They call me Robby the Mobile Mechanic – inspector of used cars, defender of deals. Folks often ask me “Can a mobile mechanic check a car you want to buy at a dealer?“. You bet they can!
After 20+ years fixing engines, I know vehicles inside out. In this guide, I’ll use my certified master technician skills to explain why having a mobile mechanic inspect any used car before buying from a dealer is a must.
You’ll get my insider tips on what mobile mechanics check, why they’re better than dealer inspections, and how to find a trustworthy one. With my advice, you’ll drive off the dealer’s lot knowing that used car is safe, sound, and a steal. Let’s roll!
Why Choose a Mobile Mechanic for a Used Car Inspection?
As an experienced mechanic myself, I’m obviously biased. But there are some great reasons why a mobile mechanic is the best choice for a pre-purchase used car inspection:
- Convenience: We come to you! No need to schedule time to drop off the car somewhere. A Mobile Mechanic will meet you at the dealership or owner’s home whenever works for your schedule.
- Efficiency: You don’t have to wait around a shop all day for the inspection. A mobile mechanic will perform it quickly right on site and can discuss any issues immediately.
- Objective 3rd Party Opinion: As an independent mechanic, a mobile mechanic has no incentive to sell you the car like the dealer does. They will give you an honest, unbiased assessment.
- Expert Knowledge: Mobile mechanics are experienced specialists who know exactly what to look for when inspecting a used vehicle. They can spot problems dealers or sellers may try to hide.
- Peace of Mind: A comprehensive mobile mechanic inspection report will give you confidence about the car’s condition and equip you to make an informed purchase decision.
Where to Find a Reliable Mobile Mechanic
Searching online reviews is a good way to find a reputable mobile mechanic in your area. Look for technicians with ASE certifications and a long history of satisfied customers. If you already have a trusted local mechanic, ask if they offer mobile services.
Dealerships may also have mobile technicians on staff or partnerships with mobile mechanics they work with regularly. Don’t rely solely on the dealer’s own inspection though. You want that objective 3rd party opinion.
I also recommend services like YourMechanic that have vetted, background checked mobile mechanics available on-demand through an online booking platform. Their technicians are experienced with inspections and come fully equipped to thoroughly assess any used car.
What Does a Used Car Inspection Include?
A comprehensive used car inspection by a qualified mobile mechanic checks over 100 items inside and out. It goes well beyond just a quick test drive and glance under the hood.
Here are some key elements I always include in my thorough pre-purchase inspections:
- Vehicle History Report Review – Checks for red flags like salvage titles, flood damage, or excessive owners.
- Diagnostic Scan – Reads error codes to reveal hidden mechanical issues.
- Fluid Level and Leak Checks – Low or dirty fluids can indicate problems.
- Suspension, Steering, and Alignment Assessment – Identifies worn parts needing repair.
- Brake, Tire, and Wheel Condition – Evaluates life left and replacement costs.
- Engine Performance Test – Checks for issues like oil leaks, smoke, odd noises.
- Transmission and Drivetrain Evaluation – Shifts should be smooth without slipping or hesitation.
- Electrical System and Technology Verification – Confirms all features and accessories function properly.
- Exterior and Structural Inspection – Looks for accident damage, dents, rust, paint issues.
- Interior Examination – Notes damage, stains, odors indicating water leaks or other problems.
- Road Test – Test drives vehicle on real roads, highways, hills etc.
I’ll also provide photos documenting any issues discovered and include clear recommendations regarding repairs needed, projected costs, and an opinion on the car’s value. My goal is to equip you with everything needed to make a wise purchase decision.
Why a Pre-Purchase Inspection is Worth the Cost
A professional mobile mechanic typically charges around $100-$150 for a used car inspection. Some specialists or exotics/classics mechanics may cost closer to $200-$300.
That may seem expensive when you’re eager to drive the car home, but it is well worth the small investment. Catching even a single major issue like engine trouble can end up saving you thousands in repair costs down the road.
A thorough inspection also identifies any maintenance that will be needed soon like brake pads, giving you a more realistic idea of the car’s true cost of ownership. If serious problems are found, you can use that information to demand a lower price or walk away confidently from a potential lemon.
When to Call a Mobile Mechanic for an Inspection
I recommend arranging a mobile mechanic to inspect any used car before you finalize a purchase, whether from a private party or dealership. This includes certified pre-owned vehicles. CPO just means it passed the manufacturer facility standards, not that it’s perfect. I recommend using ASE, I trust them to provide an unbeatable service.
The only exception would be a virtually brand new car with verifiable service records and a warranty from the manufacturer still in effect. In those cases, a PPI is less critical but still a good idea if you really want to be 100% sure of the car’s condition.
For any older used car, mileage and condition unknown, a pre-purchase inspection is absolutely vital. Don’t trust online photos or the seller’s word alone. Spend the small fee for peace of mind and make your purchase decision based on an expert mobile mechanic’s objective assessment. It’s the smartest way to find and confidently buy a quality used car that will serve you well.
Can a Mobile Mechanic Check a Car You Want to Buy at a Dealer FAQs
What is the California Right to Repair Act automotive?
The California Right to Repair Act requires automotive manufacturers to provide independent auto repair shops access to the same service information, diagnostic tools, and replacement parts as manufacturer-authorized dealerships. This levels the playing field and gives consumers more choice in where they can get their vehicles serviced.
How do I file a complaint against a mechanic in California?
If you want to file a complaint against a mechanic in California, first document the details of your experience including dates, repairs done, costs, and any damage or issues. Bring this to the mechanic or shop manager first to try resolving it directly. If that fails, you can file a complaint with the California Bureau of Automotive Repair or sue in small claims court if damages are under $10,000.
Can a mechanic keep your car in PA?
In Pennsylvania, a mechanic cannot legally keep possession of your car in attempt to force payment of alleged unpaid repair bills. This constitutes vehicle theft. The proper course of action is to notify the car owner and pursue payment through the court system if needed rather than illegally holding the vehicle.
Can I be a mechanic if I know nothing about cars?
You can become a mechanic even if you start with no knowledge about cars. Good mechanical aptitude helps, but most training occurs through on-the-job experience, vocational school, community college programs, or certification classes. Hands-on learning working under an experienced mechanic can teach you what you need to know.
Can a mechanic keep your car in Texas?
No, in Texas mechanics cannot legally keep possession of a customer's car to try and obtain payment for services. Doing so could result in charges of auto theft or illegal racketeering. The correct process is sending billing statements and pursuing payment in court if the owner refuses to pay.