Frequently Asked Questions About Vehicle Inspections

A pre-purchase car inspection provides you with a professional evaluation of any used car. Inexperienced eyes might miss important defects. Plus, vehicles located far away can be evaluated for you. A third party inspection also removes any emotional bias. Read more…
Legitimate manufacturer dealerships adhere to a specific process to market and sell vehicles as Certified Pre-Owned (CPO). The used car must meet certain age and mileage limits, and it must pass a thorough inspection. The vehicle also gets assigned an extended warranty. Read more…
When buying a used car, make sure you check panel, fender and door lines for evenness. When you inspect the interior, take note of any moldy smell that may mean water damage. If the oil shows grit, water, or foam, the engine block might be cracked. Read more…
Used car inspections reveal the physical condition of any used car. A vehicle inspection specialist checks the car and sends you a report by email. Results are typically available within days. A pre-purchase car inspection takes a lot of guesswork out of used car evaluation. Read more…
Buying a used car online can save you a lot of money, but beware of scams. Steer clear of sites asking for up-front or pre-purchase payments. If you make a payment online, look for a secure payment icon in your browser address bar. Newer browsers denote a secure site by highlighting part of the address bar information in green. Read more…
Poor maintenance and missing records hurt used car value. High mileage also drops the price. Aftermarket additions (spoilers, tinted windows, etc.) can also decrease used car sales value. Finally, dents, scratches, and bad smells make it harder to sell a used car. Read more…
A used car inspection includes a full visual evaluation of the vehicle’s interior and exterior. If possible, test drive results should be included. Don’t forget to gather car background data (mileage, etc.). A professional vehicle inspection will provide you with up to 155 inspection points summarized in a detailed report. Read more…
Curbstoners are unlicensed car dealers that sell repaired junk cars. Curbstoners purchase a legal title reassignment, but the acquisition is illegitimate. Odometer rollback is also a common curbstoner tactic. Finally, the curbstoner presents the car as being for sale by a private owner.  Read more…
Besides the obvious, try test driving with the windows down to hear the engine better. Also look under rugs and inspect the paint job in good light. Open every door, push every button, and check fluid levels. Finally, verify the odometer reading with oil change or maintenance records. Read more…
A good pre-purchase auto inspection should start with all pertinent background data. Every area of inspection, such as a road test, should include detailed comments. A good inspection should also include photos of any defects. Read more…
Used car price negotiation starts with gathering average price data on the model you want. Subtract 10 percent from this average to give you a starting point for negotiation. Next, set the top price you are willing to pay. Don’t be afraid to walk away if the price isn’t right. Read more…
Auto inspection requirements vary by state, and most require a fee. Some states mandate an emissions evaluation. Safety inspections are also required by some states, but the type of inspection varies. Depending on where you reside, your vehicle may even be exempt from inspection. Read more…
A pre-purchase car inspection helps assure you that a used car is represented accurately. The inspection verifies mileage, age, and reveals missing parts. Leaks, dents or scratches are also reported. A comprehensive pre-purchase inspection will include up to 155 points. Read more…
Vehicle inspections detect water or weather damage in various ways. For example, water lines may show up along the upholstery. Also, water tends to hide in places such as the trunk or between seat cushions. The car title may even indicate past flood or other damage. Read more…
A simple way to understand depreciation is that a used car is less expensive than the same model new. By knowing the depreciation rate, you can sell higher or buy lower. In both cases, the vehicle quality can be the key factor for good deals. Read more…
Car inspections typically fall under one of two categories. State mandated vehicle inspections can be done at any qualified inspection center or authorized garage. Pre-purchase car inspections are performed wherever a used car is located, even at your home. Read more…
In some cases, the vehicle title will indicate if there has been flood damage. Check for mold and odors in the interior, and don’t forget the trunk. Probe deep between seat cushions and lift up carpets if possible. Look for dried water lines along the doors, seats, and interior ceiling. Read more…
When inspecting a used car, first ask for documents and maintenance records. Read the title carefully as it may indicate past damage history. Make sure you inspect the car in good lighting. Use your hands as much as possible to test all parts, handles, and controls. Read more…
New vehicle quality ratings may or may not carry over to the used car. For example, the Ford Focus ST retains an excellent “A” rating for new and used. The Ford Edge enters with a “C” and stays there. The Hyundai Sonata starts with an “A” then drops to a “B” as a used car. Read more…
For younger drivers, newer models are generally better as they are less likely to break down. Sedans are the safer style since they don’t roll over as easily. Also, choose cars with electronic stability control (ESC), and avoid cars with an interactive screen to limit distractions. Read more…
Many used car dealers put a high price on a vehicle then gradually drop the price. Used car prices typically decrease at least once per month. Price drops increase in frequency between July and October. Dealers also tend to drop prices more as the summer unfolds. Read more…
Today’s technology allows you to buy a used car with a smartphone app. Some vendors are seeing over $20 million in sales. This method of buying appears to be safe and very convenient. You can even set up financing with the app. Some of these platforms have a “no-haggle” policy. Read more…
True virtual test drives, where video technology lets you “drive” a car for sale, has yet to be offered. You’ll more likely encounter something like an infomercial or video game type app. As technology advances, we might see true virtual test drives in the future. Read more…
Commuter car quality is based on reliability, price, performance, gas mileage, and commuter type. The best urban commuter is the Nissan Leaf. The Ford Focus is great in the country. The Lexus RX 450h is the pick for shared rides. And for bad weather, the BMW X1 xDrive works superbly. Read more…
When you buy used, you might actually gain a big advantage. Used car buyers can often avoid inconvenient or dangerous recalls. Buying used also saves you money. But when you buy new, you are sure the vehicle has not been damaged or abused. Read more…
Look for rust along the frame rails which run directly under the doors. You should also check for rust inside the wheel wells and along the exhaust system. Irregular lines in the paint often mean the car was damaged and repainted. Look along the body contour for any bumps or waves. Read more…
You can get a good quality used car for under $10,000. The best bets are the 2003 Acura TL, 2010 Hyundai Accent, 2004 Mazda MAZDA3, 2004 Chevrolet Impala, 2004 Ford Mustang GT, 2005 Volvo S60, and 2006 Toyota Prius. Read more…
As soon as a new car is driven off the lot, it can lose up to 10 percent in value. And, luxury cars and fleet vehicles depreciate more than other models. This is good news for the buyer. The key is to locate a car that has depreciated significantly but is still in good condition. Read more…
Ridesharing is a big reason for some amazing driver trends.The number of licensed drivers under the age of 18 has decreased from 43 percent to 28 percent over the last ten years. Additionally, car ownership for 18 to 30 year olds has fallen by 30 percent. Read more…
Ridesharing is a big reason for some amazing driver trends.The number of licensed drivers under the age of 18 has decreased from 43 percent to 28 percent over the last ten years. Additionally, car ownership for 18 to 30 year olds has fallen by 30 percent. Read more…
Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Hawaii and many other states don’t require a state vehicle inspection. Some say inspections aren’t worth the cost. Others claim that inspections save lives. Also, not every state requires emissions inspections. The jury is still out on this topic. Read more…