It's not every day you buy a new car (or van, or motor home).
Outside of buying a home it's said to be one of the most complicated and stressful purchases there is - and up to a third of second-hand cars have significant faults hidden away. It may still be your dream car, but it's always better to know, isn't it?
Buying a used car is easier with a vehicle inspection. We save you the time and headache of checking the vehicle over yourself, and you could save thousands of pounds if it looks and sounds too good to be true.
Here's what you get for a great-value, fixed price:
Inspections are visual, external checks which are limited to the parts identified in the report checklist, as is relevant to each vehicle. As long as the vehicle you are buying is not older than 15 years old and is not imported from the USA, or listed under the types of vehicles we don’t inspect, we can book an inspection for it. Here's what the inspections cover:
*Limited checks and exclusions apply for basic, van and motor home inspections.Back to top
Vehicle inspections cover a wide scope of items, except for:
If the vehicle you're interested in buying is one of these, then we're not able to inspect it:
Here's a full list of what the inspectors will be checking for each type of vehicle inspection. The relevant checks carried out will form the basis of the Report Checklist.
Please note: not all of these checks apply to the specific vehicle you are buying as the relevant parts may not be present/ fitted/ visible on certain vehicles and in all circumstances.
|Body exterior||Comprehensive||Basic||Van||Motor home||4x4|
|Bumpers and number plates||yes||no||no||yes||yes|
|Fuel filler cover/cap||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Soft top operation||yes||no||no||no||yes|
|Body load space condition||no||no||yes||no||yes|
|Engine compartment||Comprehensive||Basic||Van||Motor home||4x4|
|Power steering (oil level)||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Engine oil level||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|External leaks (Upper engine)||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Fast idle (cold)||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Noise level (cold)||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Electrical controls||Comprehensive||Basic||Van||Motor home||4x4|
|Starting systems/ignition lock||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Air con operation||yes||no||no||yes||yes|
|Interior/luggage compartment||Comprehensive||Basic||Van||Motor home||4x4|
|Steering wheel alignment/Adjustment||yes||no||no||yes||yes|
|Door trims panels||yes||no||no||yes||yes|
|Dash panel (condition)||yes||no||no||yes||yes|
|Rear parcel shelf||yes||yes||yes||no||yes|
|Luggage area trim condition||yes||no||no||no||yes|
|Soft top (condition)||yes||no||no||no||yes|
|Front suspension/steering/under-frame||Comprehensive||Basic||Van||Motor home||4x4|
|Engine underside leakage||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Steering joints/ball joints||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Power steering (operation)||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Sub frames mountings||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Tie bars/anti roll bars||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Rear suspension/under-frame||Comprehensive||Basic||Van||Motor home||4x4|
|Drive shaft assembly||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Four-wheel drive transmission||no||no||no||no||yes|
|Exhaust system||Comprehensive||Basic||Van||Motor home||4x4|
|Fuel system||Comprehensive||Basic||Van||Motor home||4x4|
|Evidence of leaks||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Master cylinder security||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Discs/pads (if visible)||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Wheels and tyres||Comprehensive||Basic||Van||Motor home||4x4|
|Right front tyre||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Left front tyre||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Right rear tyre||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Left rear tyre||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Road test||Comprehensive||Basic||Van||Motor home||4x4|
|Distance covered, where possible||Up to 10 miles||Up to 5 miles||Up to 5 miles||Up to 10 miles||Up to 10 miles|
|Final drive operation/noise||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Auto changes/kick down||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Steering wheel alignment||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Cooling fan operation||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Foot brake operation||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Final check||Comprehensive||Basic||Van||Motor home||4x4|
|Uneven tyre wear||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
The inspector can refuse to inspect otherwise, so it’s important the vehicle is set up ready for them.
If the inspector refuses/is unable to carry out any element of the inspection based on the above arrangements not being made, the fee shall remain fully payable and any subsequent road test you ask us to undertake shall be charged at an additional fee.
Here are a few extra things you need to know about booking your inspection: where we can carry them out, any additional charges you might have to pay, the engineers, and the inspection itself.
Inspections can be carried out on the Great Britain mainland only. We don’t cover Northern Ireland, some parts of Scotland and Wales, or any of the islands.
The engineer can enter a charging zone to carry out an inspection, but it’s your responsibility to pay any congestion charges - both for the vehicle being inspected, and for the engineer's vehicle.
The AA-approved engineers work Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm – they're not available to do out-of-hours inspections,
When you've had your vehicle inspection booked, you'll be emailed the engineer's contact details in case you need to get in touch.
Vehicle inspections generally take between one hour to two and a half hours, depending on:
If you hold another AA product, (like breakdown cover or insurance) you should have an AA membership card. This gives you 10% off your vehicle inspection.
Need to speak to our Vehicle Inspections team? Call us on 0800 056 8040.
Call the Vehicle Inspections team as soon as possible on 0800 056 8040. We are available Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. or email us on [email protected]
You have 14 days to change your mind and get a full refund. However, where you have asked for the inspection to take place within the 14 day period, or if you request cancellation after the 14 days, the following apply:
The relevant fee will be taken out of what you've already paid.
(That also applies if you've given us incorrect or incomplete information that stops the engineer from carrying out the inspection.)
In certain circumstances we are entitled to refuse to inspect a vehicle or to issue a report.
For example, if our inspector can’t get reasonable access to the vehicle to carry out the inspection, or if the vehicle doesn't have an MOT, or doesn’t appear to be of standard production (it may be a kit car or been modified in a certain way) or to be roadworthy, or if you have given us incorrect or incomplete information which means that the inspector is prevented from carrying out the inspection.
The inspection fee remains fully payable in such circumstances. We'll let you know if that's the case.
The information on cancellation and inspection refusal above is a summary of what's in our Terms and Conditions. See in particular clause '12.Fees and cancellations.'
It’s important that you read and understand the terms and conditions. These detail exactly what is and is not covered by the inspection, your rights and responsibilities, and more.
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 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.
Call the Vehicle Inspections team
0800 056 8040