Buying a car second-hand is a great way to save money. Brand new vehicles lose value the minute you drive them off the lot. Purchasing a used car circumvents the immediate loss of value but can come with a host of problems. The excitement, concern, and other emotions involved in making a large purchase like a vehicle can make it easy to miss or overlook potential issues during an inspection or test drive. Luckily, you can get help. A pre-purchase inspection (often shortened to PPI) is a service offered by many auto repair shops that can help protect you and ensure you are getting a safe, quality vehicle for your money.
A PPI is a bumper-to-bumper inspection of a vehicle before a sale. The goal of a pre-purchase inspection is to have a third party (not the buyer or the seller) look over and identify any potential mechanical or safety issues the car may have. Pre-purchase inspections should be performed by a qualified mechanic who has extensive knowledge of the brand of vehicle you are shopping for.
Getting a pre-purchase inspection is a good idea any time you are considering a used vehicle. This is particularly true in a private sale on the roadside, off Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist. Private sales do not include a warranty. This means you are responsible for any issues the seller did not disclose at the time of the sale.
Most service and repair shops offer pre-purchase inspections. Any qualified mechanic has the knowledge to perform a PPI. At Lake City Auto Care, we offer pre-purchase inspections to residents of CDA, Hayden, and Rathdrum Idaho. It’s best to have a PPI done by a shop or technician that you know and trust. If the vehicle needs repair, you can get an honest quote from the shop doing the inspection and head back to the seller with even more negotiating power.
Pre-purchase inspections do not have fixed guidelines, so every shop will perform them differently. Oftentimes, the depth of the inspection will correlate with the price. PPIs can range from a visual inspection of the exterior, looking for leaks, damage, and other problems to in-depth diagnostic tests like cylinder compression, brakes, steering, and the engine control unit.
PPI’s usually cost between $100 and $200. More complex vehicles and more in-depth inspections can cost you more. In most situations, the potential buyer pays the price for the pre-purchase inspection. However, as a seller, it can be beneficial to get a pre-purchase inspection performed before you list your vehicle for sale. Having the documentation of the inspection and provide a potential buyer can help build confidence and lead to a sale.
Live in northern Idaho and are looking at a used car? Give Lake City Auto Care a call or schedule an appointment. Our technicians can perform an in-depth pre-purchase inspection to ensure you are making a good purchase.