Having the vehicle inspected prior to the sale is the most effective way of making sure you won’t get stuck with a lemon or pay too much for a vehicle that needs a lot of maintenance. A complete vehicle inspection includes a visual inspection of the body and chassis to spot collision damage. A thorough inspection takes from about 45 minutes to two hours depending on the condition of the car. A more complicated vehicle with lots of accessories, or a vehicle in uneven or poor condition, requires more time. Vans can also take longer because the engine bay is crowded. A thorough inspection should include a road test and a written report should be provided. In some locations, mobile inspection services are also available.
Not all inspections are created equal. The facilities that follow have been chosen from the list of shops provided to APA members, and have performed very well in the past.
Priority Plus Inspection Centre,
302 Horner Avenue, Etobicoke, ON, M8W 1Z3
Consumers needing to have a used car inspected in Greater Toronto can go to Priority Plus Inspection Centre in Etobicoke, located in the Kipling Ave. and Lakeshore area. This APA-recommended inspection-only facility offers a thorough vehicle inspection with a vehicle history report and a manufacturer recall search; the cost is $194.95 plus tax ($174.95 for APA members). The same, full vehicle inspection is also available without the history report and the recall notices for $149.95 plus tax ($129.95 for APA members). The inspection includes a detailed written report.
Priority Plus can also check the condition of specific components on your vehicle, or provide you with a second opinion before you authorize expensive repairs. After the car has been repaired, Priority Plus will re-check the repaired component to ensure that the repair has been done correctly . The re-check costs $30 if the wheels have to be removed; otherwise, it is free.
Priority Plus is open from 10 AM to 5:00 PM Monday to Friday.
1435 Wallace Rd. Oakville, Ontario
This Accredited garage inspects used vehicles based on APA's vehicle inspection form. Basic inspection for APA Members starts at $129.95 plus tax ($149.95 for non members). Additional charges apply for VIN information.
Mobile Vehicle Inspection Service
The APA's recommended mobile used car inspection service includes a meticulous examination of body and mechanical components and an inspection of the odometer for signs of tampering. The service costs $90 ($80 for APA members) including taxes, plus an extra $10 or $20 if you're farther away from the city center. A visit can usually be arranged within one or two days of your phone call. The inspection includes a detailed written report. This service is available on the Island of Montreal and some areas of Laval. There is a modest surcharge for off-island locations including the South Shore, north to Saint-Jerome and east to the Terrebonne and Mascouche areas.
9298 Horton Road S.W., Calgary, AB
Mobile Inspections in Calgary and Lethbridge.
Obtaining a pre-purchase vehicle inspection in Vancouver can be difficult. Some repair shops perform only cursory inspections that will identify tune-up and light maintenance opportunities for the shop. Others will refuse an inspection outright because they don’t want to get into a conflict with a dealer. The mobile inspection service recommended by some used car dealers mystery shopped by the APA performed an incomplete inspection and checked off items that had not been verified.
Eye on Collision Repairs
Located in Delta B.C.
If you’re considering a rebuilt vehicle or have reason to believe the vehicle may have been involved in a significant collision, this is the must-see expert for consumers in the Lower Mainland. A pre-purchase inspection costs $150 at a facility in Delta, or for a small additional charge a mobile inspection at a location closer to the seller. If you bought a badly hit car, Dennis Pieschel is the expert you’ll want in your corner to support your claim. A report with supporting photos that you can use in Court costs from $175 to $250. Mr. Pieschel also acts as an expert in accelerated depreciation cases for luxury vehicles that have lost value after extensive collision repairs. Mr. Pieschel is a former ICBC collision estimator. He offers an inspection-only service, and does not perform repairs. He is available by appointment on Saturdays.
Hemrich Brothers Garage
8506 Ash Street, (Marpole) Vancouver, B.C.
If you’re buying a rebuilt vehicle in Vancouver, this is a shop to consider. A competent mechanical repair facility with good alignment equipment and the knowledge required to use it, derived from setting up vehicles for competition.
For APA members who choose not to use a used car inspection service or members outside Toronto and Montreal, the APA has a list of repair shops in Greater Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Québec, Vancouver and Calgary that can perform a general inspection.
If you plan to use your own repair shop, print the APA Inspection Form below and give it to your repair shop. APA's Form includes the body as well as a mechanical checkup. Inspecting a vehicle prior to purchase is important because it can reveal costly repairs, mechanical work and major collision damage.
APA Vehicle Inspection Form: Click here for the APA VEHICLE INSPECTION FORM