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What Is a Pre-Purchase Inspection?

What Is a Pre-Purchase Inspection?

Purchasing a used vehicle can prove to be quite tricky. When buyers get emotionally caught up in the purchase process of the vehicle often miss mechanical, safety, and cosmetic issues when they take the vehicle for a test drive or during visual inspections. That’s why many buyers decide to opt for a pre-purchase inspection (PPI), conducted before the completion of the sale.

What Is a Pre-Purchase Inspection?

A pre-purchase inspection is a detailed assessment by a qualified technician to determine the mechanical, cosmetic, and safety condition of a vehicle before the purchase is finalized. The pre-purchase inspection intends to locate existing conditions or to discover maintenance issues that may transform into bigger safety or financial problems in the long run.

When Should I Get a Pre-Purchase Inspection?

When you are purchasing a vehicle from another city or when the vehicle has no warranty, it’s highly recommended that you have a pre-purchase inspection performed. When the vehicle is without a warranty, the buyer automatically assumes all the risk in case there’s a breakdown or a severe mechanical issue. That’s why a comprehensive pre-purchase inspection makes financial sense. Purchasing a vehicle from another city is even riskier because the buyer is unable to take a test drive. However, by making just a few calls, here and there, you can arrange a pre-purchase inspection and inform the seller where to drop the vehicle off. The results from the pre-purchase report will provide the buyer with the much-needed peace of mind, during a long-distance transaction.

Where Can I get a Pre-Purchase Inspection?

A pre-purchase inspection can be performed by any skilled and trained automotive technician or mechanic, who knows the specifics of the vehicle you are about to purchase. For a thorough pre-purchase inspection, it’s best to turn to automobile dealerships and independent shops.

What Has to Be Inspected?

Unfortunately for buyers, there is no accepted standard for a pre-purchase inspection in the automotive industry. Generally speaking, a basic inspection includes mostly visual aspects, such as checking for leaks or broken components, once the vehicle is on a hydraulic lift. А detailed inspection includes a thorough road test where components like brakes and steering are assessed. A thorough inspection includes an examination of the engine compression, as well as a computer engine analysis.

How Much It Costs, and Who Pays?

Usually, the buyer is the one who pays for the pre-purchase inspection. A basic pre-purchase inspection can cost somewhere between $100 and $200. During this type of inspection, you can expect a good overall safety and mechanical inspection of the vehicle.


Normally, the pre-purchase inspection is completed before the sale, however, there are situations where the sale is contingent on the completion of a satisfactory pre-purchase inspection. To be as fair and unbiased as possible, both the seller and the buyer should agree on the terms of the pre-purchase inspection before it takes place.

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