Everything You Need to Know About a Pre-Purchase Vehicle Inspection

Before you buy a used vehicle, it’s essential to have it inspected by a third-party mechanic or inspection service. This pre-purchase inspection will show you whether the car or truck is worth the asking price and if any potential issues could make the purchase unwise. This guide will explain what a mechanic will typically check during the inspection so that you can ensure the inspection you receive is what you pay for.

Exterior Inspection

The exterior of a car is the first thing a mechanic will check during a pre-purchase inspection. They will look for dents, scratches, rust, and any other damage to the vehicle’s body. They also check for rust on the undercarriage or within the wheel wells. If you notice anything unusual on your ride before heading in for an inspection, it’s worth mentioning it to your mechanic so that they can take a closer look and diagnose the problem.

Engine and Transmission

An auto technician will check the engine and transmission of a car during a pre-purchase inspection. They will also look at the fluid levels and condition of the vehicle to ensure it’s in good condition. The auto technician may recommend an oil change before purchase if the oil level is low or there are any signs of leakage. Finally, they will inspect the engine and transmission to ensure they work properly without any issues.

Vehicle Interior

A mechanic will inspect the interior of the vehicle during a pre-purchase inspection. The first thing they will look at is the seats, which should be in good condition and free of rips, stains, or tears. Next, they will check for fluids on the floor mats and carpeting. If there are any fluids present, this may indicate that there are leaks in the vehicle’s cooling system or transmission fluid pan. Also, they should check to ensure all electronic components work, including radio, A/C and heater, power windows, seats, etc.


Inspecting the tires is an essential part of the pre-purchase vehicle inspection. An auto technician will check the tire pressure and tread wear, which can give insight into how well the vehicle has been maintained by its previous owner. Signs of uneven wear may indicate other issues, which your mechanic will also check.

Steering and Suspension Components

Finally, the technician will check the steering and suspension components during a pre-purchase vehicle inspection. Checking for wear or damage in these areas can help determine whether or not the vehicle is mechanically sound and safe to drive. The mechanic may also look for wear on such things as ball joints, bushings, and tie rods to see if they are getting close to their life expectancy or need replacement soon.

A thorough pre-purchase inspection is important, especially when the vehicle you are considering does not have a warranty. Contact your trusted mechanic to get an inspection before you purchase your next pre-owned vehicle.

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