Auto Repair Garages Doing Auto Inspections – Is this right?
Imagine shopping and researching for the car of your dreams for 3 months solid. Spending sleepless nights digging through classified sites, collector car forums and eBay listings and you finally find that perfect vehicle you have been looking for… One big issue, it is 2500 miles away and you can’t take off work and you don’t have a good feeling about the seller… What do you? Most guys stuck in this situation call an independent auto inspector like Test Drive Technologies but some others might call a national inspection company that has local auto inspectors in that area. It was recently brought to our attention that some auto repair centers and dealerships offer what they call a “pre-purchase auto inspection“, we see a few issues with this.
First of all how can a car dealer provide a truly unbiased inspection of a vehicle. How could someone trust that the car dealer is not purposely overlooking or under exaggerating a damage or repair found just so they can sell the vehicle? While we are on the subject of dealers and auto inspections we should also mention there are several dealerships out there that also “recommend” some auto inspection companies… This could be for several reasons which include the auto inspection company has local auto inspectors in that area, they truly provide a valuable service and they have a reputation behind them in that area. There are however some issues with auto dealers sending customers to auto inspection companies which create a huge conflict of interest. So I pose this question to dealers & the auto inspection companies allowing the incoming referrals and links… Are you really doing what is in the best interest of your client or are you just doing business as usual? Dealerships here in the St Louis area tell buyers search for “Auto Inspection Companies in St Louis” so used car buyers the choice of selecting their own vehicle inspection company.
Secondly auto repair shops or auto body repair professionals performing pre-purchase auto inspections is not much better than trusting the word of your dealership. In fact it might even cost you more in repairs… Auto repair shops are high on the list of consumer complaints just as much as dealers and home remodeling companies. It’s not surprising to learn that auto repair shops are known for saying certain items need repaired but actually do not. This is partly because of if a vehicle comes into their shop and they give it a pass and do not mention something that can go wrong in 30 days they can be held liable for any accident that occurs if that area was not mentioned. What this does for the used car buyer is give them a list of failed or worn parts that really do not need replaced or repaired. Not only does this make the consumer think the car is a hunk of junk & pass on the car but it also makes the dealership look bad and in the event the consumer buys the car they might get stuck with auto repair bills that are not necessary.
Now that we have got the auto repair facilities & dealerships out in the open lets talk about auto repair shops that also sell cars as “certified pre-own”, this also includes franchise auto dealers like Ford, Chevy, BMW and so on. The truth behind manufacture “certified pre-own” vehicles is that the selling dealership’s shop is the one doing the “certification inspection” which is a checklist provided by the auto manufacturer… So this is all good and well right? So the dealer has a full set of rules that they have to go by in order for the car to be certified but the question really is how much pressure is that dealership service department under to turn a blind eye and give the car a pass? Many of the rules for a vehicle to be passed off as a certified pre-own include no more accidents than on 2 body panel areas, no safety issues and a max mileage requirement.
What you need is a completely independent and certified auto inspector that can go out onsite and lift your vehicle to fully examine the undercarriage, suspension, steering, brakes, driveline, transmission, frame, body, interior, options, electronics, engine and safety areas like seat belts, airbags and lights… This way you know what the vehicle’s true current condition is without the inspector feeling pushed in any direction and omitting or even exaggerating damages to make money or sales.