300x180xvehicle-inspection-300x180.jpg.pagespeed.ic.-2AUJH-VUsThe One Thing You Need to do Before Negotiating Price on a Car

You have found what you believe is the perfect pre-owned vehicle on the internet. A car that you feel is worthy of importing. It is the right color, has the exact options, and you are happy with the year, make and model. Before making shipping plans and even before you make a final offer there is a step you should take to insure your satisfaction in the vehicle.

You should obtain an independent vehicle inspection.

[Editor’s Notes: You don’t have to be there in person. If you are in Africa, EU, AU, then you are good to go!]

What is an independent vehicle inspection?

Many people aren’t even aware that such services exist. An independent vehicle inspection is literally a hands-on vehicle inspection by someone with automotive experience who acts as your representative. A vehicle inspection will cover a vehicle bumper to bumper, door to door and roofline to tires. Your potential vehicle will get driven, all options will be tested, and a through mechanical inspection will be done. Once the inspection is completed, you will get a written report on the vehicles condition, and you will know whether you are getting a solid used car, or buying someone else’s problems.

Why should I get one?

There are plenty of online resources where you can find information on cars. The internet is full of consumer reports, model comparisons, and price guides. You can, and should, even get a history report for a particular vehicle. But only an independent vehicle inspection can provide you with the peace of mind of knowing what condition that vehicle is in RIGHT NOW.

Here are some of the benefits of an independent vehicle inspection:

  • It can verify the condition of the vehicle
  • It can confirm whether the vehicle is a non-smoking vehicle
  • An inspection can interpret engine codes
  • Hidden body or frame issues can be discovered
  • It will confirm options are as described
  • Poor body repair or other repair work may be uncovered
  • Flood or water damage can better be detected

What should I do if problems are discovered?

One of the beautiful things about a vehicle inspection is that it gives you options. If the vehicle is as described, you’ll want to move ahead with the purchase. If problems are discovered, the inspector can help you determine if they are fixable, and at what approximate costs. You can then decide to negotiate with the seller based on the discovered issues, or offer to purchase the vehicle if the discovered problems are fixed. If the problems are too big of a concern, you can move on to another vehicle. You would have “wasted” your inspection fee, but that may be a small investment that prevented future larger losses.

How much will an inspection cost me?

There are a variety of independent inspection companies who provide the service, and services can be done on site or in a shop. Ebay offers premium inspections from a company called InspectMyRide.com for $179 (US). There are plenty of other options for an independent vehicle inspection as well. Some start as low as $99. That seems like a reasonable fee when thousands or tens of thousands of dollars are at stake.

Make sure you have a full understanding of what is included in the inspection and verify that you will get a written report. That written report can be worth many times its price in gaining you peace of mind or in negotiating a better price.

What if the seller refuses to allow an inspection?

If a dealer or other seller seems reluctant about allowing an independent vehicle inspection, it may be an indication the vehicle may not be as described. When you’ve found that perfect vehicle, you don’t want to be disappointed when it finally arrives. It may be a sign to move on. If you are going to spend the time and money to import a vehicle, consider using the services of an independent vehicle inspector before negotiating a price.

Gina Jennings is a digital marketer who works with two of Oklahoma City’s leading car dealerships, David Stanley Dodge and David Stanley Chevrolet.

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Important info to Ship a Car Overseas:
  • No car can leave USA if it has a lien on it. What does this mean? Your car must be paid in full. The only people who can ship a car overseas and still carry a lien on the car are US Military and Government employees/contractors. For those people a letter of authorization from the lender will need to be issued to pass US Customs. Otherwise the car may be considered stolen.
  • A clear Title of Ownership with no Liens on the Title.
  • If you bought a car new, then your name must be listed on the front of the Title as the registered owner.
  • If the vehicle has been sold, then both the Seller and Buyer have to sign the back of the Title in the spaces as detailed on the back of the Title.
  • For safety reasons, the vehicle cannot have more than a ¼ tank of gas.
Import Duty for Destination Country:
  • Import duty is NOT collected by Ship Overseas. It must be paid at the arrival port by whoever is picking up the car. We wrote a blog post about vehicle import duty here. It talks about how to find out import duty for your country.
Travel & Living Abroad:
  • Most countries will allow a traveler to temporarily import their car for up to 6 months. After the 6 months is up, import duty will be charged. For many travelers going to Europe and taking their car, a deposit is paid up front. When the car goes back to it's destination country, the deposit is refunded. If a person has lived in USA for 1 or more years, most countries will allow that person to bring their car back duty free! The car must not have any liens on it. Please check with your Customs Department first.
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