to you now.
Invoice of the original purchase- The invoice of the first-time purchase of the vehicle by the former owner is a document you should have in your possession.
No objection certificate- If the prior owner had bought the car on loan and has repaid the amount to the bank, he will have a NOC. Don’t trust the owner’s words unless you see the Loan Repayment Statement or the NOC.
How to opt for pre-purchase inspection services?
If the long checklist appears tedious to you, it is quite natural. Even car enthusiasts can be unaware of all types of problems that hamper diverse car components. So, what you can do is let the professionals do their jobs. There are two ways in which you can proceed with it:
You can request an independent mechanic to accompany you to the location where the owner has kept the car. For a mechanic to tell you about the shortcomings, first you will have to look for an accomplished mechanic in your area. You need to check the person’s credentials to know he is adept at the task.
You can finish the pre-purchase process from the comforts of your home by assigning the job to a well-known agency. They will simplify things for you, and you can connect with them online.
Facilities you can enjoy after partnering with a pre-purchase evaluation service company
A thorough inspection of the car you have chosen
A comprehensive report mentioning the car’s condition elaborately
An accurate estimate of the current fair price of the vehicle based on its present condition
Complete assistance to help you understand the car’s issues and suggestions on whether you should buy it or look for another one
At the end of it, you will be able to make a confident choice and you also won’t have to regret it later. Note that before any kind of pre-purchase inspection, you should take the permission of the car’s original owner.
In conclusion, just like any other major investment, it is better to be cautious than be regretful after buying a car. It is a vital step that you can’t afford to skip. It also makes sense to avoid doing it yourself and depending on an experienced person. In case you require pre-purchase inspection services, you will easily find trained professionals in any city.
Daniel “Dan” Jendrowski
Certified Public Auto Appraiser Diminish Value Experts B.C.A.A. & I.A.C.P.
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