Is It Worth A Pre Purchase Inspection When Buying A Used Car?

Buying a used car can be a risky business. One way to protect yourself is to have a competent mechanic inspect the car before you buy it. And while this service can be expensive, it’s definitely worth it if it saves you money down the line. But is the cost of a pre purchase inspection worth it?

The list of hidden problems a used car can have is almost endless. And unless you’re a skilled mechanic yourself, it’s very easy to miss the signs of these problems. It takes a trained professional to know what to look for in a used car. And having that professional inspection can make you feel much more confident about making what can be a very large purchase.

Having a prepurchase inspection done on a car you’re thinking of buying is just one way to protect yourself from a bad deal. Before you even think of buying a used car, use our free VIN checker tool to get a full history report on any car you’re looking at. You’ll get to know the service history, registration history, safety recalls, accidents the car has been in, and lots more useful information. Combined with a prepurchase inspection by a qualified professional, this is the best way to ensure you don’t end up buying a car you’ll regret purchasing.





What Is A Prepurchase Inspection?

The clue is in the name. A prepurchase inspection is an inspection you have done on a car before you buy it.

The purpose of a prepurchase inspection is to alert you to any mechanical or safety issues the car may have. Not only will this give you a better sense of what the car is worth, but it can also protect your health and safety by letting you know of any dangerous issues. And it will also let you know of any maintenance or repairs you’ll need to do to the car after you buy it.

For that reason, a prepurchase inspection can often save you money. If it stops you buying a car that was going to cost you more than the inspection would have, you’re still coming out ahead.

In Canada, all vehicles driven on the road have to be insured, and that means they have to have a safety inspection done at some point. The regulations on this vary from one province to the next, but some provinces require a safety inspection to be done when transferring a car from one owner to another. Others only require it when bringing a vehicle in from a different province. Make sure you are up to date on what your province requires.

A prepurchase inspection goes into much more detail than a Provincial safety inspection does. It will not only make sure that the car is safe to drive, but will also look for signs of any issues that may develop in the future.

Who Should Do A Prepurchase Inspection?

Anyone doing a prepurchase inspection needs to have intimate knowledge of cars and their issues. That’s why it’s best to have a qualified and experienced mechanic look over any car you’re thinking of buying.

It helps to have mechanic who is familiar with the specific make and model of the car you’re thinking of buying, because they will know about any likely issues with that specific car. However, any competent mechanic ought to know how to do a prepurchase inspection on any model of car.

The best option is to use a mechanic you know and trust. Word-of-mouth is often the most reliable way to choose a mechanic. If you’re early in the car buying process, ask around your family and friends to see who they use.

Failing that, you can take a car for a prepurchase inspection to any mechanic who offers the service. Most of them do. But be wary of taking it to a mechanic recommended by the person selling you the car. It’s possible that a seller may have a deal worked out with local mechanics to make their cars seem better than they are. Better, wherever possible, to take it to a mechanic who has no relationship at all with the seller of the car so they can give you an unbiased opinion.

cost of pre purchase Inspection

When Should I Get A Prepurchase Inspection?

A prepurchase inspection is almost never a bad idea, but there are certain situations when it becomes essential.

One example is if you’re buying a vehicle that has no warranty. Any issues the car has will be your problem the minute the keys change hands, so it’s a good idea to make sure you won’t be hit with a big bill right away.

Another example is if you’re buying a car in another city or even province. If you can’t take a test drive and check out the car for yourself, it’s absolutely essential that you get a knowledgeable professional to look the car over for you and make sure there are no major cosmetic, mechanical, or structural issues.

Ultimately, getting a car inspected before you buy it is never a bad idea, and the relatively low cost of the inspection can save you a ton of money in the long run. No legitimate seller should have any problem with you getting a car inspected before you buy, so don’t be afraid to make that part of the deal.

What Does A Prepurchase Inspection Include?

Unfortunately, there is no industry standard for what a prepurchase inspection involves. A basic inspection might be as simple as putting the car on a lift and checking underneath for any leaks, structural damage, or broken parts. A more in-depth inspection could involve the mechanic taking the car for a test drive to test brakes, suspension, and other issues in a real-world situation. A truly thorough inspection will also scan the car’s computer to dive into its history and figure out how it has been driven over the course of its lifetime.

The more in-depth inspection, the higher the cost. But at the same time, a thorough inspection will give you more peace of mind when buying a car. For the same reason, using our free VIN checker to get a vehicle history report can alert you to many of the common issues cars face before you even take it to a mechanic.

What is the Cost of a Pre Purchase Inspection?

The cost of a prepurchase car inspection varies from one place to another, and even from one mechanic to another. It also depends on the level of detail you want from your inspection, with a more thorough inspection costing more. For that reason, it’s not always a good idea to go with the cheapest offer, as they may not provide as thorough a service as someone charging more.

As a general rule, you can expect to pay around $150-$250 for a prepurchase inspection. Although that may seem steep, it’s hard to think of anything that can go wrong with the car that wouldn’t cost more than that. If a prepurchase inspection saves you from buying a car with an existing mechanical or safety issue, it’s a very small price to pay for peace of mind.

Why you should get a vehicle pre purchase inspection

Unless you’re a car expert yourself, it’s very hard to know everything about a car just by looking at it. Taking a test drive and using our free VIN checker tool are great ways to make sure a car is right for you, but a prepurchase inspection does even more to protect you from buying a car with problems. Before you take ownership of any used vehicle, it’s always a good idea to have it checked over by a professional first.


Who should pay for a prepurchase inspection?

Usually, it’s the buyer’s responsibility to pay for the cost of a prepurchase inspection. However, a motivated seller might be willing to take the price of the inspection off the car if you choose to buy.

What should I do if the prepurchase inspection finds problems?

It depends what the problem is. If it’s something you can easily fix, you may be willing to go ahead with the purchase and make the necessary repairs yourself. However, if the car requires expensive repairs, you can use this as a negotiating tool with the seller. Try to get them to take the price of any needed repairs off the price of the car so that you don’t end up out of pocket.

In any car buying transaction, your ultimate power comes from your ability to walk away. No matter how good the price or how much you like the car, it isn’t worth risking your safety over. If the car has a major safety issue, the best thing to do is to walk out of the deal.

How much is a car inspection?

The cost of a pre purchase inspection varies according to where you live and how thorough of an inspection you want. In general, a basic visual inspection will cost you around $150, while a more in-depth inspection could cost $250 or more.