Once you've made up your mind that you're ready to purchase your new ride, you've narrowed down the field to the make, model and year you are most interested in, and your ready to start looking, you're suddenly overcome with fear. Fear that you might end up one of the many unfortunate ones who have either paid too much (more than the actual value), bit off more of a project than you can fix yourself, or you find out too late that there were a lot of overlooked problems. Or, perhaps you've never even thought of the chance of this happening to you!
We've compared notes with other professionals like Motorheads Performance who are paid to inspect classic cars. We all agree that there is a standard list of items which are typically scrutinized. A buyer wants to be sure of what he is getting - this is why many are willing to hire a professional to look over a vehicle prior to purchase. The buyer has most often looked at many vehicles and has narrowed down his selection to just the one or two that have been his/her own criteria. Having a complete list will help reduce the list of "unexpected" repairs which will be needed down the road, give you greater bargaining power with the seller, and give you peace of mind that what you are paying is reasonable. With the prices of hot rods today, we find that there are many overpriced vehicles on the market just waiting for the unsavvy buyer to come along and fall in love with it.
You should be able to speak with the person who will be performing your inspection so that they can get a feel for what YOU feel is problematic or not. If doing the inspection yourself, be honest with yourself in asking: what will you be using the car for, are you willing to do work yourself, will you be hiring a shop to perform work for you (if so, what is your budget for this), etc. To some, a rotted floor may not seem a big deal, where a leaking transmission may end the sale right then. For another buyer, the opposite may be true. By this time, you should have a feel for what your abilities are, what you are and are not willing to do, and what your wallet will bear.
After rating all areas of the vehicle, you'll be in a much better position to make a good decision. In prior articles, we've looked at how to determine a car's actual value by consulting authoritative guides such as Kelley Blue Book http://www.kbb.com/, and other resources of information such as:
You'll rate the vehicle's value to cost before you even make an appointment to take a look at it. Once you have an appointment, you'll want to be prepared, not only with your list of mandatory items you want, but prepared to take a close look at all the things you don't want! You probably already know many of the basic things to look for. Using a checklist helps you organize your inspection, helps if you need to compare two or more vehicles, and keeps you from overlooking things in the moment of excitement as you're looking over a potential "winner". And, remember to keep a standard system of rating so the comparison is valid.
If you would like to receive the Vehicle Inspection Form we use at Motorheads Performance, please e-mail me at: email@example.com.
Motorheads Performance provides inspection services for anyone interested in purchasing a car or truck from 1920 to 1979.