Do I Need a Pre-Purchase Inspection?

Pre-Purchase Inspection - Close up of chrome and paint at trunk and rear lightsMisaligned ChromeModern car purchasing has changed dramatically from the traditional methods. Online purchasing and a shift towards buying classic cars as investment pieces has made the process both more convenient and more open to misuse.

The FBI and the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York recently uncovered a $4.5 million fraud ring that involved classic cars, indicting 25 defendants for running a nationwide scheme posting fake classic cars for sale online. Victims of the ring would respond to ads online and then be directed to shell corporations to pay for a car they would never receive. In most cases, the money lost was never recovered, and some victims were left with no choice but to continue to pay auto loans without ever receiving a car.

Pre-Purchase Vehicle Inspection - Note tear at bottom edge of door panelDoor Panel WearAAG’s professional inspection process has exposed fraudulent sellers in the past. Dishonest sellers won’t return calls when they discover we’ve been asked to complete an inspection. Or, agents have arrived at the address given by the seller to find empty lots and no cars for sale.

With the convenience of one-click shopping and online auctions comes the need to do your homework: the best way to protect yourself when buying a car is a pre-purchase inspection from a trusted and certified professional.

Pre-Purchase Car Inspection - 1959 Cadillac Fins1959 Cadillac FinsYou may be asking yourself “Do I need a pre-purchase inspection? I can probably go look at the car myself.” An experienced inspector can be your eyes and ears and will provide a detailed report that documents the vehicle’s condition. A professional pre-purchase inspection should include a market value consultation based upon the vehicle’s condition and documented history. An inspection can save you the cost and time of travel should you decide this vehicle is not the one that you want to purchase.

Make sure your pre-purchase inspection agent has been certified, and check to make sure they also provide the following:

    • The opportunity to speak with your inspection agent before and after the inspection in case you have questions.

    • A copy of the title or registration, pertinent receipts and information should be provided to the inspector by the seller.

    • Documentation of all parts of the inspection, including notes on condition, originality, test ride results and paint gauge readings.

    • Detailed photographs that provide first-hand evidence of the car’s complete condition, inside and out. Don’t rely on the seller’s photos alone.

    • Data tag and vehicle identification numbers should be documented and decoded.

    • Ask if your pre-purchase inspection company can provide a certified appraisal for insurance or bank loan purposes if you decide to purchase the vehicle.

    • A value consultation with the master appraiser should be included. AAG utilizes its centralized database along with 30 years of experience to determine an accurate market value for the vehicle.

Pre-Buy Car Inspection - Photo of rust under mat in trunk
Under trunk mat
Pre-purchase inspections often uncover areas of concerns that may give you room to negotiate with the seller’s asking price.

Find an agent who is located near the vehicle in need of a pre-purchase inspection. AAG agents are located nationwide, allowing you to get a pre-purchase inspection promptly.

Before Buying Car Inspection - 1969 Lola T70 ReplicaLola CockpitIt is best to hire an inspector from an independent service, not one affiliated with selling or brokering cars. Pre-purchase inspection agents should work for you, rather than working to their own or the seller’s benefit.

Before you buy your next classic car, antique car or any other type of vehicle, have an independent pre-purchase inspection completed by an experienced, tested and certified AAG agent. AAG’s pre-purchase auto inspection service gives you the confidence to buy or walk away.

Read more about the case behind this article here.

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