Why should I get a pre-purchase automobile inspection?

Why should I get a pre-purchase automobile inspection?

Pre-purchase automobile inspections save you time and money. The average cost of an inspection is $200, but the peace of mind is priceless.  Used cars are a tremendous investment right now. Protect that investment from someone else’s deferred maintenance.

Avoid this step

This happens frequently, I get a phone call from someone who thinks they have a blown head gasket.  They ask the usual questions.  Have you ever done work on this model?  What’s involved?  And, how much will it cost?  I explain our experience in engine repairs, and the complexity of what’s involved, and give him an approximate cost.  

Our repair estimate happens in 3 stages: 

  1. Tear down and inspection
  2. A preliminary estimate for repair  
  3. Final invoice

The first two steps are a full day’s work.  Your engine is in pieces.  But I don’t know what’s wrong with it until I take it apart.  In the best-case scenario, it’s just a blown head gasket.  But, if the engine has overheated the block may be warped.  We would have to replace the whole thing.  

A cautionary tale

He reached out to me because he was getting different information on fixing a blown head gasket vs. replacing the engine.  I could feel his frustration.  He bought the car 7 months ago.  He’s both making payments on the vehicle and trying to get the car functioning.  He was considering buying another car for $2200, just to get to work.  

Don’t get caught in this headache

I understood his reasoning.  If the engine repair cost more than $2200, then it was time to cut bait and let the first car go.  If the repairs cost less, he would fix the first vehicle.  My recommendation was to have the second vehicle inspected, so he didn’t end up in the same boat.  

The low inventory of used cars means high prices

ABC News reports that used car prices are up 44% from November 2020 to November 2021. Prices are high because inventory is low.  Ensure your investment.  Spend $200 to have your vehicle professionally inspected.  You don’t want to get caught in expensive repairs along with your car payment.  I see the ugly part of this transaction all the time.  

Here’s the repair breakdown

First, like any reputable mechanic, I never trust that someone before me has done their job properly.   I would confirm engine issues with a Combustion Gas Analyzer called a Block Tester.  The CGA tests for combustion gas inside the cooling system.  Once the engine is heated up and running, I draw some of the air through a liquid.  If the liquid changes color, I know for certain, there is combustion in the cooling system.  

Then, there may also be something wrong with your cooling system, as these issues often go hand-in-hand.  Malfunctioning cooling systems have the potential to warp your head.  

Finally, it’s all a process of deduction.  The heads may still have to come off to check.  For a great video on how to check for a blown head gasket, check this out from our friends at Two Car Pros

For repairs, I recommended starting with a block test.  Then, confirm whether it’s the engine block or the head gasket by tearing it down.  In lieu of that, a pre-purchase inspection on the new commuter vehicle would be advised.     


Order my inspection

Pre-Purchase Inspections Cover:

Pre-purchase inspections cover your vehicle history, interior, exterior and a road test. We check all safety systems including seat belts and air bags. We check your carpet, trim, mats and seats. Electrical is covered including audio and alarm systems, windows and door locks, and your sun or moon roof. Heating, cooling and defrost sytems are tested. All exterior amenities are inspected including; Underbody, frame, exhaust, tire, wheel, brake systems, and even the luggage compartment. Then we get under the hood. We run full vehicle diagnostics. Your fluids, engine, cooling and electrical systems are all tested. And finally we run full diagnostics on transmission, transaxle, differential and your transfer case.

In summary

In summary, I’d like to help you avoid this headache. I’d like to help you repair and maintain good quality used vehicles. Mobile Engine Medics Pre-Purchase Automobile Inspections cover 150 pain points. Our analysis includes pass, caution, and fail flags and my overall mechanical opinion of the vehicle.

Building relationships
I pride myself on being completely honest and transparent with my customers. I’m going to give you detailed information about your mechanical problems and my professional recommendation for how I would repair it. I will take care of you like I care for my own family. I want you to be safe and I want your transportation to be reliable.

Call us today. We come right to the house.

Zachary Bernet
Zachary Bernet

ASE Master Technician
ASE Advanced Level Specialist
Master & Diamond Certified Mechanic

(916) 256-5962


65 Vintage Court
Clayton, NC 27520
United States

[email protected]