When buying a used car, it’s important to have a thorough pre purchase inspection done to ensure you’re getting a reliable and safe vehicle.
An independent inspection is done by a mechanic who is not affiliated with the dealership where the car is being sold. On the other hand, a dealer inspection is done by the service department or a mechanic working for the dealership where the car is being sold. Dealers often have their own service departments and mechanics on staff, making it easy for buyers to schedule an inspection and have it done at the same location where they plan to purchase the car. In many cases, the car will have gone through the dealership’s own ‘Used car inspection/certification process’, or else the dealer may have an agreement with one of the mainstream generic vehicle inspection services.
However, in this article, I will outline the differences between these Inspections and which of these inspections you should do.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Dealer Pre Purchase Inspection
The Advantages of a Dealer Inspection
One of the main advantages of having a dealer perform a pre-purchase inspection is convenience. Dealers often have their own service departments and mechanics on staff, making it easy for buyers to schedule an inspection and have it done at the same location where they plan to purchase the car, or it will already have been carried out prior to being made available for sale.
The Disadvantages of a Dealer Inspection
One of the main disadvantages of having a dealer perform a pre-purchase inspection is the potential conflict of interest. Dealers are primarily focused on making a sale and some dealers may not be as thorough or objective as an independent pre purchase inspector. Additionally, dealers may be motivated to upsell the buyer on additional repairs or services that may not be strictly necessary. Another concern is if the dealer has an agreement with one of the mainstream inspection services, whereby the inspection may not be as thorough or intensive, to avoid being seen as too aggressive or risking the long-term inspection agreement relationship.
Comparing the Costs of a Dealer Pre Purchase Inspection vs. an Independent Pre Purchase Inspection
The cost of a pre-purchase inspection can vary depending on whether a dealer or independent shop performs the inspection. Dealer inspections may be more expensive, but they often include the cost of a warranty or service agreement. Independent inspections may be less expensive, but they typically don’t include additional services or protection. It’s important for buyers to compare the costs of both options and weigh the benefits and drawbacks before making a decision.
Additionally, when navigating a dealer inspection, buyers should know what to expect and what questions to ask. Some dealers may try to rush the inspection process or not provide a detailed report. It’s important for buyers to ask for a comprehensive inspection report and make sure the dealer covers all relevant systems and components of the vehicle. Buyers should also ask about any issues that were found during the inspection and how they were addressed.
Furthermore, dealer inspections can have a significant impact on the pricing and trade-in value of a used car. If a dealer finds issues during the inspection, they may use this as leverage to lower the trade-in value or increase the purchase price of the car. Additionally, a dealer may use the inspection report to justify a higher price for a certified pre-owned vehicle. It’s important for buyers to be aware of this dynamic and negotiate accordingly.
How to Ensure an Honest and Thorough Pre Purchase Inspection from a Dealer
To ensure an honest and thorough inspection from a dealer, it is important for the buyer to be proactive and ask for a detailed inspection report. Buyers should also ask about any potential issues that were found during the inspection and how they were addressed. Additionally, buyers should be aware of any certifications or warranties offered by the dealer and be sure to read the fine print.
Why You Should Hire An Independent Inspector Rather Than Dealer Inspection
No Vested Interest
One of the main reasons to choose an independent inspector is objectivity. An independent inspector is not tied to a specific dealership and is not trying to sell you a car. They have no vested interest in the outcome of the inspection, and therefore, the report would be unbiased and gives a clear picture of the condition of the vehicle.
Another reason to consider an independent inspector is expertise. Independent inspectors are often more experienced and have more knowledge than the dealer’s inspection staff. They have specialised equipment and up-to-date training to perform a detailed inspection that may not be available at the dealer. This can be particularly beneficial when inspecting premium or prestige vehicles, which may have unique issues that a general mechanic may not be aware of.
Additionally, an independent inspector can offer more specialised services than a dealer. They may offer a more comprehensive inspection that includes a road test, checking electronic systems, and providing a detailed pre purchase inspections report.
Another consideration is the cost. An independent inspection is generally less expensive than a dealer inspection. Some more, independent inspections shop offer package deals that can include a road test, detailed condition report and other added services for less than a dealer inspection.
That being said, it is not to say that dealer inspections are always bad, they do have their advantages as well. Such as convenience and access to specialised equipment and knowledge, but they also have their limitations. The best approach is to have a balance. It’s important to keep in mind the limitations and the potential conflict of interest when having a dealer perform an inspection. Furthermore, buyers should be proactive and ask for a detailed inspection report. Additionally, Buyers should also ask about any potential issues that were found during the inspection and how they were addressed.