Car Buying

What is a Car Inspection? (Vehicle Inspections Explained)

If you’ve done much shopping for used cars, or if you have an interest in cars in general, you may well have heard about car inspections. Getting one can be one of the best decision you ever make when it comes to buying a used vehicle. They add safety, protect value, and offer true peace of mind when you’re buying a car. Before you commit to getting one however, it’s only natural to wonder what a car inspection actually is, what is involved, and why they’re so great in the first place. Book one right now, seller will always say there is nothing wrong with the vehicle.

Car Inspection Definition

A car or vehicle inspection is a service offered by a specialist or expert provider where a trained inspector will inspect your vehicle inside and out to find any problems that are present or are even showing early stages of happening. This information is then provided to you directly so that if there are any problems with the vehicle in question, you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into, whether you want to complete the purchase, and whether or not you need to barter the price down for it to be a good deal.

What Does the Inspector Do?

Inspectors check your vehicle using their specific checklist, getting both inside and outside of your car thoroughly looked at. They use specialist tools and facilities to check everything possible, even past the things that the dealers know about.

There is a full comparison list of the vehicle inspections offered by CarExamer here that show all of the different areas you can expect to be inspected, with the main areas being things like:

  • The Engine Compartment
  • Electrical Controls
  • Wheels and Tyres
  • Suspension and Steering
  • Transmission
  • Suspension
  • Body Exterior
  • Cooling Systems

And a huge range of other areas.

They also often include a road test where the vehicle inspector will test drive the car for a set time or distance to make sure that any problem that only occurs when the vehicle is actually being driven can be seen and reported on, or investigated further if required.

How Do I Get The Results?

Once the car inspection is completed, you will receive a report online that tells you everything that has been spotted in the test. With CarExamer, that also includes photographs free of charge so that you can see the problems that are being described. 

That comes from our online portal where you can log in to see the status of your inspection in real-time and talk to the inspector about what’s going on. Other services may differ in how they operate, so this does depend on your provider.

What are the Benefits of a Car Inspection?

So once you know what car inspections are and how they take place the next place people often look at is why they’re so great to get. That goes for everyone, whether you’re familiar with vehicles or not since the inspectors go into more depth than practically any other vehicle service.


The biggest benefit for most people is the money-saving aspect that inspection provides. You are being told exactly what you’re putting your money into, and what you’re likely to need to pay for in the time that you own the car, should any problems take place. For most people, knowing the problems a car has without having to find out first hand is worth its weight in gold.


On top of the financial safety that an inspection provides, you also have to remember that your safety is being prioritised too. Buying a vehicle that has problems you aren’t aware of can often mean you’re putting yourself at risk. If something serious goes wrong with the car while you’re using it, that can risk your own safety as well as other road users.

Peace of Mind

On top of money and safety, you also need to remember how much peace of mind and inspection could give you. It’s a sure way to know that you’re getting into something you know is in good condition without any nasty surprises down the line. That’s really valuable information, especially if you’re not confident in your vehicle.

What Kinds of Car Inspection are there?

Not all car inspections are created alike. Different companies offer different services, just like anything, and choosing the best one depends on a lot of different factors. Even in the same business, typically inspection packages are split into budget and premium levels of service to help you find the best fitting deal balancing money and depth of the inspection.

CarExamer, for example, offers the widest range of inspections from the mainstream market, with four packages present:

  • Budget – from £83.99 – 80+ points checked
  • Basic – from £125.99 – 100+ points checked
  • Standard – from £167.99 – 200+ points checked
  • Premium – from £239.99 – 300+ points checked

As you can see, you can choose the value of vehicle inspection you need to for your specific situation and find the right balance of specificity and cost to make the service the perfect fit. We have an article on choosing the right package in more depth, here.

How Long Does a Car Inspection Take?

Inspections vary in time depending on how many points need to checked and who is providing your inspection. Typically speaking, the middle of the road inspection should take around 100 minutes. For the more simple inspections like our budget package, that’s more like 60 minutes, and for the more advanced package like our premium service, it’s more like 150 minutes.

Remember though that this also factors in the road test which is where the car will be taken out by the inspector for a test drive, which usually takes 10-20 minutes on its own.

It’s also important to know though that an inspection can typically be done without you having to be present. As long as prior permission is given from the vehicle seller and the details are given to the inspection service, the inspection can be carried out without you there, and the report will be sent to you online automatically.

How do I get a Car Inspection?

Once you’re ready to book your service and you’re aware of what package you’d like to undertake and have the permission from the vehicle holder, all that is left to do is speak to the provider.

CarExamer has an online booking system so that you can find the time and place that fits your inspection requirements, and once they know where to go and when, you just need to wait for the result.

Car inspections can typically be done anywhere as inspectors are entirely mobile, so you don’t need to get the car to a specific location. It’s also good to note than cancellations are also free provided you give enough notice, so there’s no commitment if you’re still on the fence about buying.

Are They Worth the Money?

To decide whether or not car inspections are worth the money, you need to consider simply the value they have to province you. If there’s a risk when you’re buying your vehicle and you feel it’s worth the price on an inspection to find out, then it’s likely a good time to buy one. 

It’s important to balance the risk of an issue as well as the cost of an issue against the cost of an inspection so that you can truly determine what they have to offer you. 

Even small issues when identified pre purchase can help no negotiate a fairer price, but ultimately, it depends entirely on your and your specific situation.

For more information on the CarExamer inspection service and whether or not it’s the right fit, contact the CarEamer team today.

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