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
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Nancy I
Nancy I

5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 weeks ago

I take my car to Tom's because they are friendly and reliable. I appreciate they are able to "triage" and explain the maintenance needed to keep my car up and running. It's great they offer a shuttle in the morning and late afternoon to help the locals get back to work!
I once had to pull off the freeway due to my car acting oddly. I called Kandie at Tom's and she was able to explain what I needed to do. This helped me stay calm and confident in an otherwise stressful situation.

Andrea Honer
Andrea Honer

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 months ago

Tom’s is great. I took my vehicle in for a transmission issue. They were thorough with their diagnostic and communicated my options every step of the way. Honest and reliable service.

Meg Halverson
Meg Halverson

5 out of 5 stars

posted 4 months ago

Everyone at Tom's cares about delivering great, expert service and keeping your car or truck in excellent mechanical condition. I have a 2001 Yukon XL which is a 3/4 ton towing vehicle and has been serviced at Tom's for 14 years. It has 187,000 miles on it, and I credit their commitment to excellent service and workmanship for the vehicle's longevity. They are the best in the business, and we are super fortunate to have them in West Seattle.

Tamara Gillest
Tamara Gillest

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 months ago

Tom's Automotive is open and honest. They have a friendly staff and are helpful in getting answers that work for the budget. I never feel pressured to do something that I don't want to do and they are willing to present options. Thanks, Tom's!