The Importance of a Pre-Purchase Inspection

    The Importance of a Pre-Purchase Inspection

Desire usually doesn’t promote rational thought. And right now you desire that collector car you saw on the internet. Maybe it’s a muscle car from the 1960s, or the little British roadster you’ve always wanted, or that classic pickup that reminds you of your father’s. Whatever it is, you want it. And you want it now. But before you wire transfer the funds or mail a check, make the smart decision and get a pre-purchase inspection (PPI).

A pre-purchase inspection is a smart move before the purchase of any used car, whether it’s the collectible classic you lusted after back in high school or a family sedan that’s just a few years old. Even if you’ve laid eyes on the car yourself, a professional pre-purchase inspection can ensure that you’re buying the car you think you’re buying or it can reveal a car’s dirty little secrets. It’s a step in the car buying process even seasoned collectors shouldn’t skip.

Where can I get a pre-purchase inspection?

Just asking the seller to make a vehicle available for a pre-purchase inspection can be revealing. If he’s resistant, seems annoyed by the request, or flat out refuses, there may be something wrong with the car, something he’s not telling you. Obviously, if you get the opposite reaction your confidence in the vehicle and the seller would go up.

Although any local mechanic can perform a PPI, and you should only take that route if circumstances dictate. You’re probably better off hiring a dedicated classic car specialist that performs PPIs as a regular service. Better still, hire a professional in the trade that is knowledgeable about the car or genre of vehicle you’re looking to purchase.

If you’re buying a 1969 Camaro Z28, hire someone that knows something about muscle cars and Camaros in particular. Does he know where they rust? Does he know where all the serial numbers should be? Has he driven one before? Does he know what a good one should feel like? If you’re buying a British sports car like Jaguar XK120, or a Japanese classic like a Nissan Skyline R32, muscle car knowledge isn’t very valuable.

To find your guru, turn to the internet. Google is your friend and there’s going to be a dedicated online community for your vehicle of choice. Engage with those fellow enthusiasts. They probably know the answer and they probably want to help. Chances are there’s going to be a friendly fellow enthusiast located in the geographic vicinity of your dream car and they’ll offer some assistance. If they don’t know the answer they know somebody who does.

A pre-purchase inspection is usually paid for the by the buyer and usually costs between $100 and $400. It’s worth it. If the inspection reveals flaws you’re uncomfortable with, better to spend a few[…]

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