You’ve probably heard horror stories about buying pre-owned vehicles. Outstanding finance, engine problems, poorly carried out repairs – and so on.
While many cars have been well looked after and maintained, there is a surprising number that have a hidden history. The problem is, unless you’ve got a well-trained eye, these issues can be difficult to spot.
A vehicle inspection report gives you a motor industry professional’s view of the car you’re thinking about buying. Here, we’ll look at exactly what you’ll see if you book an inspection.
What does an inspection report include?
When you book a pre-purchase vehicle inspection, an independent motor industry professional will arrange to visit the car you’re thinking about buying. When they do, they’ll carry out a thorough examination of the car. Depending on the level of inspection you choose, this will cover either 226 or 318 different factors – from mechanical and electrical parts to a history check and outstanding finance report.
In some cases, people expect an inspection to either ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ a car – but this isn’t the case. Where an MOT will give you a snapshot of the car’s health before giving you a pass or fail, an inspection goes much deeper, providing more information, so you can make a choice about the vehicle.
You’ll receive a copy of the report – and it’s broken down into different sections. For instance, there are individual sections that cover mechanical parts of the car, including an engine report, exhaust report, suspension report – etc. There are also sections which cover cosmetics, including an interior report, exterior report, and damage report.
Your report has 26 different sections in total, each giving you vital information about the car and its history. Within these sections, the different checks are given a traffic-light style mark:
- Green: OK
- Amber: Warning
- Red: Danger
This handy way of marking different sections means you can get a great idea of the car’s condition without needing detailed knowledge about car maintenance. What’s more, the inspector will always include photos, so you’ll have all the information you need to decide if the car’s going to be right for you.
Will the inspection tell me whether or not to buy the car?
We’re often asked if an inspector will give you a thumbs up or thumbs down about a specific car – but inspections aren’t designed to do that.
Everybody has a slightly different requirement of their next car. For example, if you’d like a pristine vehicle with no issues and immaculate bodywork, you might only buy the car if every checkbox is marked as green. On the other hand, there are lots of people who would be perfectly happy with some cosmetic issues, as long as the car was mechanically sound – and for these people, a few amber alerts might be okay.
There are also people who have lots of mechanical knowledge and skill who would buy a car with a damaged or non-running engine, damaged gearbox, or even missing parts – especially if they got it for a great price. For most people, they would want to avoid a car like this at all costs, but for others, this kind of vehicle would be perfect.
On this basis, you can probably see that a thumbs up for one person would be a definite thumbs down for another. Since everyone’s ideal car is slightly different, an inspection is designed to give you the information you need to decide for yourself.