Bernard says he charges $129 for a full auto inspection.
“We check what we know needs to be checked,” he says. “We check what works, the cooling system, head gasket. We check the paint.”
Allen says his inspections range from free to $200. He typically won’t charge customers just to drive the vehicle around the block and do a visual inspection. He charges $100 to $200 for full inspections, which includes taking the tires off.
“The road test is important,” Allen says. “Roll the windows up and shut all noises off. Steer the car to the left and right. Just by listening, you can tell a lot about the car, whether the bearings or brakes are going bad.”
He says if you’re at an auction or dealership and can’t have the car inspected, it’s a good idea to inspect the vehicle as thoroughly as you can. He adds that customers should look under the hood at the transmission fluid, adding that the fluid should still be pink and you should be able to read a newspaper through it.
“If it’s burnt, don’t buy it,” he says.
Allen says it’s also a good idea to look at the engine oil, which should be opaque, but a lighter color.
“If it’s black or crusty, then the oil wasn’t changed [frequently] enough,” he says “It was a neglected car. Also, look … for leaks.”