Purchasing a used vehicle can be risky. When excited buyers get emotionally caught up in the vehicle purchase, they often miss mechanical, cosmetic, and safety issues during visual inspections and test drives. These problems are compounded if the vehicle being purchased is located in another city and is purchased prior to being seen in person. To eliminate much of the anxiety and get an accurate picture of the condition of the vehicle, many buyers choose to have a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) done before the sale is final. These inspections can also be performed on vehicles that are about to come off of factory warranty to make sure all warranty covered problems are resolved before they become your responsibility.

What is a pre-purchase inspection?

A pre-purchase inspection is a detailed assessment performed by RRT’s highly skilled technicians to determine the cosmetic, mechanical, and safety condition of a vehicle before completing the purchase. The intent of the PPI is to uncover existing conditions or to reveal maintenance shortcomings that may become potential safety or financial issues for the buyer in the future.

A pre-purchase inspection is highly recommended when purchasing a vehicle without a warranty, or when the vehicle is located in another city. When there is no warranty, the buyer is immediately assuming all the risk in the event of a breakdown or major mechanical issue. For this reason, a qualified PPI makes financial sense. Vehicles in other cities present additional challenges when the purchaser is unable to take a test drive. RRT routinely provides PPI services for buyers in other cities. The resulting PPI report gives the buyer added security during a long-distance transaction.

How much does it cost, and who pays?

The buyer typically pays for the pre-purchase inspection. A basic PPI will cost $124.99. For some specialty or high-performance vehicles, RRT may recommend additional diagnostics if a particular problem or symptom appears during the inspection. This can only be performed with both the permission of the owner and the buyer.

There is not an industry-wide accepted standard or schedule for a PPI. Adding to that is the wide range of vehicles that RRT and RRT Racing can perform PPI’s on and there can not be one “standard” checklist that can be followed.However, regardless of whether it is a street car or racecar, an inspection performed by RRT will be mostly visual, which includes putting the car on a lift and checking for leaks, worn and broken components. When possible it will include a detailed road test where components such as steering and brakes can be assessed. RRT will interrogate the factory electronics to determine faults within the system and retrieve maintenance and service history.Additionally, RRT can provide the prospective buyer with an anticipated list of service needs and explain in detail some of the more “unusual” service requirements that some high performance vehicles need.