Our Inspection Process

The Auto Repair Industry is full of “free inspections”.  “Deals” like free brake inspections, free safety inspections, or the classic “free multipoint inspection” abound.  In most cases these inspections are superficial or otherwise less-than-complete.  Although there are some good inspection processes, for far too many shops inspections are inconsistent once-overs (they may only look for the things they can sell) offered to get you in the door so you can be sold repairs that, even if they’re needed, may not be the priorities your vehicle has.

Should you trust a “Free Brake Inspection”?  What if the vehicle is not road tested, the wheels aren’t pulled off, the rotors are not measured or the calipers are not inspected?  Can a technician without ASE-certification give you competent advice about your computer control problems?  What kind of in-depth, conscientious evaluation can a technician who is paid flat rate give if he’s not being compensated for his inspection time?

We have developed our industry-leading, multi-level inspection processes based on a simple idea:

No one can make intelligent decisions about their vehicle unless they know precise mechanical conditions…

…and a sensible inspection program helps you understand your vehicle’s precise needs and priorities.  We have 3 levels of inspection, (as well as a Pre-Purchase Inspection) each designed to play a unique role in mechanical maintenance and upkeep…

130-point Inspection (Comprehensive Inspection)-

Also called our “Inspection-For-Repair”, this is our Cadillac-level procedure (no pun intended).  When we’re done, you’ll have a complete mechanical picture of your vehicle so you can make informed choices to meet your goals based on your ACTUAL VEHICLE NEEDS.  We recommend this inspection to all our New Clients to establish a baseline for their vehicle, and also recommend it be repeated yearly to catch developing problems before they become serious and expensive.  Your vehicle will be assigned to an ASE-Certified or ASE-Master-Certified Technician, who evaluates the following points…

Tires Fluids Valve Adjust
Tread depth FL,FR,RL,RR Engine Oil/LOF Timing Belt
Tread condition FL,FR,RL,RR Auto Trans Fluid Air Filter
Tire pressures FL,FR,RL,RR Man Trans Oil Fuel Filter
Transfer Oil Cabin Air Filter
Brakes/Axle Differential Oil F Spark Plugs
Brake Front Calipers/Cylinders- F/R Differential Oil R Distributor Cap
Brake Linings- F/R Chassis Lube Distributor Rotor
Wheel Bearings- F/R Brake Fluid Condition Ignition Wires
Brake drums, rotors Brake Fluid Level PCV
Brake Master Cylinder Power Steering Condition Ignition Coil
Brake hoses Power Steering Level AC Compressor/Clutch
Front CV Boots I/O Clutch Reservoir Level
Rear CV Boots I/O Clutch Reservoir Condition Chassis Inspection
CV/Universal Joints F/R Washer Reservoir Level Exhaust Main Gasket
Rack Boots L/R Coolant Type (G,R,Y,B,O,P) Exhaust Manifold
Brake percentage FL,FR,RL,RR Cooland Condition Header Pipe
Drum/rotor FL,FR,RL,RR Coolant pH Pre-Catalytic
Machine Specifications FL,FR,RL,RR Coolant Degree First Pipe
Hydraulic hoses  FL,FR,RL,RR System Pressure test Catalytic Converter
Cap Pressure test Second Pipe
Road Test Coolant Overflow Bottle Muffler/Resonator
Bulb check Coolant Overflow Cap Tail Pipe
MIL/Serv Light Hangers
Cold start Miscellaneous Exhaust Leaks
Warm start Wiper Blades Front Engine Leaks
Idle Quality Wiper Blades Rear Transmission Leaks
Pre-Ignition Windshield Cracks Transfer Leaks
Performance Spare tire Differential Leaks F/R
Brake Response Spare tire Pressure Shocks/Struts F
Brake Ped Height Tire tools Shocks/Struts R
Parking Brake Body Strut Plate L/R
Brake Pull Paint Tie Rod Ends
Brake Pulse Glass Centerlink
Align Pull L/R Idler Arm
Clutch Free Play Under-Hood Inspection Ball Joints
Clutch Engagement External Belts Control Arm Bushing
Clutch chatter Radiator Hoses Sway Bar Bushing
Driveline Vibration Heater Hoses Mounts E/TR/TRF
Exhaust Noise Bypass Hose Clutch Cable
Suspension Noise Radiator/Expansion Tank Clutch Master
CV Noise Radiator Cap Clutch Slave
Tire Noise Water Pump
Brake Noise FL,FR,RL,RR Fan Clutch Battery
Air Conditioning Electric Fan Battery/Terminals
Defroster F Thermal Switch Battery Cables
Defroster R Valve Cover Gaskets Battery Hold-down
Horn Intake Manifold Gasket Battery Condition
Signals L/R Oil Pan Gasket Capacitance
Cruise Control Timing Cover Gasket Volts
Temp Gauge/Light Head Gasket L/R/1
Gas Gauge Power Steering Pump Check Engine Light
Oil Pressure L/G Power Steering Pressure Hose Before/after

90-point Inspection (Basic Inspection)-

This is our first-level inspection; what many other shops typically call an “in-depth or “multipoint” inspection.  An ASE-Certified Technician checks all the major systems of your vehicle that are accessible without taking things apart or using technical tools.  Combined with regular Minor Interval Services and a yearly Comprehensive Inspection, it’s a good way to proactively stay on top of your vehicle’s needs.

40-Point Inspection (Post-Service Checkout)-

We perform a specific critical systems inspection and double-check our work after every vehicle service, but many of our clients don’t even know we do it.  Here are just some of the over 40 key points we check: engine oil and other vital fluid levels are checked (and documented if abnormal) and topped off, under-hood inspection, check and replace any lights or signal bulbs (labor free, in most cases), and check and set tire pressures. We even try to make sure your clock is set right.  Having another set of eyes on your vehicle is just one more opportunity to reduce errors, and another way to ensure that every vehicle that leaves our shop is in its best possible mechanical condition.

Pre-Purchase Inspection-

We also offer Pre-Purchase Inspections for our clients who are trying to buy a used car with confidence.  We use our full Comprehensive Inspection process, with some added concerns and inspection points specific to used cars.  You can rest assured that we won’t spend your inspection money completing the process if we find a “dealbreaker” problem!  We try our best to weed out lemons early on beginning with a data analysis and a parking lot exam to make sure a further inspection is even worth doing at all.  For instance, we recommend never buying a car with a reconstructed title!  (Reconstructed-title cars have been repaired after being “totalled” in major accidents.  Overwhelmingly, these cars look nice but have serious safety, structural, and/or mechanical problems.  We will not even inspect or support these cars here at the shop.)  A vehicle’s title status can show up on our data analysis if selected (Carfax is extra), so if it is questionable at all we’d check with you before going any further.  If the vehicle makes it past the data exam and parking lot inspection we move on to the road test and full 130-point list, again stopping if we find a major flaw.  If we make it through our entire Pre-Purchase Inspection process, you can be sure you’re aware of any issues (not hidden or non-symptomatic at the time of inspection) that your potential new ride might have.

Summary

We have developed these unique, proprietary inspection processes through over 30 years of use and refinement. Our goal is to deliver exactly the services you need to meet your individual vehicle needs and goals, and a rational, consistent inspection program is the best way to do that.

Bad inspections are more than just useless- they can be expensive if you buy a used vehicle that is beyond repair, or even dangerous if you have false peace of mind about a critical system that’s actually about to go bad. We want to insure that your budget is directed precisely at your priorities. Our inspection and repair process is designed to give you accurate information so you can drive more safely and confidently, and get the most value from your vehicle maintenance dollars.