We believe everybody should get a pre-purchase inspection when buying a used car. Even with newer, manufacturer-certified used cars.
But many sellers, either private-party or dealers, don’t want you to take their car off-site to a mechanic for an inspection.
So if you can’t take your potential new car to a mechanic, and you’re not comfortable doing a complete inspection yourself, we can help.
We can come to the car (either with or without you) and spend an hour or two giving the car a full inspection, both physical and mechanical. We look for signs of accidents as well as evaluate the vehicle’s overall mechanical condition. If you’re not local we can take photos to identify any damage or conditions that weren’t obvious or disclosed in the ad.
As a used car dealer for the past 9 years, we have inspected hundreds of cars in the field, and are experts at looking past the quick detail job to identify potential expensive repairs or previous accident damage.
Pre-Purchase Inspection in the Portland Metro Area
Professional, comprehensive pre-purchase inspection of a vehicle located in the Portland metro area.
What can be included with a pre-purchase inspection?
Look for signs of accident damage, paint that doesn’t match, non-original body panels, signs of repaint, or badly faded or scratched paint, dings, dents, and rust.
Look for signs of unusual wear and tear. Is the driver seat ripped, worn or sagging? Is there evidence that there was a water leak? Dog or kid damage? Smoke or mildew smells? Holes in the carpet? Are the floor mats, or cargo cover present?
Ideally, start the engine when cold, look for signs of hard starting, and smoke on startup. Look for poor running, smoke, rough idle, and lack of power.
Does the transmission shift properly, clunk when going into gear, or slip? Does the clutch engage properly for a manual transmission, and does it crunch between gears?
Listen for suspension rattles and clunks, and signs of worn shocks, and check if the car pulls or the tires are unevenly worn.
Do the brakes make any noise? Does it pull to one side when braking? Are the pads and rotors worn and need changing? Is the brake fluid clean or dirty? Any ABS warning lights?
Scan the vehicle and check that all the emissions tests have run and trouble codes weren’t cleared in order to sell the car.
Check the battery health and age to let you know if the car will soon need a new battery, or charging system health. Check electrical accessories to make sure they all work (fan, windows, radio, defroster, etc).
Check the age and tread depth on the tires. Check for unusual wear. Check if there are different types of tires.
Airbag and safety equipment
Confirm that the airbag system is working properly, as well as the seatbelts.
Check that the headlights, interior, parking lights, and turn signals all work.
Look for stars and cracks in the windshield or signs that the windshield was replaced.
If you don’t have a CARFAX account (which we recommend when shopping for a used car) and the dealer doesn’t provide one, we can run them at our cost. A CARFAX will also often help identify the maintenance history.
Take photos of all major and minor damage and document trouble areas the seller might be trying to minimize. Take videos of the car running or to show paint damage.
The basic inspection includes a quick look at the undercarriage for obvious signs of damage, but if you need a more thorough inspection, we can bring a jack and jack stands and get a more detailed inspection.
On newer cars, we can also run a full vehicle scan to identify other issues that might be lurking, such as issues with the body controller (which controls things like power windows, sunroofs, etc), transmission fault codes, etc.
We can give you a rough estimate to fix issues we find, or spend more time getting detailed quotes if needed.