You want to get a great deal on a used car? You’re not alone. Over 40 million used cars are sold in a typical year in the United States. This means there are lots of great options out there. However, there are also going to be lots of duds disguised as gems. This is why a used car pre-purchase inspection is important.

What’s Involved in a Used Car Pre-Purchase Inspection?

At its most basic level, a used car pre-purchase inspection is a way for prospective buyers to determine if a vehicle is actually what it appears to be on paper. The only way to do this is by having a qualified, licensed mechanic or professional technician give a top-to-bottom inspection of the vehicle.

There are a variety of things the mechanic will look at when doing the pre-purchase inspection. For starters, you’ll want to check if the car has a vehicle history report. This will alert you as to whether it has been damaged in the past. Having this information will allow for a more thorough investigation of the areas that need the most attention.

You’ll want the mechanic to do a full check of the vehicle’s engine and other systems. While a visual inspection is important, it doesn’t go nearly as deep as having a professional look for highly specific issues. While it might cost you a couple hundred dollars to do a pre-purchase inspection, it’s certainly worth it in the long run.

Vehicles Are a Major Investment

A car is a major investment. When thinking about things you spend a lot of money on, a car is one of the most universal items. Not only are you going to spend a decent amount of money on a vehicle, it’s also potentially going to be something you use every day. For both of these reasons, assessing the quality of the car is paramount to getting the most bang for your buck.

The only way to reduce the risk that you’re not walking into a foolhardy investment is by having an expert evaluate the car. Cars are often going to require financing in order to purchase one. You don’t want to take out a loan on a used car only to have it break down before you’ve paid it off.

You Don’t Know the Full History of a Car

Depending on where you’re looking to purchase a vehicle, it’s likely you’re not going to have knowledge about its full background. Really, unless you’re buying a used car from someone you know directly, there’s always going to be some element of uncertainty. This is yet another reason a pre-purchase inspection is important.

When shopping for used cars online, it can save a lot of time when you’re provided with some verified information about a car’s past. Many of the best car buying sites offer consumers car history information, either with the listing or by request. While this is incredibly helpful for narrowing your search down, it’s not a substitute for an actual pre-purchase inspection, as these aren’t guaranteed to be accurate.

Damage Can Be Hidden to the Naked, Untrained Eye

You might think it will be obvious if there’s something seriously wrong with a used car. But this isn’t always the case, especially if you’re only taking the vehicle on a short test drive. There are certain kinds of damage that can diminish the lifetime of the vehicle, but can be hidden to those who don’t know the signs.

There are many things that you can look out for to immediately tell if a used car isn’t as it should be. For water damage, dampness and dirt under the mats is one telltale sign. But someone skilled in hiding the issues with cars can mask these for long enough that they won’t appear to you. Having an expert look at the car before you buy it is simply the best way to avoid

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