Why is a Pre-Purchase Inspection so Important?


When people turn up to have a look at a potential vehicle purchase, the seller will have normally washed and polished the car, so it presents well to the potential buyer. There is nothing wrong with this of course however looks aren’t everything, and you need to look under the bonnet and underneath the car to see what is really going on.

Oil Leaks, suspension leaks and torn boots are things that the average person would not be aware of when looking at a car. These areas require an experienced technician to complete a pre-purchase inspection and document all the faults. Once they are listed and photographed our experience team can give you estimates of the repairs to bring the vehicle up to a suitable and safe standard.

“Buyer beware” as the seller will do their best to hide as many leaks and issues as they can. Our technicians are always on the lookout for a cover up and take their time during the pre-purchase inspection to uncover hidden faults. Oil stains indicate a leak was there at some time and running the car should apply pressure to the leaking area,exposing the leak once again. If simply running the car does not show any signs, then the car will be taken for an extended test drive and rechecked.

If the seller is saying that there were oil leaks, but they have all been fixed, then during the pre-purchase inspection the technician will be on the lookout for new seals and gaskets, confirming the seller’s story is correct.

Below are some recent photos taken by us during a pre-purchase inspection.

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Evidence of oil leaking down the bottom of the engine which would require investigation however this is a major leak and would need the engine to be removed to fix or at least stripped right down to replace leaking gaskets. Cost would be in excess of $2000.

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You can see by the new oil filter, that the seller has had the car recently serviced or at least has had the oil and oil filter changed. The issue however is that it quickly showed the fresh oil pouring from the oil leaks once driven during the pre-purchase inspection test drive.

Whilst sellers try to hide things from potential buyers, they are not expecting an experienced mechanic doing a pre-purchase inspection to investigate to this length.

Major Oil Leaks costing $000’s to fix

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Some people just can’t hide the obvious. The oil leak was so bad that there was no hiding it from a pre-purchase inspection. This was a severe engine and gearbox leak that would cost $3,000 plus to fix, depending on what was uncovered during the repair.

Torn Boot and major oil Leaks

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This is a well warn bush and the areas shown should be a fat black rubber which cushion components preventing metal on metal wear.
Bushes being part of suspension components also combine with other suspension parts cushioning the ride of the car. If you hear metal on metal when driving, nine times out of ten it is a bush or bushes that need replacing. Depending on the bush these can cost thousands $$$$ to replace.


Major Oil and Suspension leak


The oil leaks were so bad here that the engine will need to be clean to ascertain the origin of all the leaks and what is required to fix them. The oil leaks have been occurring for some time given the thickness of the oil caked on the car.


The above is a suspension strut that has been leaking for some time. Struts act to keep tyres & Wheels on the road and stop wheel and tyre bounce. This strut would not be performing at all and will require replacement. This is a medium repair but will still cost up to $1000 depending on the vehicle, but importantly is a safety issue whilst driving and particularly when braking.







Major oil leaks from the bottom of the engine which may involve transmission fluid.
The engine needs to be completely cleaned to ascertain the extent of the leaks.

Poor Repairs and Leaking Gasket



A sign the gearbox has been removed or the seal between the gearbox and engine has been repaired.
You can see that there are leaks for pipes above the gearbox causing corrosion around the seal at the top and bottom of the gearbox.

This will require the gearbox to be removed and refitted however removing the gearbox could expose other issues that will require repair.
$$$$$ a major repair.

Sagging Roof Linings

You may see this as minor issue however roof linings that are sagging like the one above will not pass a safety certificate inspection. So, if you purchase a vehicle that looks like this, you will not be able to register it until the roof lining is repaired properly and not tact into place.

The above examples are typical of the day to day vehicle we are presented to conduct pre-purchase inspections on. I hope I have provided enough examples for people to understand the need to have professional, experienced inspectors to look at vehicles they are interested in buying.

Today we had a young lady have us conduct two pre-purchase inspections in a row. Whilst the first vehicle was ok for her needs, the price being asked was above market value which was advised by experienced inspector. She decided to go back to the first vehicle and negotiate the price which saved her over $1500.

Don’t try to save money by not having a pre-purchase inspection done on your potential next car. Spend a small amount of money and make sure what you are buying will not be a lemon and cost $000” s of dollars causing you weeks or months of grief.


Happy & Safe Driving!

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