Choosing a Vehicle Inspection Company
Choosing the right vehicle inspection company is essential as your purchase will be with you for years to come. Without a thorough inspection the buyer could face expensive repairs or even worse, an unsafe vehicle.
- ASE certified Master Automotive Technician – The ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) certifies technicians in eight separate areas. They are: Engine Repair, Automatic Transmission/Transaxle, Manual Drive Train and Axles, Suspension and Steering, Brakes, Electrical/Electronic Systems, Heating and Air Conditioning and Engine Performance. A technician certified in all eight areas is classified as a Master Automotive Technician. Evaluating an entire vehicle requires knowledge in all eight of the above. It should be noted that any company who employs even one certified tech in any one of these eight areas can advertise the ASE logo. This does not mean that the individual working on your vehicle is in fact certified. The only way for a consumer to really know is to ask to see the technician’s credentials.
- ASE – Certified Professionals – Any professional shop will display these certifications on the wall. In the case of a mobile inspection company claiming ASE certified techs, the consumer should be emailed this credential before the inspection takes place.
- Body and Frame Expert – Most auto mechanics generally do not have the specialized knowledge to perform structural or frame inspections. Five years of Body Shop frame work experience is considered adequate for inspection purposes however, ASE Master Techs rarely have this two trade experience. The difficulty for the consumer is verifying this type of expertise. Any degrees, diplomas or certifications that can be provided are a consumer’s best insurance.
- Raising the vehicle for a thorough underside inspection – Many inspection companies DO NOT raise the vehicle citing liability issues. The suspension, steering, frame, potential leaks etc. cannot be properly assessed without physically being under the vehicle, period.
- Road test – Without driving the vehicle it is not possible to fully check the transmission, brakes, alignment, noises etc. Since most vehicle inspections take place without the buyer present, it’s also a good practice for the inspector to document the road test with before and after odometer photos.
- Equipment – Inspecting today’s modern vehicles requires specialized equipment. Some of these include a computer scan tool, electronic engine analyzer, remotely operated camera, Volt/Amp/ Ohm meters, stethoscopes, leak detection devices etc. Additionally, body work can often be difficult to spot. Sonar devices are the best equipment to reveal hidden bodywork. It is not unusual for structural damage to be found behind any repaired body panel.
Optional Features to Consider
- Same day inspections – Many inspection companies have a no cancellation/ no refund policy once the order is placed. Virtually all companies will at least charge a service call fee if the inspector arrives and the vehicle has been sold. The best way to avoid these charges is to have the inspection performed quickly. Same day inspections go a long way in preventing these unfortunate situations. Hint: Read the Terms and Conditions on any company’s website usually located at the bottom of their home page.
- Direct access to the inspector – There are times that questions arise before and/or after a customer receives their inspection report. It is so helpful to be able to speak directly with the inspector of your vehicle. In some situations you might even want a call directly from the inspector immediately after the inspection for a quick summary in order to close the deal before that vehicle is sold to someone else. Having the inspector’s direct number is the ultimate communication asset.
- Same day inspection reports – Most companies cannot deliver a written report with photos on the same day as the inspection due to logistical issues. There are a few companies that do. So if it’s important to you, it’s best to ask.
Auto Doc’s is very proud to have ALL of the features described above included in every one of our inspections!
Auto Doc’s Pledge
Auto Doc’s Inspections stands alone in offering an ASE Certified “Master” Technician with industry leading diagnostic equipment on every inspection. We pledge to never send an unqualified person who performs a 20-30 minute inspection. Our inspections average 1 1/2 to 2 hours because that’s what it takes.