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Pre-purchase vehicle inspection

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We’re certain we provide the best pre-purchase used car inspection service in the UK. Our service leaves no part of the vehicle’s condition or history in doubt.

  • History check
  • Photographs
  • On-site service

How much is a vehicle inspection?

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
  • Theft
  • 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.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

Currently, we can only inspect vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes in gross vehicle weight. The good news is, this covers virtually all standard cars on the road today – even luxury vehicles with large engines.

With Car.co.uk, you don’t need to be present when one of our independent inspectors carries out an inspection on your behalf. Your report will include photos of the car too – so you can be confident you’re getting the full picture, even if you’re miles away.

At Car.co.uk, we do not provide pre-purchase inspections for motorcycles. However, the independent vehicle inspectors we work with can inspect a huge range of vehicles, from cars to motorhomes, and almost everything in-between.

Since the UK weather is so changeable, you’ll be pleased to hear that vehicle inspections can be done in the rain. Extreme weather conditions may require that your inspection is rearranged, but this is very rare.

The cost of a vehicle inspection through Car.co.uk starts at £189. When you consider that around 50% of pre-owned vehicles currently for sale have some undeclared damage or negative history, this is a small price to pay to know you’re buying an honest car.

Vehicle inspections are designed to give you all the information you need to decide whether or not a car is right for you. An independent inspector will check the electrical, mechanical, and cosmetic parts of a vehicle; before providing you with a detailed report on their condition.

A pre-purchase vehicle inspection is a way of checking the overall condition of a car you’re looking at buying. The inspection report that’s produced will help you discover any hidden issues with that car before you part with any money.

At Car.co.uk, our vehicle inspection partner offers inspections throughout mainland UK, and can usually complete your inspection within 2-3 working days.

A pre-purchase vehicle report is based on the expertise and opinion of the inspector at the time the inspection is carried out. Since we cannot control what happens to the vehicle after the report is completed, an inspection does not come with a guarantee.

At Car.co.uk, we can provide pre-purchase inspections for imported vehicles. However, it’s important that you let us know if the vehicle is imported when you book – as this gives our inspector time to prepare accordingly.