Are there any good, reliable mobile car inspectors out there? We are looking at a privately owned used car.
You need to mention your city.
Any licensed mechanic should be willing to do this, particularly on his own time. However, it is far more typical for buyers to ask the seller if they can have the car for a half day for this purpose. You would normally want the car to go into the shop, up on the lift rack. Some sellers will agree, others won’t.
I’m not sure about the mobile inspectors. It’s a pretty good idea for a side business. If you currently have a trusted mechanic/technician they would likely be willing to look at the car on site for a small fee. I often look at cars for friends(free of charge). You can get a pretty good idea if a car is in good shape at the sellers home, but you would need to put it on a lift for thorough check.
In order to really inspect the front end components, you need to lift the car up off the ground. It’s possible to do just with jacks, but it’s much easier with access to a lift and a mechanic who’s used to having one probably isn’t going to want to futz around with them and crawl around on the ground looking at stuff.
Plus, perhaps this is usually goes unspoken, but I think half the point of doing an independant inspection is so you can drive the car and really scrutinize it without the seller looking over your shoulder. If the seller isn’t willing to let you take the car to do an inspection, it’s not the car for you. (though them driving it to a mechanic would seem a reasonable compromise to me).
If you buy the car off the internet there are boxes to click, sometimes, that will direct you to a company that will hire an appraiser. I have done this 4 or 5 times but they/I would go to where the vehicle is, therefore there is no access to lifts to check suspension, brakes, etc…
If you look in the Yellow Pages under Autos/appraisers you may find some independent appraisers. Some will only inspect cars for insurance companies so you may be out of luck.
I would somehow get the car to a trusted shop for a good pre-purchase inspection. It’s not really something that they can do without a lift, some equipment, and a couple of hours. I would expect to pay a couple $100 for a good inspection.