Pre-Purchase Inspection recommended when buying a used car


If you buy from a dealer, request a free vehicle history report on a used car.

Have a trusted mechanic inspect the used vehicle before you buy. This may cost around $100 or more, but could save you money in the long run.

Check the vehicle's history. Instead of taking the salesperson's word about the history and condition of the vehicle, get a vehicle-history report from CarFax ( or Experian Automotive ( They can alert you to possible odometer fraud; reveal past flood, fire and accident damage; or tell you if a rebuilt or salvage title was ever issued for the vehicle. And that’s if it is reported.

Almost all used cars in Arizona are sold “as is.” That means that no matter what a salesperson may tell you, the dealer doesn’t have to fix the car if it breaks – unless (1) he says in your contract he will fix it; or (2) the problem falls within Arizona’s Lemon Law. (article from

Micro Import Service will perform an extensive, 25-point inspection that includes:

  • Collision damage, body repair, signs of vehicle having water damage or flooding
  • Tire condition and wear patterns on all tires, including spare
  • Alignment as related to tire wear patterns
  • Condition of struts and shocks, front and rear
  • Condition of front and rear brakes, including emergency brake adjustment
  • Brake hydraulic system, brake master cylinder, brake lines, and wheel cylinders (as applicable) for possible leaks
  • Constant velocity boot (C.V. boot) for splits, cracks, and leaks
  • Steering rack boot for splits, cracks, and leaks
  • Clutch hydraulic system, clutch master cylinder, clutch slave cylinder, and pedal adjustment (if applicable)
  • Exhaust system, muffler, manifolds for exhaust leaks and other damage
  • Antifreeze level and condition
  • Transmission and differential (if applicable) level and condition
  • Brake fluid level and condition
  • Power steering fluid level and condition
  • Engine oil level and condition
  • Transmission and engine for fluid leaks
  • Outer drive belts for cracks and wear
  • Radiator hoses, heater hoses, and fuel hoses for bulges, cracks, leaks, and dry rot
  • Battery and alternator output and battery cable and terminal condition
  • Windshield wiper system operation and condition of wiper blades and inserts
  • Light operation throughout vehicle for operation/illumination
  • Air conditioning temperature at vents, and sight glass on metal line for any bubbles indicating that further inspection would be warranted—obvious AC failures that can be visually noted
  • Tail pipe emissions—note that emissions readings can be a key indicator of vehicle condition.

Additionally, we advise you if the official timing belt sticker is affixed on the vehicle, indicating whether the timing belt has been replaced according to manufacturer specification. All inspections are recorded and provided in a written response.

Give Mike or Katie a call us if you would like more info or to set up an appointment for a pre-purchase inspection.