Screan offers used car buyers peace of mind with thorough vehicle inspection services

Regardless of how appealing a used vehicle appears in an advertisement, a closer car inspection could reveal some nasty surprises hidden behind those pretty pictures. Avoid disappointment by having your next purchase Screaned first, and get peace of mind before you sign on the dotted line.

Most used-car sellers have their eyes on making some easy money, which could drive unscrupulous retailers to misrepresent their stock to the buying public. Even worse, some dealers and sellers may not even know about hidden defects or the unhappy history of a specific vehicle, and advertise a car on the assumption that the information presented by its previous owner are accurate.

These risks have faced used-car buyers since the very first pre-owned vehicle transaction was concluded, and the sophisticated manner in which modern-day fraudsters operate has only exacerbated the problem. At face value, a used car might be in a great condition and have a history that’s completely above board, while it may actually be a rebuild with outstanding finance debt and a looming engine overhaul - it’s impossible to tell just by looking at an advertisement.

Used car inspections are critical before purchasing, and Screan offers a convenient and safe one-stop service to inspect any used car before you buy it.


Get peace of mind with a prior Screaning


Screan is quickly establishing itself as an invaluable service with the interest of used-car buyers at heart. Screan takes care of the necessary in-depth car inspection for which few buyers have either the time or the know-how, relieving the car buyer of the stress of verifying that a used car is in fact in the promised condition.

These evaluations are provided by independent experts called Screaners, who are not beholden to the seller but instead report to the buyer. Consequently, a Screaning means that a car inspection is performed to satisfy the needs of the buyer, not to ensure that a dodgy vehicle somehow manages to obtain a positive report at the seller’s behest.

During a Screan car inspection, the vehicle's details are compared to its NATiS document, and its status on the system is investigated.

What happens when a used car is Screaned?

Screaning of any used car involves many elements, starting with a visual inspection of the vehicle as well as an extensive test drive. The inspection revolves a 60-point checklist, starting with the vehicle’s status on NATiS to compare the vehicle’s registration document to the details of the vehicle as it is presented.

This will highlight any outstanding financing agreement or registration anomalies in the vehicle’s history and on the registration documents, and give an indication of the number of owners the car has had. Other official paperwork involves checking the vehicle’s warranty for any exclusions or notes, if applicable.

Next up is the vehicle’s service history, when the car’s odo reading and age can be traced against services and documented repairs. Doing so reveals any tampering with the mileage along the way, and will show any recurrent issues in a car’s past which could return to bite the next owner.

It could also reveal whether preventative maintenance have been performed according to the latest standards, and whether any maintenance procedures have been deferred  - that’s definitely a future expense about which a prospective owner needs to be informed!

The body is subjected to the same scrutiny as its paperwork and mechanical parts in a Screan car inspection.

Visual car inspection

Once the paperwork is verified and in order, the Screaner will perform a visual inspection of the car itself. The bodywork will be checked for signs of accident damage, repairs, mismatched paint and poor panel alignment, and the Screaner will look for signs of rust anywhere on the car’s body.

Inside the car, the condition of the seats, carpets, dashboard and door cards will be inspected. This is also when the 360-degree video which accompanies the final report is recorded, enabling the buyer to see the vehicle in greater detail.

The tyres are inspected to note their brands, sizes,condition, and wear measurements, and that includes the spare wheel if fitted. Underneath the vehicle, the Screaner will look for any other signs of rust or scrape marks, loose or worn brackets and suspension components, and leaking shock absorbers. The exhaust also comes in for scrutiny, with checks for cracks, leaks, rust, and rust cover-ups.  

Everything in the engine bay is investigated in a Screan car inspection

Mechanical inspection

Under the bonnet, the Screaner will look at the general appearance of the engine and engine bay, as that often says a lot about a used car’s prior maintenance. Baked-on oil leaks and coolant stains point towards prior repairs, and perished rubber hoses indicate that the car was likely kept going on a shoe-string budget.

The condition of the engine oil is also examined - the oil’s cleanliness and the presence of any metal particles are all signs whether an engine is well looked-after or about to receive expensive repairs. Other fluid leaks and fluid conditions (such as coolant and power steering) are noted for inclusion in the final report.

Screaners always take a vehicle for a test drive as part of the vehicle inspection

The test drive

Finally, the Screaner will take the vehicle for a test drive. During the test drive, the performance of the engine and drivetrain will be evaluated, and any noises, smoke or smells will be noted. The test drive will also reveal whether the suspension emits unusual sounds over regular road surfaces, and whether it tracks straight when it has to and turns and brakes the way it should.

The vehicle’s electrical system will also be checked, verifying whether the accessories operate as they should and looking out for any illuminated warning lights. Items like the heater and air-con system form a further part of this car inspection.

Leisure boat inspections also form part of Screan's service portfolio.

Peace of mind for the buyer

The Screan final report will note all the points above and include a walkaround video of the vehicle during its inspection, but the service doesn’t end there. For a small additional fee, the Screaner could also negotiate on the buyer’s behalf before concluding the transaction, getting the price down as low as possible and ensuring that the seller meets any criteria to which a sale might be subject.

Private buyers can access Screan’s extensive services from as little as R 1 045 for a regular car or R 1 145 for a classic car, or they can even have a non-commercial trailer, caravan or leisure boat Screaned for a hundred bucks less. Considering the value of the peace of mind and improved probability of a happy ownership experience when buying a used car, that really is an investment worth making and a bargain at the price.

- Martin Pretorius