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What Should a Vehicle Inspection Cost?

A vehicle inspection is a complicated thing when you aren’t sure what you’re looking for. There are way more options out there than most people realise, and as a result, things can get seriously confusing. It’s only normal when you’re shopping to take a look around before you make your choice, and to help you do that, CarExamer is here to help.

We’re not going to sit here and blow our own trumpet since that wouldn’t do you much good. Instead, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide of some of the biggest names in vehicle and used car inspections so that you don’t have to do all of that legwork yourself.

There a lot to all of them, and they all have different pros and cons. What’s important to remember is not just to jump in with the first brand you see. Check out the facts, and see which choice is right for you personally.

Vehicle Check Categories

Before we dive into the serious nitty-gritty stuff that goes into each different vehicle inspection, it’s always a good call to make things simple. The best way to do that is to stop and think about what all of them have in common. If that doesn’t work, then we need to look at the services that are being offered. Typically, they fall into 3 different categories.

  • Basic Vehicle inspections
  • Standard Vehicle Inspections
  • Comprehensive/Advanced Vehicle Inspections

Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, and as you’ve probably guessed, each one is in more depth than the last, and a little (or a lot) pricier too. Depending on what you ask for, where you ask and the car you’re asking about, that all build up what a vehicle inspection costs.

Basic Vehicle Inspections

This is usually the bottom of the deck. We’re not by any means saying this is the worst choice to go for since every situation is different, but it is the least advanced. The plus side to that is that it’s the most budget-friendly too. 

So should you pay less for a basic used car check? Well, it depends entirely on you. Realistically speaking, it depends on what you’re putting at risk. What we mean by that is what is happening with the car. If you are buying yourself a new car for a very low price just to drive until it collapses, a basic check may be the perfect fit. There’s no point in going into massive depth for a low-cost car after all (although a basic check is never a bad call to protect you and your money).

It’s all relative, and it all depends on how risky your situation and the car is.

Standard Vehicle Checks

As you probably already guessed again, this is the middle of the road option of the vehicle checks you have available. It may even be called a comprehensive vehicle inspection by some companies, but for the sake of looking at mid-tier options, we’ll stick with standard for clarity.

These are pretty much what you’d expect from the situation. They are quite a dramatic jump from basic since they offer you so much more detail (usually for not too much more money).

You’ll usually see a better road test time or distance, if not a dramatically later checklist being carried out on the vehicle you’ve chosen. It’s way more in-depth and really helps make sure your car is going to last you as long as possible, keep you safe the whole time, and protect your investment too. You’re in this for the long game after all.

Premium/Advanced Vehicle Checks

Finally, we have the top tier of car checks. These are the creme de la crème, the icing on the cake, the best possible solution to any used car conundrum. If you don’t know what you’re looking for (or even if you do), this is the choice that will find everything you could possibly need.

These really spare no detail to make sure that you are in the best possible hands, and as a result, you guessed it, they’re the most expensive too. It makes sense for the time, effort and attention to detail that goes into them, so it’s always justifiable.

If your we vehicle is going to cost you a pretty penny, this is the one to watch. There’s nothing worse than buying a new car to find even after perfect use for a month that there’s some kind of hidden car killer. It can be anything from engine mapping, hybrid technology or anything else really that’s hard to see without years of experience under the bonnet.

They are expensive, but you get what you pay for.

For more information on how used car inspections work, don’t forget to check out our guide on that too

The Costs of Vehicle Inspections

Now that we have the types of vehicle inspections out of the way that are out there, it’s time to get onto the main event. How much should you actually be paying for vehicle inspection, and what do you have to choose from. We won’t go into too much depth as there are links to each of the sites for you to see for yourself, but to give you an overview, this is what you would see when you visited their sites.

AA Vehicle Checks

AA is one of the biggest brands in the motoring world. They have a huge presence in the UK, and for that reason, they’re usually the to-go-to brand for things like this. They aren’t the only one out there, but simply because of their sheer size, they’re a brand that many feel they can trust.

When it actually comes down to their inspection process, things look like this:

Basic From £142*

Number of Checks 155

Comprehensive From £191

Number of Checks 206

This is essentially the benchmark we’ll work from simply because of how popular AA vehicle checks are. You know you’re dealing with a reasonable quality service form such a trusted brand, but as a result, compared to the rest of cheks we looked at, the AA vehicle inspection was actually the most expensive for what they had to offer.

CarExamer Vehicle Checks

Number 2 on our list of services has to be CarExamer. You didn’t really expect us to sit this one out did you? Who knows more about vehicle inspections than a vehicle inspection company after all. We won’t sugar coat things; this is exactly what you can find on our site:

Engineers report from £269.99

Basic From £138.99

Number of Checks 100+

Standard From £184.99

Number of Checks 200+  

Premium From £249.99

Number of Checks 300+

As you can see, the price is a lot lower, even despite the higher number of points n the checklist. That’s one of the biggest reasons we need to spread to word about value for money. Since you aren’t paying for such a titan brand, you’re able to save a lot of money just by shopping around. As far as value for money goes, we’re definitely the top of the list (but of course we’re going to say that. Make sure you check for yourself too).

RAC Vehicle Checks

Finally, in addition to the AA vehicle check we saw earlier, the RAC is another of the biggest auto brands in the country. As a result, they also have a highly reputable car inspection service ready and waiting for you to take a look at:

Basic From £99*

Number of Checks 218

Comprehensive From £189

Number of Chicks 317

Advanced From £239

Number of Checks 317

The data you see here doesn’t lie, and neither do we; despite the higher cost compared to CarExamer, they’re still much cheaper than the AA for what is offered and they have the most checks on their checklist. It’s all there in black and white. It does cost more even for the basic checks, but you do get those extra points, and until you find out what they are, it’s hard to determine if they’re worth the extra money.

The Take-Away

After all is said and done, the choice always has to come back down to you. IT’s always your choice who you let look after your vehicle, and that will never change. There is one piece of advice we’d always give before you go though, and that’s this:

Never made a decision simply based on a brand. Especially when it comes to cars. If you’ve ever bought car insurance, you’ll be the first to know. Car brands are happy to charge simply for the privilege of a brand. Whether you’re looking at insurance companies or a new model, you always pay for what kind of brand you’re working with. That has a lot of weight behind it, but it isn’t everything.

Always do your homework when it comes to driving, and always make sure you’re being as safe as you possibly can be.

For more information of everything we’ve mentioned here, check out the sources we got it from: