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Is it worth getting a used car inspection?

If you don’t feel confident looking over a car yourself, there are plenty of people who’ll do the dirty work for you.

Words by: First published: 6th July 2015
If you don’t feel confident looking over a car yourself, the good news is there are plenty of people who’ll do the dirty work for you. In some cases, some sort of inspection could even be included in the price of the car.

The most thorough checks tend to come when you buy the car through an Approved Used scheme, but it’s quite possible a franchise or independent dealer will include some form of check as part of their sales package.

However, if there is no such check – or you don’t think the existing one goes far enough – you can get any one of a number of organisations to do the job for you.

Perhaps the most well known are motoring organisations the AA and RAC, but lots of companies offer such services, some on a national level, and others on a more regional basis. All are no more than an internet search away, and while the precise details vary from one scheme to another, they all operate in a similar fashion.

For a start, most offer a variety of packages for buyers to choose from, and you’ll need to check the fine print to see what each inspection does and doesn’t include. In general, in exchange for a three-figure sum, they all cover interior, exterior and mechanical inspections, as well as a road test. In some cases, they also include a look into the documentation and a history check, and in others, these checks can be tagged on as extras.

The only other caveat is that you’ll also need to check the small print to see which inspections are appropriate for the car you’re looking at. You may find the most basic inspection isn’t available on 4x4s, convertibles and cars over a certain age. In some cases, the size of the car’s engine dictates the price of the inspection.

Are they worth it? Well, that very much depends on your point of view. For some people, they will be a needless expense, but others will insist you can’t put a price on the peace of mind they bring. You could well be looking at a bill of a couple of hundred quid, so it’s up to you to decide whether that’s good value.
Related topics:
Buying a used car