Vehicle inspections

Vehicle inspections

AA members save 10%

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Why buy AA Vehicle Inspections

Get a vehicle safety check and road test before you buy

  • up to 206 checks per car
  • same-day feedback, written report within one day
  • fixed rated, no hidden costs
  • impartial advice to help you negotiate a price
  • available for cars, vans and motorhomes

From as little as £128 for AA Members (£142 for non-members), the cost of an inspection depends on the engine size and the type of inspection.

Just call 0800 056 8040.

Why check a car before you buy

 

An AA customer recently saved himself £17,500. He got the AA to check a used car before he bought and found out it had been stolen.

Comprehensive inspection

 

206 safety checks, includes all basic inspection checks plus additional checks on:

  • roadworthiness
  • mechanical and main electrical functions
  • previous body repairs
  • 10-mile road test
Basic
inspection

 

Over 154 safety checks completed for vehicles up to 8 years old, including  

  • mechanical and vehicle operations
  • previous accident damage

AA Vehicle Inspections are provided by Automobile Association Developments Limited. Registered office: Fanum House, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 4EA. Registered in England number 1878835.

The provision of AA Vehicle Inspections is subject to availability. The service may not be available in certain locations and for all vehicles. Horseboxes, hybrid / dual-fuel vehicles, kit cars, limousines or American imports are excluded. This will be confirmed when you request a quote. Comprehensive Inspections available for vehicle up to 15 years old, basic inspections available for vehicles up to 8 years old.

The AA trademark and logo are used under licence from AA Brand Management Limited. The AA is not responsible for any goods and services provided by third parties under licence.

Frequently asked questions

All you need to know about Vehicle Inspections

Types of vehicle inspected

What vehicles do you inspect?

We can inspect the majority of cars, light vans and motorhomes up to 15 years old, either before purchase or after purchase. Vehicle age is determined by the year of manufacture and may differ from the year of registration.

What vehicles do you not inspect?

  • any vehicle over 15 years old
  • refrigerated units and bodywork, body tipping gear, tail lifts
  • any vehicle over 3,500kg
  • horse boxes
  • American imports
  • kit cars
  • limousines
  • hybrid/dual-fuel vehicles
  • motorcycles
  • London taxis (black cabs)
  • specific high performance vehicles

Can you inspect disability cars?

Yes, as long as they don't have disability controls.

Do you inspect imports?

Yes, if the import is registered in the UK and is recognised in the UK, with the exception of American imports.

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Booking an inspection

In which geographical areas do you carry out inspections?

Inspections are only available on the mainland of Great Britain.

Vehicle inspections are not available on any of the islands or in Northern Ireland, and some areas of Scotland and Wales.

Do you inspect within congestion charging zones?

The engineers can enter a charging zone, but the payment for any congestion charges due for the vehicle being inspected and the engineer's vehicle is your responsibility and will be charged appropriately.

Do engineers work out of hours?

No. They work Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm.

Why do I need the vehicle registration number?

The registration number enables us to identify the vehicle, and to allocate the price and type of inspection.

Can the vehicle be inspected without a current MOT Certificate?

If the vehicle does not have a current MOT certificate, or in the opinion of the inspecting engineer the vehicle is un-roadworthy, the road test will not be carried out. There is no refund due if this part of the inspection cannot be carried out.

Do I have to do anything else before the inspection?

  • Tell the owner that you are arranging an inspection
  • Obtain the owner's permission to road test the vehicle
  • Check that the vehicle will be available to allow the inspection and road test to take place
  • Check that the vehicle has a current MOT certificate (if applicable) and has sufficient fuel for the road test
  • The vehicle must be located on a hard, level surface off the public highway
  • The vehicle should be reasonably clean

Can I contact the engineer?

Yes. You will be emailed his contact details with confirmation of the inspection being assigned to him.

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The vehicle inspection

How soon is the inspection after booking?

The owner/vendor is contacted as soon as possible to arrange a time that is mutually convenient. Most inspections are carried out within three working days, but this cannot be guaranteed.

Can I book a specific appointment time for the engineer?

No. Most inspections are carried out within three working days, but this is dependant on the owner/vendor, who will be contacted to arrange the appointment.

Do I have to be present at the inspection?

No. We will arrange the inspection with the owner/vendor (or the garage).

What does a Basic Inspection cover?

  • available on cars up to 8 years old
  • mechanical function
  • short road test – length subject to traffic and road conditions
  • detailed written report

What extras are there in the Comprehensive Inspection?

  • available on vehicles up to 15 years old
  • body exterior – panel condition and alignment, paintwork, trim, bumpers, soft-top operation and condition
  • electrical checks – mirrors, heater/fan controls, air-conditioning operation, and an opinion is given regarding the condition and operation of the radio/cassette/CD/aerial, if fitted
  • interior – steering wheel, seat upholstery, carpets, luggage/door trim panels, door fittings/operation, door seals/hinges, interior seals, visors, sun roof, dash panel condition, cigarette lighter, illumination lights
  • corrosion protection
  • 4WD operation
  • full road test

What is not included in the inspections?

  • dismantling the vehicle or any of its components
  • any indication as to the accuracy of the mileage reading – we recommend an AA Car Data Check
  • oil and fuel consumption
  • source of oil leaks
  • TV/DVD/satellite navigation systems
  • cylinder compression
  • air-conditioning function and efficiency by the use of specific diagnostic equipment
  • vehicle electrics and electronics by the use of specific diagnostic equipment
  • exhaust emissions and/or catalytic converters using gas analysing equipment
  • habitation area of motorhomes: electrical systems and appliances, water fittings and appliances, gas fittings and appliances, body/caravan area for water ingress or dampness

How long does the inspection take?

It will take from one to two and a half hours, depending on the inspection type, location, the vehicle concerned and its condition.

How long is the road test?

A Comprehensive Inspection is usually 10 miles, and 5 miles for a Basic Inspection. However, the distance is dependant on location, traffic levels, fuel level and the engineer's judgment.

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After the inspection

How soon do I get a verbal report?

This will be late in the day or early evening after the engineer has completed his daily inspection workload and written the report.

How will the inspection report be sent to me?

You will receive an email that contains a link to the report, which can then be downloaded from the website.

Will you do a discount on re-inspections to see if the owner has made the changes as a result of an initial inspection?

Yes. A re-inspection is available at a reduced price. Please call 0800 056 8040, Monday to Sunday 8am to 8pm, to speak to an advisor.

Are there any guarantees?

The report is based on the opinions and expertise of the engineer following a visual assessment as to the condition of the vehicle at the time of the inspection.

What if I have a complaint?

Please call 0800 056 8040, Monday to Sunday 8am to 8pm, and an advisor will help you in accordance with our complaints procedures.

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Vehicle inspection checklist

Please note that some checks may not be applicable to the vehicle you are buying.

Body Exterior Comprehensive Basic Van Motorhome
Panel condition/alignment yes no no yes
Paintwork yes no no yes
Exterior trim yes no no yes
Glass yes yes yes yes
Bumpers and number plates yes no no yes
Door locks yes yes yes yes
Fuel Filler cover/cap yes yes yes yes
Soft top operation yes no no no
Body damage yes yes yes yes
Corrosion yes yes yes yes
Corrosion Protection yes no no yes
Mud Flaps yes yes yes yes
Bonnet catch yes yes yes yes
Bonnet Hinges yes yes yes yes
Body load space condition no no yes no
Engine Compartment Comprehensive Basic Van Motorhome
Coolant level/Condition yes yes yes yes
Coolant Leaks yes yes yes yes
Anti Freeze yes yes yes yes
Radiator/Cap yes yes yes yes
Hoses/Pipes yes yes yes yes
Drive Belts yes yes yes yes
Water Pump yes yes yes yes
Power Steering (oil level) yes yes yes yes
Clutch Fluid yes yes yes yes
Brake Fluid yes yes yes yes
Engine Oil level yes yes yes yes
External Leaks (Upper engine) yes yes yes yes
Engine Mountings yes yes yes yes
Carburettor/Fuel Injection yes yes yes yes
Turbo/Supercharger yes yes yes yes
Fuel Pump/Pipes yes yes yes yes
Accelerator Links yes yes yes yes
Cold starting yes yes yes yes
Fast Idle (cold) yes yes yes yes
Noise Level (cold) yes yes yes yes
Excess Fumes/Smoke yes yes yes yes
Electrical Controls Comprehensive Basic Van Motorhome
Starting Systems/Ignition lock yes yes yes yes
Battery Condition yes yes yes yes
Battery Voltages yes yes yes yes
Headlights yes yes yes yes
Sidelights yes yes yes yes
Rear lights yes yes yes yes
Stop Lights yes yes yes yes
Indicators/Hazard lights yes yes yes yes
Reverse/Fog lights yes yes yes yes
Auxiliary Lights yes yes yes yes
Interior/Panel lights yes yes yes yes
Mirrors (electric) yes yes yes yes
Controls/switches yes yes yes yes
Instruments yes yes yes yes
Horn yes yes yes yes
Radio Aerial yes no no yes
Heater/Fan controls yes no no yes
Air Con operation yes no no yes
Windows/sun roof yes yes yes yes
Wipers/washers yes yes yes yes
Headlamp wash/wipe yes yes yes yes
Interior/Luggage Compartment Comprehensive Basic Van Motorhome
Steering wheel alignment/Adjustment yes no no yes
Seat Upholstery yes no no yes
Seat adjustment yes yes yes yes
Seat belts yes yes yes yes
Carpets yes no no yes
Door trims panels yes no no yes
Door fittings/Operations yes no no yes
Door Seals/Hinges yes no no yes
Interior sills yes no no yes
Headlining/Visors yes no no yes
Sun Roof yes no no yes
Dash panel (condition) yes no no yes
Cigarette Lighter yes no no yes
Mirrors (internal) yes yes yes no
Rear Parcel shelf yes yes yes no
Boot/Tailgate lock yes yes yes no
Luggage area trim condition yes no no no
Illumination light yes no no yes
Tool kit yes no no yes
Soft top (condition) yes no no no
Tonneau cover yes no no no
Front Suspension/Steering/Under frame Comprehensive Basic Van Motorhome
Engine underside leakage yes yes yes yes
Steering joints/ball joints yes yes yes yes
Steering box/rack yes yes yes yes
Chassis members yes yes yes yes
Power Steering (operation) yes yes yes yes
Wheel hubs/bearings yes yes yes yes
Springs/suspension units yes yes yes yes
Pipes/hoses yes yes yes yes
Dampers (condition/leaks) yes yes yes yes
Gaiters yes yes yes yes
Sub frames mountings yes yes yes yes
Suspension arms/mounts yes yes yes yes
Tie bars/anti roll bars yes yes yes yes
Corrosion Protection yes no no yes
Corrosion-floor/chassis yes yes yes yes
Rear suspension/Under Frame Comprehensive Basic Van Motorhome
Springs/suspension bars yes yes yes yes
Anti roll bar yes yes yes yes
Dampers/bushes yes yes yes yes
Suspension arms/fixings yes yes yes yes
Location rods/fixings yes yes yes yes
Bump stops/gaiters yes yes yes yes
Wheel hubs/bearings yes yes yes yes
Pipes/hoses yes yes yes yes
Sub frames/mountings yes yes yes yes
Chassis members yes yes yes yes
Corrosion Protection yes no no yes
Corrosion-floor/chassis yes yes yes yes
Clutch/Transmission Comprehensive Basic Van Motorhome
Fluid/oil leaks yes yes yes yes
Cables/Adjustments yes yes yes yes
Hydraulic system yes yes yes yes
Linkage (wear) yes yes yes yes
Casings yes yes yes yes
Mountings yes yes yes yes
Drive shaft assembly yes yes yes yes
Universal/sliding Joints yes yes yes yes
Backlash yes yes yes yes
Gaiters yes yes yes yes
Prop shaft(s) yes yes yes yes
Bearings/supports yes yes yes yes
Exhaust System Comprehensive Basic Van Motorhome
Manifold yes yes yes yes
Pipes yes yes yes yes
Silencer(s) Catalyst yes yes yes yes
Heat shields/Mountings yes yes yes yes
Joints/couplings yes yes yes yes
System condition yes yes yes yes
Fuel System Comprehensive Basic Van Motorhome
Tank yes yes yes yes
Tank Fixings yes yes yes yes
Fuel lines yes yes yes yes
Breather pipes yes yes yes yes
Evidence of leaks yes yes yes yes
Brakes Comprehensive Basic Van Motorhome
Master cylinder security yes yes yes yes
Fluid Leaks yes yes yes yes
Servo/power system yes yes yes yes
Flexible hoses yes yes yes yes
Pipes/connections yes yes yes yes
Discs/pads (if visible) yes yes yes yes
H/Brake/operation adjustment yes yes yes yes
H/Brake linkage yes yes yes yes
Pedal/linkage yes yes yes yes
Wheels and Tyres Comprehensive Basic Van Motorhome
Wheel Rims yes yes yes yes
Wheel Trims yes yes yes yes
Right front tyre yes yes yes yes
Left front tyre yes yes yes yes
Right rear tyre yes yes yes yes
Left rear tyre yes yes yes yes
Spare tyre yes yes yes yes
Road Test Comprehensive Basic Van Motorhome
Distance covered where possible 10 miles 5 miles 5 miles 10 miles
Final drive operation/noise yes yes yes yes
Gearbox operation/noise yes yes yes yes
Engine performance yes yes yes yes
Engine noise yes yes yes yes
Excess smoke yes yes yes yes
Overheating evidence yes yes yes yes
Auto changes/kick down yes yes yes yes
Instruments/controls operation yes yes yes yes
Steering wheel alignment yes yes yes yes
Clutch operation yes yes yes yes
4WD operation yes no yes yes
Cooling fan operation yes yes yes yes
Steering effort yes yes yes yes
Hot restart yes yes yes yes
Road holding/stability yes yes yes yes
General steering/handling yes yes yes yes
Foot brake operation yes yes yes yes
H/Brake operation yes yes yes yes
Suspension noise yes yes yes yes
Warning Lights yes yes yes yes
Final Check Comprehensive Basic Van Motorhome
Uneven tyre wear yes yes yes yes
Oil leaks yes yes yes yes
Coolant leaks yes yes yes yes
AA Rewards

10% AA member discount

If you hold another AA product such as breakdown cover or insurance, you’ll have been issued with an AA card, which gives you 10% off your inspection today.

Have your AA card to hand when you book your inspection online or over the phone.

You just have to give us the 16-digit number when asked to claim your 10% discount. (Terms and conditions apply.)

Just call 0800 056 8040.


For enquiries

please call

0800 056 8040

Lines are open
Mon–Sun 8am–8pm