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Most people would never consider buying a home without getting an inspection from an independent expert. That simple step can protect prospective owners from unforeseen problems that could require costly future repairs.
So it's a little surprising that when buying a car — the second largest expense in most people's lives — that those same people don't make an effort to have it independently evaluated.
No one wants to spend many thousands of dollars of hard-earned cash — not to mention the hours of time researching online and visiting car dealerships — just to buy a lemon.
These are six convincing reasons to get an independent inspection.
It’s possible for a car to have been in an accident, flood, or even a fire but not show those obvious signs. It might've been repaired just enough to cover clear damage.
Edmunds says an inspection can reveal hidden damage like problems with the body or frame, mechanical and electrical problems as well as brake and tire conditions. Even if the car had problems with any of these things in the past, it's a good idea to have an independent mechanic check to make sure the problems were taken care of correctly so they don't recur.
Carketa, a Utah company, is working to revolutionize the car business by providing these reports to create a better customer experience. This makes finding an inspection location simple. They have dozens of affiliates spanning the state from Brigham City to St. George. Just go to the website and type in your zip code to find a location near you.
Pros and cons
Even after spending those hours online and at dealerships learning about the make and model of car, you might not realize all that your car has to offer. An independent inspection can help bridge the gap between dealerships and consumers. A mechanic might point out specific features or problems that mean more to you than whether the Bluetooth connects automatically.
In a good inspection, the mechanic will take the car for a test drive, and they can make note of any problems or red flags they notice. What might be important to you might not be as important to a salesman.
With Carketa's 200-point inspection, you should have a good idea of all the features (or lack of) in your potential car. “Carketa gives you all the info up front so you know what’s under the hood yourself,” says Brady Thurgood, owner/co-founder. He reports that Carketa gives the vehicle a grade is based off the potential risk of the vehicle. For example, an A+ grade shows that the vehicle has a low risk of having mechanical issues.
Potential repair work
It's important to not only weigh the cost and payments of a potential new car, but it's also a good idea to see how much you might be paying in repair costs in the coming years.
With a comprehensive inspection, you’ll have a better idea of whether the car is worth the investment and what you might need to spend in the next year or two. If the car is in great shape now but needs a timing belt or a new transmission in the next few years, it could cost far more than you're calculating for the coming months.
With any car inspection, you can ask for a cost report of any repairs that might need to be made on the car, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
“If you decide to make a purchase offer…after considering the inspection’s results, you can use the estimated repair costs to negotiate the price of the vehicle,” notes the FTC. Not all dealerships or individuals will negotiate the price, but having that knowledge is powerful — it can help you calculate potential costs down the road.
“Green Light Auto Inspection's mission is to provide the missing piece to the car buying process, providing transparency with in-depth knowledge of the mechanical state of the vehicle before you buy,” Thurgood says.
Peace of mind
Any major purchase can be a little nerve-racking, so the more information you gather before committing will help you feel more confident about the whole process. Carketa provides its customers with comprehensive third-party inspections that protect buyers from hidden or overlooked information, creating a stress-free buying experience.