A pre-purchase vehicle inspection is a great way to make sure you have peace of mind before you buy your next car. However, not all inspection companies can inspect imported vehicles – so where do you turn if your car started life overseas?
Here, we’ll explain what happens if you’re buying an imported vehicle and hope to have an inspection carried out.
Can Car.co.uk inspect imported vehicles?
Although many imported vehicles are different to cars intended for the UK market, we can still provide a pre-purchase inspection and the peace of mind that goes along with that.
We simply ask that you let us know the car is imported when you book your inspection. By doing so, you give our independent inspector the noticed needed to research the vehicle and prepare the inspection accordingly. This might seem unnecessary – but there can be a number of significant differences between cars sold in different countries, so it’s vital we have this information.
Are imported vehicles different to UK vehicles?
At first glance, a car intended for a different country might look very similar to one intended for the UK – but when you dig a little deeper, there can be big differences.
For example, a left-hand drive car doesn’t simply have the steering wheel on the other side. The alignment of the headlights will be different, the layout of the engine and transmission will often be different – as will the configuration of many electrical components in the car.
As well as these layout changes, there sometimes different laws that apply to cars in other countries. Because of this, a car that would pass emissions tests in its home country may not meet UK standards. There are also countries that do not require a vehicle to have rear fog lights – another legal requirement for cars in the UK, and a failed MOT if the car does not have one fitted.
Inspecting a non-UK vehicle
Since many of the fine details relating to an imported car might be different to a UK vehicle, the inspector that provides the report will need to know in advance. This way, they will have time to check for any differences they should be aware of.
Don’t worry though; you’ll be able to let us know if the vehicle is imported when you make your booking.
Is it safe to buy an imported vehicle?
There are different types of imported vehicle – and deciding whether or not an import is right for you will probably require a little research.
You’re likely to have little or no trouble with a ‘parallel import’ – a car that’s been bought in the European Union then brought to the UK. These vehicles are subject to the same standards and testing as our own and will be mechanically identical, even if the trim level is slightly different.
On the other hand, ‘grey imports’ are slightly different. Grey imports are vehicles that generally come from Japan and often represent large savings over UK cars. These cars are subject to different standards – and sometimes have different features compared to cars intended for Europe. For instance, their heating/cooling systems might be designed for different climates – and you may find the vehicle’s odometer registers kilometres rather than miles. It can also be difficult getting accurate details relating to the car’s history too.
That said, our expert inspectors have the skill to identify problems in a huge range of cars – no matter where they started their road-going life. If you want peace of mind relating to any vehicle, a Car.co.uk pre-purchase inspection will provide exactly that.