Is A Pre-Purchase Inspection Worth It When Buying a Used Car? Expert Says Yes!

Dear Mike,

I’ve been searching for a used car to purchase and I’ve heard mixed opinions about whether or not a pre-purchase inspection is necessary. Some people say it’s a waste of money while others swear by it. What’s your take on this? Is it worth getting a pre-purchase inspection on a used vehicle? I want to make sure I’m making the right decision, especially since it’s a big investment for me.


Dear Jules,

Thanks for reaching out to me for advice on whether or not to get a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) before buying a used car. I’m glad you’re taking the time to consider this important step, and I’m here to tell you that it’s definitely worth the investment.

Let’s be honest, buying a used car can be stressful and overwhelming, especially when you have your heart set on a certain make or model. You’ve spent hours scrolling through classified ads searching for the perfect vehicle, and when you finally find it, you might be tempted to rush into the purchase without a second thought. However, skipping a PPI can lead to a whole host of problems down the road, which could end up costing you even more money in repairs.

What exactly is a PPI, you might ask? In a nutshell, it’s an inspection performed by a licensed mechanic or auto technician who will give the vehicle a thorough once-over to determine its cosmetic, mechanical and safety condition. They’ll check for any existing issues and highlight potential areas of concern that could arise in the future. By doing so, you’ll gain valuable insight into the vehicle’s overall health and be better informed to make your purchasing decision.

Of course, not all PPIs are created equal. Some basic inspections are largely visual, which can miss hidden issues that a more detailed inspection would catch. For example, a mechanic should check under the hood and lift the car up on a lift to check for rusted or broken components, as well as leaks. They should also take the vehicle for a test drive to assess its steering, braking and listen out for any odd sounds. By opting for a more comprehensive inspection, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the vehicle’s condition and potentially save yourself from future headaches.

But what happens if the inspection turns up some concerns? Well, it’s up to you to decide if the vehicle is still worth purchasing, based on the severity of any issues found. If you do decide to proceed with the purchase, you can use the information you’ve gathered from the PPI as leverage to renegotiate the price. Alternatively, if there are too many major issues or you simply don’t feel comfortable with the purchase, it’s better to back out and continue your search for a better fit.

In conclusion, Jules, a pre-purchase inspection is a smart investment when buying a used vehicle. By gathering information on a car’s condition, you’ll avoid any surprises down the road and have a better sense of whether it’s the right fit for you. Plus, if you’re anything like me, you might enjoy feeling like a detective as you uncover any hidden problems. So go ahead, book that PPI and feel confident in your used car purchase!

Best regards,
Mike Urban