Finding and buying a used car isn’t about luck. It’s about planning and strategy and doing your research. Part of this strategy is getting an inspection on the car.
A car inspection not only helps you determine whether or not a car is safe and reliable but it can also flag potential problems that may be expensive to fix in the future. This can go a long way in deciding whether or not the price the seller is asking is fair.
An inspection also helps your car insurance company. While the mechanic’s report won’t indicate the value of the car it will highlight the mechanical condition and determine its roadworthiness. This is very important to your car insurance company since a vehicle that is unfit for the road could mean an increased risk of liability exposures. If there are any mechanical issues on the report you will have to get them fixed before your insurance company will provide coverage for your car.
To get an inspection take the car to a licensed mechanic. Typically this inspection lasts at least an hour and costs a few hundred dollars but it could save you thousands in the long run.
If you’re buying the car and the current owner is concerned about leaving the vehicle with you or with the mechanic ask the person to come along to the inspection. If that’s not an option ask to leave something of value. The keys to your current car are a good option but not your driver’s license. You will need your license if you plan on driving the vehicle to the mechanic. By providing collateral you’re able to get an independent assessment of the vehicle and still provide the seller with some peace of mind.
Sadly however many used-car buyers skip a stop to the mechanic only to find out that an inspection report is actually required by their insurance company. It’s a good rule of thumb to assume that all older vehicles and all out-of-province vehicles need an inspection before being properly insured. If in doubt call your independent insurance broker.