What to Expect in a Pre-Purchase Inspection

Let’s say you’ve found a pretty good looking used (pre-owned) vehicle and are seriously considering whether or not to buy it. Awesome. The best form of insurance you can buy for a used car, truck, SUV or hybrid is information about the state of the vehicle as it stands right now.

The good, the bad… and a head’s up about any needed repairs. Right?

That’s why you’ll want to consider having a comprehensive Pre-Purchase Inspection performed.

Any reputable person or business will allow you to get the vehicle inspected without hassle, pressure or hurry.

So, if you’re feeling any of those 3 things, hassled, pressured or hurried, consider that a warning sign.

In fact, consider walking away from the whole experience now.

But for this scenario, the private party is completely on board with you getting the vehicle inspected.

Great. Here’s what you do:

Schedule your inspection in advance

Make an appointment and plan to leave the car with the shop for at least ½ a day in order for the shop to do it right.

Don’t expect a shop to drop everything and conduct this inspection while you wait.

This isn’t the same as a “quick lube” service. It’s more like a “wellness check or physical exam” for your next investment that you and your family will rely on frequently….even daily.

The findings

Upon completion of the pre-purchase inspection, what you’ll receive is a report outlining and itemizing safety and maintenance ratings. We’ll also share what may need to be fixed or repaired in the near and further out future for the vehicle as well.

If safety issues or maintenance work is needed

We’ll give an idea of what it will cost to repair those issues as well, so you, as the potential buyer, will have some negotiating power based on findings from our specific report.

If it’s been in a collision

We’ve seen, and actually continue to see, several cars where we can tell, at some point during the inspection, that the car has been in a wreck. In these instances, we just stop the inspection and advise you, the potential buyer, to just walk away from the car.

So, when you’re considering making a purchase, either from a private party or even from a dealership, the important thing is getting good solid information about the state of the vehicle, so you can make your best decision for you and your family.

Our Reviews

Tom's Automotive Service
Reviewed from Google

4.7 out of 5 stars

Denny and Jim
Denny and Jim

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 week ago

I got a flat tire across the street from Tom's Automotive. Although they don't repair tires, they immediately sent over a technician to change my tire. They also filled it with air so I could make it safely to a tire shop, all free of charge. Thanks Adam and the friendly staff at Tom's Automotive for your great service!

Bethany Manahan
Bethany Manahan

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 months ago

My bosses were the ones that recommended me to see Tom's when I had my 'check engine' light on some time last year. They were very helpful, and kindly, turned the light off as there wasn't anything particularly wrong with my car. However, recently, my car was being looked at by them (as I've had other things happen to my car), and the staff helped me walk through the process of either furthering the fix or getting rid of my car. As someone who doesn't know anything about cars (oh boy), they really did a great job of explaining things to me. Thanks!

TJ Rawlinson
TJ Rawlinson

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 weeks ago

I had a great experience with Tom's. We had a good dialog, lots of great communication, and I am happy with the work done. Prices were as expected and no work was done that didn't need to be. I will be going back as needed.

Michael Mizell
Michael Mizell

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 week ago

I always take both my company vehicle and personal vehicles directly over to Tom's whenever I need issues taken care of...except for that one time I had to change a headlight in my Yukon. After struggling with trying to figure out how to take it out, I watched a YouTube video and followed all the steps. It turns out that you cannot simply take the headlight casing out, but you need to take the grill off first, then take the wheel well liner off (which I successfully completed) and then there is a hidden screw that needs to be removed. You cannot see this screw because it is tucked away behind the frame, and a standard socket wrench head is too large and will not work to remove. Feeling defeated, I called Tracy. He said to come on by and they took the screws out for me and helped replacing the headlight. I told him I wanted to at least pay something for the service but he refused to accept anything. These guys have always been good to me, and I appreciate their hard work and honesty.

Kt McVeigh
Kt McVeigh

5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 weeks ago

They were very professional and helpful at all times - even when I didn't have time to use their services before I headed out of town, Casey spoke with me on the phone for upwards of 15 minutes to figure out what was wrong with my car, so I could get help elsewhere. Really stand-up place!