Why Conduct Pre-Purchase Inspections on used Cars?

Buying a used car is a minefield and selecting the correct make and model that suits your driving needs then sifting through all the cars on offer is stressful at best. There is a two-step fundamental process that everyone must follow, the key one is getting expert advice about your potential purchase by way of a Pre-purchase Inspection.

Having been in the automotive industry for over 30 years I was quite surprised when I moved to Queensland 8 years ago, how many backyard dealers there were operating.

Having operated a vehicle inspection, mechanical and tyre business since moving to Queensland we have helped thousands of people navigate the murky waters that is the used car market.

No matter how many times I talk to people about the importance of a pre-purchase inspection, “some” choose to run the gauntlet and end up in tears. Huge bills can follow an incorrect decision that could easily have been avoided with a pre-purchase inspection. Fortunately for some who have rung me wanting to spoil themselves with a European convertible car for $2-$3,000 I have explained the financial pain a purchase like that can bring.

I have a Safety Certificate Why do I need a Pre-purchase Inspection?

A lot of people have a perception that a safety certificate inspection is some sort of warranty on their second-hand car purchase. Unfortunately, that just is not the truth.

A safety certificate inspection as defined by Queensland Transport is a basic inspection of the safety of the vehicle at the time of inspection.

A Pre-Purchase inspection is a comprehensive inspection and report conducted by experienced mechanics.

Unlike a Safety Certificate with limited access to a used car, a Pre-Purchase Inspection is a probing look at what the past, present and future operation of the vehicle is and will be.


Understanding Used Car Sales Tricks

There has been many occasion we have called the seller to confirm an appointment time for a Pre-Purchase inspection that they have gone to water, made it near impossible to meet up with them and lock their doors when we come knocking.

To avoid wasting your time and money and our time, we always talk our customers through what they should do:

  • View the car themselves.
  • Test drive the car.
  • Ask as many questions as you can.
  • Look for the service history.
  • Conduct an online REV’s check.
  • Inform the seller you would like a mechanic to come and conduct a pre-purchase mechanical check on the vehicle.

If the seller seems legitimate, you stand a higher chance of selecting a good car. The sell is under no obligation to tell you that there is anything wrong with the car, that is where the pre-purchase inspection comes in to test and test the car, looking for those tell tail signs that there is an issue. Pre-purchase inspection mechanics need to be very experienced across a range of vehicles.  Having an experienced mechanic that has worked on similar or the same make or model will quickly go to the root of any common problem.

Shonky car salespeople tend to be lazy and leave signs of prior issues with cars. Pre -purchase inspections are undertaken to expose these. Some of the common thing that are hidden.

  • Oil Leaks.
  • Crash Repairs.
  • Disconnect warning lights.
  • Fresh paint under the car hiding rust.
  • Fault Codes
  • Engine and suspension noise

Under a pre-purchase inspection the car is run for long periods whilst other checks are carried out and then the car is taken for a test drive till the mechanic is happy that all is well.

Pre-Purchase Inspections Save You Money

Whilst the Pre-Purchase is conducted to ensure you know what you a purchasing is in good running order. A pre-purchase Inspection is also there to help you negotiate on the price. If there are a few areas that have been identified as being an issue or will be an issue in the future, most pre-purchase mechanics like us at East Coast Mobile Safety certificates will provide an estimate to fix the issues found during the pre-purchase inspection. You can present the estimates to the sellers as well as the professional Pre-Purchase inspection report and sit down and negotiate.

Beware of Repairable Write Offs

Unique to Queensland is the ability to purchase a written off car, fix it up a re-register it. Firstly I have bought one in the past and I still have it today with no issues. But of course, I worked my way through the above list and did a Pre-purchase inspection on the car and all was good with the exception of a minor internal fabric tear.

With Repairable write offs there are the good and the bad. There are always people around looking for a quick buck and not doing the repairs properly. As I said, I bought one and am very happy but repairable write offs need to be disclosed to you or you need to follow the steps I have listed and the REV’s check will expose any prior damage to the cars. Pre-purchase inspections will look to seek if the repairs were quality or rushed.

Don’t be ripped off by telling you there car has low klms and has hardly been driven, when in fact it was in a major accident and has been freshly painted. Prepurchase Inspections look for overspray signs and fresh paint, which will be investigated further and exposed.

If a seller asks you to meet at certain times in odd locations, they most likely have a mechanical and panel shop or caryard pumping out damaged cars. Don’t be fooled by these people. Don’t believe the story about having to go back overseas and wanting to sell the car cheap, it is all rubbish and don’t be fooled.

    Request A Quote
    Book Now