Unless you happen to be an automotive expert, purchasing a used vehicle from a private seller has the potential to be a minefield of uncertainty. Unlike buying from the manufacturer or a licensed retailer, it can be a case of buyer beware. Aside from the mandated cooling off period (which varies from state to state), such purchases don't always come with a warranty. This is why a professional pre-purchase inspection can give some much-needed peace of mind. An exhaustive inspection of the vehicle is performed by a qualified professional, and this gives you the necessary information needed to make your final decision. So what are some things to consider when choosing the best pre-purchase inspection service for your needs?
An Expert Eye
The process really just provides an expert eye which can quickly spot flaws and defects that a novice might not. Structural and mechanical issues will quickly be identified, and while these issues might not be a dealbreaker in terms of deciding to proceed with the purchase, you will at least be alerted to the possibility of necessary repairs further down the line. An expert service will also be aware of known flaws with the particular make and model of the vehicle (or any installed components), even if these particular flaws are not yet apparent in the specific vehicle.
It's important to aware of any exclusions from the pre purchase inspection service. It might be that any installed alarm systems, audio visual, or computer equipment are not assessed. While these bells and whistles don't directly impact the vehicle's safety or performance, they might be one of the features that drew you to a specific vehicle in the first place. If so, ensure you've chosen a company that will undertake checks on these particular components.
Will the car be driven during the pre purchase inspection? Some providers won't necessarily start the engine, but this can be an added level of scrutiny as some defects might not become apparent until the engine has been activated and the vehicle is in motion. Ask if the inspector will be taking the vehicle for a test drive as part of the pre purchase assessment.
You should consider a specialist vehicle pre purchase inspection service if your potential purchase falls under any of the following categories. The vehicle could be:
A vintage/antique vehicle.
A prestige vehicle of a type that might be uncommon in Australia.
An electric or hybrid vehicle.
These types of vehicles can require additional checks, and it's important to be confident that your chosen pre purchase inspection service has the experience to assess these vehicles.
A pre purchase inspection can be a vital part of buying a used car, and while it's an additional cost, it's most definitely a worthwhile one.