Buying guides

Professional Inspections

Worried about buying a lemon? Then call in the experts to check it over

Cars are becoming increasingly complicated, and even people who are happy poking about under the bonnet can easily be daunted by modern vehicles. That's why it can be worth calling in the professionals; a qualified engineer with all the right tools and test equipment will give a written report on how good a car is.

Such checks aren't cheap as they're usually over £100, but you could end up saving a lot more than that if you're considering buying what turns out to be a liability. If you're a member of a major breakdown organisation you should be able to get a discounted vehicle check, but it'll still be quite a chunk of cash.

HPI recommends an AA vehicle inspection. You can choose between the standard inspection which looks at 155 items, or the 206-point comprehensive inspection. As with many such professional inspection services, not all vehicles are eligible. The types of car that aren't eligible for professional inspections include imports, older cars or anything particularly valuable. As a result you may need to call in a local mechanic to look over one of these instead.

If you do call in the experts but then have a major problem, you should be able to claim against the company that did the inspection and there should be some form of financial redress available.

A cheap alternative which looks at all the key areas is an MoT. You can put a car through an MoT at any time, and for relatively little money you can establish if there are any serious faults with the vehicle.