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It's likely that at some point most everyone will either buy or sell a used car. There are a lot of anxieties and stresses when buying a used vehicle, but getting an inspection helps to put one's mind at ease regarding the overall condition of the car.
Vehicles are one of the most costly and necessary purchases people have to make, so doing your due diligence before buying one will help ensure you don't encounter problems that could have been prevented. Vehicle inspections usually look for areas of concern with the overall performance of the car.
Sunday, October 24th
CARCHEX offers vehicle inspections, protection, auto insurance, auto finance, and roadside assistance. National media outlets and companies including Kelley Blue Book, Inc. 5000, ABC, and Selling Power have featured CARCHEX as an industry leader of vehicle inspections and other automotive protection services. CARCHEX's slogan is "A Smarter Way To Do Car" and we would have to agree.
Vehicle inspections can be ordered online through CARCHEX 24/7. By providing your vehicle zip code, year, make, and model, customers are taken to their package options and pricing. Two straight forward silver and gold package options are given to all customers regardless of their vehicle information.
2 packages to choose from
The only thing that varies a bit based on vehicle information is the pricing.
Quick inspections wherever you are
If you've found a vehicle you like, you can enter the VIN number into the CARCHEX website to see if they have already inspected that particular vehicle. If not, the inspection will typically be completed within 2-3 days of placing an order. Inspections take place wherever the vehicle is located Monday - Friday within normal business hours. Most CARCHEX inspectors are ASE-certified mechanics who have worked in the automotive industry for years. With CARCHEX, customers in all 50 states have access to their vehicle inspections.
CARCHEX receives an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau and receives positive feedback from both customers and companies who have used their services. Their brand promise is "Customer Experience Above All" and CARCHEX definitely delivers that. They are transparent with their pricing as well as with what to expect when purchasing an inspection online. We, along with many customers, are impressed with CARCHEX and recommend them for your next vehicle inspection.
True to their name, Lemon Squad's goal is to help customers avoid buying a "lemon", or in other words, a clunker of a car that won't be worth the cost. They boast that you'll always get a person on the phone when you call, there are no hidden fees, they have qualified and experienced inspectors, easy to understand reports, and the best turnaround time in the industry. Now that's a company we can get behind!
Regardless of where you live in the USA, Lemon Squad has an inspector in your area that can take a look at your vehicle. Their technicians are ASE certified and most have been in the business for years. In three easy steps, customers can get an inspection ordered and receive a report. Orders can either be placed online or over the phone. Next, the inspector will contact the vehicle seller and perform the inspection (typically within 2 business days). Lastly, the inspection report will be uploaded, reviewed, and sent out to the customer.
4 different inspection packages
Pre-purchase used car inspections come in four different packages depending on the type of vehicle needing the inspection. Each package includes a computer diagnosis of the engine, transmission, ABS and airbag, a comprehensive mechanical inspection of the drive train, inspection of the steering, brakes, and suspension, a road test, fluid level checks, more than 25 pictures, and a check for previous accident and flood damage.
Add-ons to the vehicle inspections are optional for customers wanting some additional information on their prospective vehicle. For $29.99, customers can get a CARFAX vehicle history report on any car from 1982 and newer. A true market value assessment can be added for $49.99 that gives customers a better idea of how much their vehicle is worth. Customers also have the option of receiving a phone call by an in-house staff member when they receive their inspection report to go over the report in detail and make sure all of the vehicle information is understandable. The cost for this is $29.99.
In addition to the A+ rating they receive from the Better Business Bureau, Lemon Squad has a slew of happy customers who are both impressed and satisfied by the professional services and fast turnaround time on their inspection. We really don't see any reason not to give Lemon Squad a chance to inspect your next vehicle for you. Their pricing is a bit steeper than our highest-rated inspection service, but you likely won't regret your purchase here.
With over 15 years of experience, AiM Mobile Inspections looks at over 12,000,000 vehicles each year. Employees of the company conduct vehicle inspections in all 50 states.
3 auto services
AiM offers three main services to their customers. These include:
The types of inspections conducted by AiM include new car inspections, pre-purchase used car inspections, and dealership used car inspections. For new vehicles, AiM conducts "cause and effect" studies to identify problem areas in the transportation process to and from dealerships and recommend preventative measures to protect them from damage. They also do damage classification and identification on used cars as well as repair verification, insurance estimates, buybacks and custom studies.
Favorite among dealerships
Many dealerships use AiM for end-of-lease inspections. These might be done at the vehicle owner's home, a dealership, or a business. These reports protect both buyers and sellers by providing a damage report and comparing the state of the vehicle from the beginning of ownership to the end. AiM also does inspections for remote trade-ins and retail by giving peace of mind to potential buyers about a car's overall condition.
4 car inspection packages
For pre-purchase used car inspections, four packages are available. The most basic package is the AiM Preferred that includes a 150 point inspection, bumper-to-bumper test, 15+ condition photos, tire inspection, VIN and odometer check, and an overall grade between an "A" and "F". This package is available for all consumer vehicles from the 1981 model year to present and costs $129, regardless of the make and model. The AiM Plus program is also offered for vehicles older than 1981 at a higher price of $199.
For more comprehensive inspections, AiM offers a plus, premier, and commercial package ranging from $199 - $419. Overall, AiM receives favorable feedback from online auto critics and is widely recognized by individuals and dealerships. AiM is a good option for vehicle inspections.
Automobile Inspections will inspect classic cars and trucks, used cars, antique and vintage cars, muscle cars, street rods, motorcycles, RV's, and more. Their inspections are performed anywhere in the United States and parts of Canada. Their slogan is, "If spotting the wrong car was easy, you wouldn't need us." Automobile Inspections aims to help customers identify potential issues with vehicles by thoroughly inspecting them from the inside out without taking the car apart.
Simple to order
To order an inspection online, you'll choose the category your vehicle fits into from six different options, then provide your name, phone number, email, address, payment information, and other specific package option choices. The online form is simple and fast to use for ordering. Package details as far as what is included in the inspection report can also be viewed. The lists are extensive and don't leave customers questioning what they are paying for. For questions along the way as you browse package options, customers have the option of calling customer service between 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM eastern time Monday - Friday or doing a live chat.
2 packages to choose from
Used car and truck inspections start at $199 for a basic report and could be priced as high as $349 for a full report. Both inspection reports include the condition of the bodywork, soft-top, trunk, engine, test drive, electrical, underbody, interior, and vehicle components. The full report includes a more extensive examination of the vehicle components for a higher cost. Charges are not made on a customer's credit card until the actual inspection has taken place.
Automobile Inspections received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. We like that their pricing and report details are clear for customers to review before making a purchase. Customer service is easy to reach should any issues or questions arise along the way. If you are thinking of purchasing an antique or classic car, we recommend considering Automobile Inspections.
Road Ready Inspections is an expert in classic cars. Their car-loving experts are trained in what to look for when examining classic vehicles as well as street rods, customs, muscle, and collector cars and trucks. With a payment of $297 and vehicle and seller information, Road Ready Inspections will make an appointment to perform their 158-point inspection on your chosen vehicle. Their services can be performed all around the United States.
Inspections scheduled Monday through Saturday
It isn't explicitly stated how soon after placing an order the inspection will take place. We do know that inspections are performed Monday through Saturday depending on the availability of the particular vehicle. After this has been completed, inspection reports are sent out to customers via email the next business day.
The comprehensive list of what is examined during the inspection performed by Road Ready Inspections can be viewed on their website. This includes all major components connected to the exterior body of the vehicle, engine, drivetrain, lighting, trim, and interior. A Ready Test Drive is also performed, typically by the vehicle owner. The car is driven 3-5 miles to check the starter function, engine noise, engine operating temperature, transmission operation, tire noise, suspension, alignment, and other critical details. 30+ full color photos are included in the report as an addition to the written descriptions of the vehicle condition.
Pricing a bit high
Road Ready Inspections receives an A rating from the Better Business Bureau. They are endorsed by McPherson College, Hagerty Insurance, ClassicCars, and J.J. Best. Compared to their competitors, Road Ready Inspections' price for a classic inspection runs a bit high. However, the fact that they specialize in classic cars should be taken into consideration as a reason to trust their processes a bit more. For classic and specialty vehicles, Road Ready Inspections is a good, reliable option.
The idea behind True360's auto inspections was born over ten years ago. It was originally called a TrueFrame report and was designed to identify the degree of accident damage that used vehicles had experienced. True360 boasts that their technicians are trained like CSI forensic accident investigators to get to the bottom of historical damage done to vehicles.
Available in only 20 states
True360 says they are available in every major city and nationwide. However, based on the listed cities and map provided on the website, we see that they do not service some states including Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Montana, New Mexico, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and others. We would hardly call this nationwide, since True360 is technically only available in about 20 of the 50 states.
Most expensive inspection service
True360 was advertising introductory pricing of $199 for standard vehicles, rather than their normal price of $299. From what we can tell, $199 is actually the standard price, so this is just a marketing effort. If you want a priority booking for your inspection, that will be an extra $149, bringing your total cost to $348. If you are wanting an inspection for an exotic vehicle, the cost for this is $449, or $598 for a priority inspection. This is definitely the most expensive inspection company we have seen, especially considering their vague definitions of exotic vs. standard inspections.
Nowhere does True360 tell you how long it will take to get your inspection completed once you have placed an order. You can request a date and a time frame, but that doesn't guarantee the time you will actually get your inspection completed. It would be nice to have a better idea of their typical turnaround time before placing an order.
Included in CARFAX reports
True360 is included in CARFAX reports, which is a good sign of their reliability. They likely provide professional services to their customers, but their sparse locations prevent many people from using them for vehicle inspections. It is hard to find customer feedback about True360's inspections, which is also concerning to us. We suggest using one of the higher-rated and more accessible inspection services.
Automotive Inspection Solutions (AIS) was established in 2007, making it one of the newer vehicle inspection services on the market. Because of this, there is not much customer feedback regarding the expertise and professionalism of AIS. On the main page of their website, AIS claims that they cover all of Virginia, D.C., and Maryland doing vehicle inspections. On their FAQ page, they say they have inspectors across the USA and parts of Canada, but the exact areas are unclear.
Quick inspection process
Customers will use a secured order form to request inspections online. Once the order is received, AIS will contact the vehicle seller and set up the inspection within 24-48 hours. Once the inspection is complete, the report will be emailed to the customer no later than the day following the inspection.
2 packages to choose from
Two inspection packages are offered by AIS. These packages do not differ by what is included, but rather by the age of the vehicle being inspected.
We noticed on some pages of the website that the pricing for the packages differs slightly. When you go to order the inspection, it says the basic inspection starts at $130 and the classic inspection starts at $225, which differs from the home page and a few other places. This is likely an error that was overlooked when they changed pricing at some point, but it makes us feel more skeptical of the services offered by AIS because we aren't sure of the information we are receiving.
We wish there was more information about AIS as a company. They are unrated by the Better Business Bureau, and customer feedback for them is hard to come by. What we do know is that their website is riddled with pricing and location discrepancies and you have to browse around the website to really understand what you're paying for when ordering an inspection through AIS. We feel more confident in our higher-rated vehicle inspection services and would suggest that customers look there instead of spending time trying to figure out how to work with AIS.
Main systems like brakes, suspension, steering, and emissions are checked. Other important details are looked at including lights, paint, dents, air conditioning and more. Professional mechanics who are trained to look at these critical vehicle parts are available through inspection companies. Whether you're looking to buy a car locally or across the country, online resources allow you to get in contact with an inspection service wherever you need.
When selling a used car, it helps to get the vehicle inspected beforehand so you can use the results as a selling point for potential buyers. If your car is in great condition, you can claim that a trustworthy auto inspection service looked over your vehicle and gave it a good rating. On the other hand, if you as a customer take a potential vehicle in for inspection and find that it is riddled with issues, you could use this to negotiate the price or decide not to buy it.
It is extremely important to know who you can trust before getting your vehicle inspected. It could be a costly error for the customer if major issues are overlooked. On the flipside, blowing small issues out of proportion to make more money on repairs is a concern that many customers have with inspection companies and mechanics. Finding an inspection service with positive customer feedback is crucial.
Before choosing a vehicle inspection company, we suggest you keep the following criteria in mind:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best vehicle inspection services available today. We hope this information helps you find out everything you need to know about the car you hope to buy or sell!
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