Where to Get a Reliable Car Safety Inspection

March 14, 2012

A car safety inspection has two aspects: the vehicle history, which can be looked up through the VIN, and a physical check by a reputable mechanic.

Car Safety Inspection

In these economic times, when everyone is looking to save money, buying a used car instead of a new one is great, and getting a car safety inspection is the fastest and most reliable way of ensuring that your new vehicle really is a great deal.

Where to Look for a Car Safety Inspection
You can usually find a discount car safety inspection close to home, and there are several places to start.

If you have the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), several Internet-based companies will offer you a short history of the car. These histories will include any reported accidents the car has been in, the car's chain of title, and information about whether the car was purchased, leased, or a fleet vehicle.

However, these reports can't tell you whether the car was in an unreported accident. That's where an actual inspection comes in.

Using Mechanics You Can Trust
If have a local mechanic whom you trust and have worked with before, you can ask the used car dealer if you can take the car to your mechanic before you finalize the purchase. If the car dealer doesn't agree, either he's hiding something, his customer service is distinctly lacking, or both. In either case, it's time to take your business to someone who's more accommodating.

If you don't have a local mechanic you trust, and you are an AAA member, you can always pop into your local AAA office and ask if they have any local mechanics they recommend for a discount car safety inspection. They may even be able to point you in the direction of local used car dealerships that they have relationships with and trust.

Finally, although you are buying a used car, you can always take it to a dealership for a safety inspection. Nobody knows specific cars better than the dealerships that sell them, and dealerships have a desire to avoid being complicit in selling people bad used cars, because it only hurts their brand image.

Buying a used car is often the best economic decision, but you have a responsibility to yourself to make sure that the car you are buying is safe and reliable.

Related Questions and Answers

Do Car Inspection Stations Perform Safety Checks?

Car inspection stations do not all inspect cars for safety. Whether or not they do safety inspections depends on the laws governing the state in which you live. Beginning on August 1st, 2010, New Jersey joined 29 other states in the U.S. that do not require a safety inspection. Emission tests, however, are mandatory in all cities where the quality of air does not meet the legal standards of the Clean Air Act. You need to check with your local government to find out if your locality requires these tests. Required emission checks can be done at state licensed car inspection stations. Certain states allow private garages to hold licenses to perform emission tests, but most areas have these tests performed by government run car inspection stations.

Are Small Car Safety Inspections Cheaper than Bigger Cars, Like Trucks or SUVs?

Small car safety doesn't come any cheaper than safety for a big car or an SUV. Basically, a safety inspection of a small car costs the same as an inspection of a large car. This pricing practice is reasonable. All the same items have to be inspected regardless of the size of the car. Some areas require all vehicles to be inspected for safety, regardless of size, on a bi-annual basis. Although, there are some states that do not. The cost of small car safety isn't usually incurred in the cost of the test. Maintaining safety regulations in a small car becomes costly after the test finds components of the vehicle unsafe, thus requiring repair. The costs accrue with the repair work. This still can be cheaper than the cost of maintaining safety in a larger vehicle. Repair costs for larger vehicles tend to be more expensive than repairs to small cars. An annual inspection of all safety aspects of your vehicle prior to testing should ensure it passes the test for small car safety.

Is there a Difference between European Car Safety Inspections and American or Japanese Cars?

European car safety is far more strict and regulated than American car safety. While some states in the U.S. have opted not to have car safety inspections, the European Union has mandated that all cars over four years old must have regular inspections. Different countries in Europe have imposed their own rules as to how often these inspections need to be performed. For example in Britain, the MOT is an annual inspection, without which, your car cannot be re-licensed. Japan, on the other hand, has varying rules according to the use and size of the vehicle. Japan's car safety laws are not far behind the European car safety rules. Business vehicles are required to be tested every year, while private vehicles need to be tested every two years. This rule is called a "shaken" in Japan and can be very strict. Europe, however, still comes out on top with their rules appearing to be stricter than those of most other countries. In all probability, this is because of the narrow twisty European roads. A vehicle needs to be in excellent condition to navigate European roadways and the European car safety rules accomplish this through strict regulations.

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