Here are some of the most common questions we answer for clients when they call or email us.
- Do you cover _____XYZ_____ area?
More than likely yes. We cover the entire St Louis Major Metro area as our basic service area and much of Southern Illinois. We also provide inspection services to Central & Northern Illinois as well as all of Missouri. Areas outside our basic inspection service area incur some mileage charges but that is included in the price of the inspection. You can go to our inspection ordering page and use the dropdown to see the actual price for that area. Many other vehicle inspection companies’ prices will vary based on the mileage and time of year, we used fixed pricing for our inspection fees to be fair and simple. You can view our full inspection service area here.
- Who will perform the inspection?
Right now we are a small family company. Your inspection will be performed by Steven Paul the President / Owner of the company. He is a 20 year ASE Certified Mechanic in HD Trucks and Automobiles. He is also certified by NAAA as a Frame Damage Arbitration Inspector.
- What is the difference of a Test Drive Technologies inspection and one done at a repair shop?
Since we do not perform any repairs we provide you a real unbiased report on the vehicle. Shops can often inflate damages or estimates so you bring it back to them and get the repairs done after you purchase it. Our only interest in the inspection is providing you with the current condition of the vehicle, not writing a repair estimate for business. Read this article about how to tell if your vehicle inspector is independent or not.
- Why do the national inspection companies such as LemonSquad and RoadReady have lower prices that TDT?
Have you ever heard that phrase “you get what you pay for”? It is true in the vehicle inspection industry as well. We spend an average of 2-3 hours with each vehicle we inspect, check over 400 points on each vehicle, take over 100 photos and often provide HD video for our clients and you are able to speak directly with your inspector before, during and after the inspection, we can even send you photos via text messages of the major issues or information we find while onsite. Our competitors often use fly by night “inspectors” which they have not met and often provide repairs somewhere else this decreases their consistency of the inspection process and often leaves you the consumer with inaccurate information about the vehicle. We cover more on in this article about our competitors.
- What all does your inspection of a used car cover?
We fully inspect every vehicle we are asked to. Our inspections cover testing all the systems on a vehicle and every part we can view and touch without taking anything apart. We do not dissemble any parts on a vehicle unless it is simple such as opening an air filter box or spare tire cover. This is due to the policies set forth by our insurance company. Not to mention, if you were selling your piano in your home would you want someone removing the strings? Same goes for someone’s vehicle. For more information on what we check visit one of the inspection services pages and look for the sample inspections.
- Do you take the vehicle for a test drive?
Absolutely yes! What would be the point of having someone inspect a vehicle without test driving it? There are some instances that we have the seller / owner drive the vehicle for us in cases of the vehicle not being insured or properly licensed. The test drive is always the last portion of our inspection, that said, if we find anything unsafe during our hands-on inspection the vehicle will not be test driven. Here is one of our videos we recorded for a pre-sale inspection client of ours.
- Does the inspection provide a compression test or leak down test?
No. This is because we do not know the condition of the sparkplugs or glow plugs in the heads of the engine and breaking one off due to corrosion can cost $1000’s and the vehicle belongs to someone else. For these reasons our insurance company does not allow us to perform these test during our inspection.
- Do you test for emissions or diesel particulate filters?
No. Because of the vast number of makes, models and engine combinations of vehicles these days we are not able to carry all the equipment needed to perform an onsite emissions test or do a forced regen on a DPF unit. We do however drive the vehicles in a fashion to often force them to run through their self-test routine. If a warning light is present during the inspection, we will attempt to scan for codes and report what we find and plausible cause.
- Does the inspection come with any oil or fluid sampling?
Our inspection does not come with fluid sampling. We can add it to any inspection if you wish. There is however a 3 to 5-day delay on the sample results.
- When do I pay for the inspection?
All inspection fees are due upfront unless you will be present for the inspection. If you are planning on being present for the inspection, we do require 50% upfront before we leave for the inspection.
- How do I pay for the inspection?
Go to http://testdrivetech.com/store/ where you will find all of our vehicle inspection services listed. There is a dropdown for each inspection type where you can choose the major metro area of the vehicle location. This dropdown will automatically adjust the price according to the mileage. Our base pricing is based on the St Louis Area. You can pay for your inspection using your favorite credit or debit card securely on our site. Please also leave the seller’s contact information and vehicle details in the notes section when you go through the checkout process. For your safety and privacy, we will not accept payments over the phone. If you are paying in person at the time of inspection, you may pay using cash.
- What happens if the vehicle sells before you can inspect it?
We require a 24-hour cancellation to get your full refund. If you cancel the morning of the inspection for whatever reason, we will refund 50% of your inspection fee. If we have arrived onsite and the seller refuses an inspection the vehicle will not be inspected there is no refunds. In situations where we are performing an out of town inspection for you 48 hours’ notice is required for a full refund. Once we have left for the inspection there is not refund.
- Does your inspection include an appraisal?
No, our inspections provide you with solid knowledge of the vehicle’s true condition through photos, checklist and video. You can then use this information on your own to value the vehicle. A long time ago a very smart automotive icon once said “Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it”, Henry Ford. We provide you with the information to know what you want to pay for it. However, if you an appraisal performed please let us know and we will be happy to provide one for an additional fee.
- Can I be present during the inspection?
Absolutely you can! It helps us in the long run if we can point out in person what we find both good and bad. This way you have a snapshot of the vehicle the moment we inspect it. This also gives you the instant bargaining tool with the seller.
- How soon will I get the inspection report?
About 98% of our clients receive their inspection report email the same night of the inspection. We can however call you as soon as the inspection is completed and give you a brief rundown of the inspection findings. This call is just the main points and you should always wait until you have the full report, photos and video before making a purchase decision on the vehicle.
- Do you recommend any specific dealerships?
No we do not. We are in the business of providing independent and unbiased vehicle inspection services not dealership reviews. If we were to refer you to a dealer we would no longer be unbiased. We do on occasion give you ideas of where to look for vehicles if the one we just inspected for you did not work out, these are not “referrals”, they are places to look for cars.
- Do you perform any vehicle repairs?
No we do not. We only provide mobile vehicle inspection services. This allows us to remain unbiased and independent.
- Can I get an inspection on my own vehicle?
Yes! We provide a lot of inspections for people who want to know the condition of their car before the warranty expires. This allows you to know what items may be repaired under warranty and save you money right away. This is the same inspection we provide during a pre-purchase auto inspection it just has less photos since you already know what the car looks like.
- Do you offer extended warranties for the vehicles you inspect?
Yes! We do offer extended vehicle service contracts. We know there is some controversy over vehicle inspectors offering extended vehicle service contracts however, our agreement with our VSC provider is that the vehicle has to pass our 450 checkpoint inspection before a contract can be issued on it. This agreement keeps our independence in check and keeps us from pushing you into a contract for something we might have found.
- Do you guarantee your inspections?
No and it’s doubtful any other inspection companies do either. Our inspections are a snapshot of the vehicle at that moment in time. At that time, we are providing you with the vehicle’s true condition. We cannot predict the future or tell when a component will actually fail in the future.