How A Pre-Purchase Inspection Works


FEES: The base fee for a PPI is $275 + any gas expenditure and tolls incurred. There is no charge for driving time. Payment is made prior to the inspection, either by PAYPAL (preferred method) or by check mailed to my place of business. Refunds, such as might occur if the seller or you changes their mind, or if the vehicle is sold beforehand, will be issued promptly to you in the same manner as payment was received.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING AN INSPECTION: A Pre-Purchase Inspection is a process that can take 2 to 3 hours to complete, with the inspector examining, photographing and driving the car. Once this process is completed, you will be sent, electronically, a written report describing the car and the road test in detail (no mere checklists!) , soon followed by anywhere from 30 to 50 high resolution photos which will focus on individual aspects of the car that the inspector wishes to bring to your attention. These photos are not beauty shots. Chances are the seller has already provided you with that kinds of photo. Each photo I send you will be identified by a descriptive file name and will reference the written report. These may include body, trim, chassis, engine and interior. In addition, the fee I charge you includes phone time with me, after you have examined the written report and the photographs. If the item is not mentioned in the report, it was not inspected.

WHAT AN INSPECTION CAN AND CANNOT DO: My goal is to provide you with significantly more information than you are likely to get from an advertisement or from talking to the seller. I am your eyes and ears, and your advocate. In a sense, I am vastly improving your odds of getting the car you were hoping to find, or preventing you from making a mistake. An inspection is not, however, a warranty. I am the bearer of good new and bad news. Given the time frame and the constraints of the car's location, it would be impossible to notice every little defect. Think of the PPI as a kind of filter that can catch the worst things, but not the microscopic ones, nor the hidden ones. Moreover, please remember also that my inspection report reflects the condition and behavior of the vehicle at the time of the inspection. (we do record mileage however).

In addition, I cannot disassemble someone else's car on your behalf, due to liability issues. Such things as pulling wheels or doing a compression test are beyond the scope of the PPI. If you require a mechanical tear-down, perhaps based on what the PPI indicates, then you and the seller will have to arrange that, and perhaps I can make some recommendations. While I am very knowledgeable about classic cars, and have years of experience, I am not representing myself as a licensed automotive technician. Last of all, if the seller promises to repair items mentioned in my report, this is an agreement between the two of you, and I have no control over how or if these promises are kept.

INSPECTION VS. AUTHENTICATION: With classic cars, the subjects of "numbers" and "correctness" often comes up, and these can be quite important for certain cars. Please understand that a PPI inspector is not an Authenticator. He is, by necessity, a generalist. I would be pleased to check on basic VIN and fender tag numbers for you, and, if possible, engine numbers, and reference these to the car's papers, but there is neither the time nor the facility to date-code a car or research if it has all the factory-correct parts on it . For this you would have to hire an authenticator, and this service can be quite expensive, and take a good deal of time to complete.

OTHER FACTORS TO CONSIDER: The PPI is dependent upon the cooperation of the seller and the weather. If either one impedes the PPI, the inspector has to work with what he is given, and will do the best job he can under the circumstances. Inclement weather, poor lighting, or the seller's refusal to allow a test drive will all contribute to a less than ideal inspection. This rarely happens because I take the time to work these things out beforehand; but on rare occasion, surprises do occur and you should remain flexible in your expectations.


Good Hunting!

Best Regards from Joe Troise