Top 5 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)


1.   How is AutoReportCard different from other online car inspection sites?


AutoReportCard inspections, done by professional mechanics in full-service garages, are just that much more thorough. Many online car inspections are done by “mobile inspectors”, meaning someone will come out to look at your car on the street. This can be a little more convenient, but the inspector may not be a qualified mechanic and the scope of what can be inspected is much more limited since the car obviously can not be checked with tools on a lift. With all the complicated mechanical and electronic systems in today’s cars and trucks, the risk that hidden problems will not be detected is much greater with a mobile inspection.


2.   Do the inspectors check for evidence of previous accidents or flood damage?


Yes. We put the car on a lift and do a complete examination of the car’s mechanical components, including a check of the car’s body.


3.   Does the inspection include a Carfax report?


No. Vehicle history reports can be obtained from Carfax or Autocheck. We think vehicle history reports provide exactly that, “history” on the car. Knowing about things like title and registration, smog checks, maintenance and sometimes whether the vehicle has been “totaled” (written off for salvage by an insurance company) is important, but vehicle history reports do not contain information about the actual current mechanical/electronic condition of the car. When purchasing a car, we think both an inspection and a vehicle history report are important.


4.   Will the inspection include a body check?


Yes. We will inspect the body for obvious damage and signs of accidents.


5.   How much does it cost?


We offer our full service inspection for the price of $119, including unrestricted access to the online inspection report.



Questions of "How"


1.   How long does the inspection take?


Usually one hour, including a full test drive. Some vehicles may take a little longer.


2.   How is AutoReportCard different from other local car garage inspections?


The biggest difference is our standardized procedure and the convenience of viewing and comparing your report to other reports online. All of our mechanics use the exact same procedure when inspecting cars. We avoid subjective judgments when inspecting cars and rely as much as possible on quantitative measurements. The threshold of “pretty good” may vary between different mechanics, but 1/8th of an inch will not. This quantitative process allows us to provide you with reports that have meaning when compared to other reports from our inspections.


3.   How do I get an inspection?


After purchasing an inspection, go to the “garages” page and make an appointment directly with the garage. We are in the process of adding the ability to make an appointment online.


4.   How do I pay for the inspection?


You must purchase an inspection on our website. We currently do not offer the option of purchasing an inspection at one of our partner garages, but we are in the process of adding that level of convenience.


5.   How long does it take to get the report after the inspection?


Our inspection reports are available 24/7 on our website  immediately after the inspection is completed.


6.   How will I know the report is ready?


When the mechanic completes your inspection, the report is available online immediately. You do not need to wait for a confirmation email.


7.   How do I view an inspection online?


Click on the magnifying glass or “search” button at the top of the page. Then enter the VIN number of your vehicle in the box and press return.



Questions of "What, Where, When, Why"


1. Why do I need an inspection?


You are about to invest a significant amount of money into an item that you will spend a lot of time using and relying on. Now is not the time to cut corners, it may cost you more in the future. Reduce the risk by having your car properly inspected. Almost all independent car information sites recommend getting an inspection done by a reputable garage before purchasing a used car. Even minor car repairs on modern vehicles can cost thousands of dollars. You don’t want to buy a car without knowing what might be wrong with it.


2. What kind of qualification do your inspectors have?


We only establish partnerships with independent, reputable garages that employ experienced, hard-working mechanics. We also vet them through public opinion using the many online sites available for consumer feedback.


3. What is AutoReportCard’s policy on canceling an appointment?


As long as an inspection is cancelled before it is scheduled to occur, you will receive a full refund.


4. What if I’m a seller and don’t want buyers to see my report?


As a seller you do have the option of keeping the results private. However, you also have the option of making necessary repairs and having the follow-up inspection performed at a minimal cost. You can then show the updated inspection results online. We think this is also fair to buyers because repairs genuinely improve the condition of the car. The report should reflect this improvement.


5. Where will the car be inspected?


The car will be inspected at a garage close to you that has been vetted by us. This is not a mobile inspection where an inspector comes to your car to inspect it without tools. We think a proper inspection can only be done in a garage where the proper tools and equipment are available.


6. Who can order an inspection?


Anyone can order an inspection but if it is not your car you will of course need the permission of the owner.


7. What about the check engine light or other warning lights?


If the check engine light or any other warning lights are on, it will be clearly indicated in our online report.


8. Who will inspect the car?


An experienced, reputable mechanic will inspect the car on a lift with the proper diagnostic tools and equipment. We think this is the only way to do a complete job. Our competitors might try to convince you to get a mobile inspection done at your home, possibly by an auto-body repair technician and not a mechanic, but would this is not thorough enough. You want to be confident that anyone who inspects your car is a mechanical expert, not just a paint specialist. What use is a pretty car that doesn’t run?



Other Questions Customers Asked


1. If the car sells before it can be inspected, will I get a refund of my inspection fee?


Yes! As long as the inspection is cancelled before it is scheduled to occur, you will receive a full refund.


2. Can I speak to the inspector after reviewing the report?


Yes. Because real mechanics inspect your car in a real garage you are welcome to speak to them at any time. We value the relationship between car owner and mechanic. Our inspectors won’t just show up and then disappear.


3. Does AutoReportCard inspect vehicles with “Salvage” titles?


Yes. We inspect any vehicle less than 10 years old that has a valid registration and proof of insurance (these are necessary for the test drive).


4. Does AutoReportCard do state DMV inspections?


No. Most states require DMV inspections to be done at state facilities; please consult your state’s DMV for details.


5. Does the vehicle need to be registered with proof of insurance to be inspected?


Yes. This is necessary for the test drive.


6. Does AutoReportCard check the title and other paperwork for the vehicle?


No. We inspect the body, mechanical and electronic condition of the vehicle. We recommend vehicle history reports or contacting your state DMV to check the status of a vehicle’s title and/or registration.


7. Does the Inspection come with a Guarantee?


Not yet. We are working with warranty companies to find a reliable service for offering a limited warranty with our inspections.


8. Does the inspection report include an estimated value for the vehicle?


No. However,when you are able to see in our report precisely where the issues are, it is much easier to obtain repair estimates which can be factored in to the price.


9. Can I request that specific items be included in the inspection?


Because our inspections are standardized across all garages we cannot, at this point, include specific items that are not already included in the report. On the other hand, if you see something you’d like to have added to our list of things we check, please let us know!


10. Does an AutoReportCard inspection include a compression check?


No. In many cases doing a compression check requires many engine parts to be removed, which is a complicated and time-consuming job. For most used cars a compression check is not necessary, but if our inspection result indicates it is needed it will be noted in the report.


11. Do AutoReportCard inspectors put the car on a lift to check underneath?


Yes! Performing a detailed inspection of the underside of a car is a critical part of verifying its condition, including checking for leaks, cracks, rust, damage, etc. We think an inspection that doesn’t do so is incomplete.


12. Can I get my car inspected on the weekend?


Most of the time, yes. It depends on whether the garage you’d like to visit (in our network) has weekend hours or not.


13. Will you inspect any car?


Yes. We inspect any vehicle less than 10 years old that has a valid registration and proof of insurance (these are necessary for the test drive). In special cases it is possible to inspect older vehicles, please contact us for details.