Used CarsPurchasing a new-to-you vehicle can be exciting and stressful.  When an excited buyer thinks they’ve found “the one” it is natural to want to close the sale as soon as possible. Unfortunately sometimes our excitement has us overlooking safety, mechanical, and cosmetic issues.  One of the best ways to make sure you’re not rushing into a bad purchase or overlooking potential issues is to have a Pre-Purchase Inspection.

What is a pre-purchase inspection?

A pre-purchase inspection (PPI) is a detailed assessment by a qualified individual to determine the cosmetic, mechanical, and safety condition of a vehicle before completing the purchase. Most pre-purchase inspections are done by an automotive technician who is familiar with any recalls, nuances, or unique features the specific year, make and model may have.  The intent of the PPI is to uncover existing conditions or to reveal maintenance shortcomings that may become potential safety or financial issues for the buyer in the future.

When should I get a PPI?

A pre-purchase inspection is highly recommended when purchasing a vehicle with or without a warranty. If there is a warranty some repairs may be covered but regular maintenance services are generally not covered. If service records are not available a PPI can help you determine if regular services have been done. Also, depending on your lifestyle the monetary cost of repairs may not be the only concern. A warranty generally won’t cover your time to take your car to and from the shop and the inconveniences of being without your vehicle.

When there is no warranty, the buyer is immediately assuming all the risk in the event of a breakdown or major mechanical issue. For this reason, a qualified PPI makes financial sense.

Where can I get a PPI?

A pre-purchase inspection can be done by any competent mechanic or automotive technician who understands the vehicle you are purchasing. Euro Tech Colorado is an excellent resources for a thorough PPI, in the Denver area.

Sometimes the seller will offer you a Carfax report, this can be virtually useless. Not every shop submits information to Carfax therefore big issues like repairs and collisions can be missed.  However, if a seller offers their service records these can be quite helpful so always ask if you can show them to your PPI technician.

If purchasing from a dealer or lot that has done their own inspection always make sure you can go get your own. While they often do an okay job they’re not  done by someone working for your best interest but rather the dealer’s.

What should be inspected?

Unfortunately, there isn’t an industry-wide accepted standard for a PPI.  A basic inspection will be mostly visual, which includes putting the car on a hydraulic lift and checking for leaks or broken components. A more involved inspection will include a detailed road test where components such as steering and brakes can be assessed.

The pre-purchase inspection is usually completed before the sale; however, in some negotiations, the sale is contingent on the completion of a satisfactory PPI. A clean report is an excellent sales tool, while a questionable PPI can end the deal. To be fair to both parties, both the buyer and the seller should agree on the terms of the PPI before the inspection takes place.

If you’re ready to buy a new-to-you car a Pre Purchase Inspection can be a huge money saver in the long run.  At Euro Tech Colorado we provide the PPI for $125 and specialize in SAAB, Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, and MINI Cooper. Just call 303.238.7222 to make your appointment.