Are you looking to buy your first car or something that will replace your old and outdated one? Buying a brand new vehicle may seem like the best option, but these usually come with a hefty price tag. This means that buying a used car is the only acceptable option for many drivers. However, a pre-owned vehicle does not have to be a bad thing, as there are many good examples available on the market. Choose wisely, and you may get an excellent car while paying only a fraction of a price. In this article, we will explain what to look for when buying a secondhand vehicle.

Why is important to check the car before buying?

Crashes, blown engines and broken suspensions are just some things that may happen to a car during their lifetime. When buying a used vehicle, it is always a good idea to perform an in-depth inspection. This could save you from expensive repairs in the future by revealing any hidden issues or potential failure points. While in theory you could do this by yourself, things are not that simple in real life. Even if you have the knowledge and experience, securing access to specialized tools and a car lift might be tricky. With that in mind, paying somebody else to do all this instead of you is a better option.

What is a pre-purchase inspections important?

Whether buying in person or online, you should have an independent third party to perform a pre-purchase inspection. This can be a local dealership or a reputable independent workshop, as they have needed tools and expertise. Besides discovering potential issues, these places can also give you an estimate on how much the repair will cost. Another solution choosing one of inspection companies, which are specialized in performing pre-purchase inspections. In most cases, this will be an independent mechanic that arrives at the seller's location and checks the car. Although these traveling inspectors usually can’t offer dealership-level tests, they are a great choice if you are buying a car online.

How much does the pre-purchase inspection cost?

Just like with many other services, prices for pre-purchase inspections can differ depending on the location and selected workshop. However, you may expect to see anything between $100 and $200 when going to a local dealership or garage. Inspection companies and individual mechanics that go on site may charge even more, because of the travel expenses involved. However, selecting a person or shop that will do a thorough job is more important than the price itself.

What should the pre-purchase inspection include?

A proper pre-purchase inspection comprises several stages and starts by checking vehicles’ overall condition and service history. The next step involves examining both condition and operation of the engine, drivetrain and all vehicle equipment. A short test drive also gives a valuable insight, as it may reveal any issues with the suspension or brakes. In the end, a well-trained eye will spot hidden issues like corrosion or frame damage.


While there are flawless examples available on the market, most used cars have one or more issues. A detailed pre-purchase inspection will reveal them and help you decide either to walk away or negotiate a lower price. At FixMyCar, you will find reliable and trustworthy technicians who will do this important task for you.