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Get a pre purchase inspection from Glenwood before buying a used vehicle in Saskatoon

Staying on top of regular maintenance keeps your vehicle running better for longer. Glenwood Auto are Trusted Saskatoon Auto Repair Experts, and we're ready to help you with all your maintenance needs. In our latest Saskatoon auto tip, we share info on getting a pre-purchase inspection before buying a used vehicle.

Finding the used car that’s right for you takes time, and when you finally find ‘the one,’ it can be tempting to rush through the buying process to get into the driver’s seat as soon as possible. Before you fully commit, there’s one more important step to take – and that’s a pre-purchase inspection (PPI).

What is a used car pre-purchase inspection?

A PPI is a vehicle inspection performed by a licensed mechanic or auto technician who will give the vehicle a thorough inspection to determine its cosmetic, mechanical and safety condition. The mechanic will pinpoint any existing conditions and highlight potential issues that could arise in the future, and will investigate to make sure any previous damage has been properly repaired. By learning more about what’s happening under the hood, you could end up more confident that you’re making a great purchase, decide that it’s not the right ride for you, or uncover some details to leverage in your price negotiations.

What will they check for in a pre-purchase inspection?

Your mechanic will do a safety inspection to check for many things during the PPI. Ideally, you’ll have a CARFAX Canada Vehicle History Report that will alert them to the vehicle’s damage history so they are aware of the areas requiring extra-detailed inspections before they get started. Letting them know where to look will help them determine that any damage in the vehicle’s past has been carefully and thoroughly repaired.

Basic inspections are largely visual, but if you’re looking for a detailed inspection (which is highly recommended) it should include an engine and mechanical system check, putting the car up on a lift and checking for broken/rusted components, leaks and more. It’s also helpful for the mechanic to take the vehicle for a test drive so they can assess its steering, braking and listen for any strange sounds.

What if I find damage during a vehicle inspection?

This depends on whether the damage was disclosed prior to the PPI. A vehicle with damage history can still be a great buy, and can often be your opportunity to get into a more premium model than you would have considered otherwise. The PPI is one way to ensure that previous damage has been properly repaired and the car is safe to drive, and the extent of that damage can be a great negotiation point when you’re talking price with the seller.

However, if the seller indicated there was no damage history and was not willing to prove it with a CARFAX Canada report, you may re-consider doing business with this individual. If they were dishonest about this key piece of information, it’s questionable if you can trust them to legitimately close the deal.

How much does a safety inspection cost, and who usually pays?

While this could be something you negotiate with the seller, typically the buyer will cover the cost of the inspection, which usually ranges from $100-$200. This price can be higher or lower depending on the level of detail with which the inspection is conducted.

I’ve had the vehicle inspection. Now what?

Depending on what you learn from the vehicle inspection and the vehicle history report, it’s now time to decide whether to buy the car. If you feel like it’s the right vehicle for you, go back to the seller to negotiate price. If you’re buying from a dealer they’ll take care of the rest for you, and if you’re buying privately see the rules and regulations below. 



  • In Saskatchewan, all retail sales are final. As a buyer, keep in mind that unless clearly stated verbally or in writing by a seller, there is no cancellation period for returning a vehicle.
  • The seller must provide the buyer with the ‘Transfer of Ownership’ or ‘Vehicle Identification Certificate’ that’s attached to the seller’s registration certificate, along with a Bill of Sale.
  • The buyer can use the license plates from their original vehicle on a new vehicle for up to seven days when they buy a new or used vehicle in Saskatchewan. Before that time expires, the buyer should take the completed Transfer of Ownership form and the Bill of Sale to a Motor Licence Issuer.
  • The Motor Licence Issuer will let the buyer know if they are required to pay PST on the vehicle. PST does not apply to the purchase of eligible used light vehicles on which tax has been previously paid in full. The buyer can also determine if PST is payable on a particular vehicle by using Saskatchewan Government Insurance’s free online Saskatchewan VIN search.

For more information, visit the Saskatchewan Government Insurance.

A pre-purchase safety inspection is the final step in determining if the car you’re considering is the right one for you. By arming yourself with information from a PPI, you can be confident about the vehicle’s history, its current state and potentially gain some leverage for your price negotiations.

 If you need auto service you can trust, book an appointment today.


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