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Pre-Purchase Vehicle Inspections Can Save You Money Down the Road

You should get a PPI when shopping for a carBuying a pre-owned vehicle can be a tricky proposition. When anxious buyers get excited and try to rush through a vehicle purchase, they often bypass a pre-purchase vehicle inspection. They miss all of the possible mechanical, structural and safety issues that may exist with the vehicle that they want to purchase just by trying to save time and money. To get an accurate report about the condition of the vehicle, most people elect to have a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) conducted prior to the sale, by taking it to the local service department at a dealership they trust.

At Lindsay Volkswagen of Sterling, VA, we want to guide you as you weigh the pros and cons of getting a pre-purchase vehicle inspection prior to purchasing a used car.

So, what exactly is a Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI)?

A pre-purchase inspection is an in-depth, comprehensive assessment performed by a qualified technician to determine the condition of a vehicle before completing the transaction. Most pre-purchase inspections are done by a certified mechanic or automotive technician who works on the same type of vehicle being inspected. The goal of the PPI is to discover existing conditions or expose maintenance deficiencies that could eventually become safety or financial issues for the buyer in the future.

Where can I get a PPI?

Service departments at automobile dealerships are outstanding resources for a meticulous PPI, because they likely perform a plethora of them every year. Always check out any service department prior to taking your vehicle there. Browse through their reviews and ask your friends to make certain that you will have your PPI in expert hands.

What will be inspected during the PPI? A PPI will give you the assurance you need when you buy a new car

Unfortunately, there isn't an industry-wide standard for a PPI. The cost of the inspection usually dictates the depth and detail of the inspection. A standard inspection will be primarily visual, which includes placing the vehicle on a hydraulic lift and looking carefully for leaks or broken components.  A more detailed inspection will traditionally include a road test where components such as steering and brakes can be put through their paces. A systematic inspection will also include checking engine compression and a complete computer engine analysis.

How much does a good PPI cost and who ends up paying for it?

Customarily, the buyer typically pays the bill for the pre-purchase inspection. They can range in cost from $100 to $300, depending on the type of vehicle. With that price tag, you can expect a solid mechanical and safety inspection as well as a thorough test drive of the vehicle. A detailed inspection of a higher-end luxury automobile will often include extensive engine tests and could cost you $400 or more.

Buying a car is the second largest expenditure you will ever make in your life, right behind buying a home. So, do your due diligence and don't rush through the purchase process whenever you're buying a used vehicle. A pre-purchase inspection can save you money and enable you to avoid serious problems down the road...or even worse--the freeway!

Sources: AAA, AARP and Consumer Reports

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