When it comes to buying a pre-owned vehicle, no one wants to spend more than they have to. With this in mind, you’ll no doubt be keen to know how much a vehicle inspection will cost – and whether or not it’s worth spending your money on one.
Here, we’ll look at the cost of a vehicle report in more detail, and give you all the information you’ll need to decide if having one carried out represents good value for you.
What is a vehicle inspection?
Before you consider prices, it’s useful to get a good idea of what a vehicle inspection involves. After all, you should only spend your money if you think it’s worth having one carried out!
A pre-purchase vehicle inspection is designed to give you a full health-check style report about the car you’re looking at buying. We don’t expect everyone to be experts on the finer mechanical points of a car – but since vehicle repairs can be so expensive, it’s important to make sure you’re not buying a banger.
The trouble is, there are lots of bangers for sale out there.
In fact, the major breakdown organisations here in the UK report that over 50% of vehicles on the road have some kind of hidden history. This secret history of a car can include:
- Mechanical neglect
- Missed services
- Accident damage
- Unpaid finance agreements
- Illegal or unsafe repairs
Since you’re going to rely on your car to keep you and others safe from harm, you don’t want to accidentally find yourself driving a car that’s got hidden problems you didn’t know about.
A pre-purchase inspection is designed to give you all the information you need about a car – even the information that previous owners might not want you to know. The report takes around 3 hours to put together, and when you get it, every important point on the car will be graded. From mechanical and electrical parts – to checks about the vehicle’s history and finance status, everything is covered – so you can decide whether or not the car’s right for you.
Of course, a few warnings about the car might not put you off completely – but it will give you the information you need to bring the price down accordingly.
How much does an inspection cost?
The price of a vehicle inspection depends on the level of check you’d like to have done. A Premium inspection starts at £189 – and a Premium Plus inspection starts at £229.
It’s well worth comparing the two to help you decide which suits you best. With a Premium inspection, you’ll get:
- Up to 226-point check
- General inspection
- Up to 10-mile road test
- Accident damage & previous repair damage checks
- Brake fluid check
- Photographs provided
A Premium Plus inspection offers even more, adding:
- A 318-point check
- A comprehensive physical inspection
- Up to 20-mile road test
- Full vehicle history check
Is it worth having a vehicle inspection carried out?
There are two things to consider when you’re looking at the cost of pre-purchase inspections.
The first is safety. Without a check, can you be absolutely certain the car is going to keep you and other occupants safe in the event of an accident?
The second is the cost of putting right any problems you don’t spot without an inspection. Motor industry studies have identified the 7 most common issues with pre-owned vehicles – along with the cost involved with the repairs needed:
- Gearbox issues: £200-£400.
- Electrical faults: £300.
- Replacement clutch: £450.
- Turbo problems: £400 (£1,000+ if a replacement is needed)
- Malfunctioning brakes: £250
- Faulty alternator: £250-£300
- Cylinder head gasket damage: £450 (£2,500+ if engine components are damaged)
The prices are based on a Ford Focus being repaired at a garage with a labour rate of around £60. These costs are actually quite low – and you could expect to pay significantly more if you’re looking at a more prestigious make or model.
If an inspection finds an issue, you’ve got options. For example, if your report suggests that the car needs new brake pads and discs, you may decide you want to offer a lower price. Then again, you may decide that you simply want to find a car that doesn’t need any work.
With a pre-purchase inspection, you get all the information you need to make an informed decision about the car. Without an inspection, there’s a chance you’ll find a nasty hidden surprise further down the road.