There are many advantages of buying a car online. You get many more vehicles to choose from, meaning you can search based on your exact requirements, rather than what’s close to you. You can also get a better price when you are able to search the entire network of used car dealers across the UK.

But buying online means you might not get a chance to see the car before you buy. So how can you be sure that the car is how it’s described by the seller? The answer is to choose a car that comes with a pre-delivery inspection.

Pre-delivery inspection

A pre-delivery inspection is where the car you’re buying is given a thorough and detailed check before it is delivered to you. The trained mechanic will go over a list of items to ensure the car is as described. They will also check other things that you might not have thought of, to ensure the car is in good condition and roadworthy.

The vehicle check should ensure that the car is ready to drive as soon as it is delivered.

What’s included in the inspection?

The inspection should look at every aspect of the car and its driveability. Not just how the car operates mechanically, but also how the onboard computer systems are working, and whether the comfort options are in good order.

At Creditplus, we are an RAC approved dealer. That means we carry out the RAC 82-point approved vehicle preparation standard check on all vehicles we source for our customers. As one of the leading breakdown and mechanical specialists in the country, the RAC are one of the most trusted names in motoring. Here’s what we need to do to ensure that each vehicle passes our check.

Check the vehicle history

As part of the inspection, the car will be given a vehicle history check to ensure that it is what it says it is. The vehicle identification number (VIN) will be examined to ensure it matches the documentation. The most recent MOT will be sourced to ensure the information matches up, and check if scheduled maintenance on the car has been carried out. They will also check the engine number, again to ensure it’s the right one for the make and model and hasn’t had any alterations that haven’t been declared.

Road test

The car will also undergo a road test as part of the inspection. This will examine the way the vehicle starts – does it turnover okay? Does it struggle to get going? The clutch and gearbox will be checked, as will things like the battery level and the handbrake. The inspector will listen out for any unusual noises that could signify there’s an issue with the car. The gauges such as the fuel and speedometer will also be checked to ensure they are giving the correct reading.

Outside the car

The car’s condition will also be examined during the inspection. Any dents in the bodywork will be checked to ensure they aren’t too big or have damaged the paintwork. The windscreen will be examined to check for any chips or cracks. The wing mirrors will be checked to ensure they can be adjusted and aren’t damaged. The locks and key fobs will be given a quick check, as will the bonnet and boot catches. They will also look at any repairs carried out to the car’s structure to ensure they have been done to manufacturer’s specifications. The car’s lights will also be inspected to ensure they are working and have the correct level of brightness.

Inside the car

Cars today are so complicated that the number of systems involved in operating them need to be examined. If a car has onboard warning systems then they need to be checked. As will the warning lights and air-conditioning systems, to ensure the windows can be demisted. Windscreen wipers, indicator lights, any sunroof mechanism. 

And it’s not just the electronics. The driver pedals will be checked again to ensure they have the right amount of pressure. The seatbelts will be examined to ensure they lock correctly. There’ll be checks to ensure no water has managed to get inside through seals. The dashboard will be checked for cleanliness, the parcel shelf for load-bearing, and even the sun visors will be given the once over.

Tyre check

The tyres will also be given a check to ensure the tread depth is correct. All four road wheels will be examined carefully for any distortion or debris, or that there are no cracks in the rubber.

Engine compartment

One of the biggest checks takes place to the engine and the compartment. The oil, water and coolant levels will be checked and topped up if needed. Gearbox fluid levels will also be examined. The safety mounts and fastenings will be checked to ensure they are tight and secure, with no erosion having taken place. All the hoses and wires will be checked to see they are clear of debris and securely attached. The inspection will also check the battery to ensure it is able to charge itself efficiently.

There are additional checks carried out on hybrid cars so that their specialist cooling system and power-train mount are working.

Underneath the car

The car will also have its bottom examined to ensure its in a good condition. The exhaust mountings and clamps will be checked for tightness. The catalytic converter will be examined, and there’s a check for any exhaust leaks. Front and rear shock absorbers and suspension will be checked, and the brake pads will be examined for any clear signs of damage. The chassis itself will also be checked for corrosion.

And finally,

The car will also be given a full clean and valet, to add the icing to the cake! The service history will be collated into a pack and the owner’s manual and wheel nut tool will be examined.

It really is an exhaustive check, giving you plenty of peace of mind knowing the car you’re buying is in excellent working condition. So, if you are buying online, look for a proper, thorough, approved pre-delivery inspection.

Get your RAC-inspected car today

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