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Buying a used car is always a risky endeavor. Even when you think you’ve found that perfect preowned muscle car, off-roader, or family-friendly SUV, you could be in for an unfortunate surprise. That’s where a pre-purchase inspection comes in. I had a seemingly sweet used car lined up for an out-of-state purchase before a PPI revealed some unpleasant issues that would have cost me thousands on a tempting X150 Jaguar XKR. 

A pre-purchase inspection revealed thousands of dollars in maintenance oversights and broken components

A few years ago, I had my eyes set on an X150-generation Jaguar XK. It’s an enticing cat, indeed. World-class British GT car looks, a choice of N/A or supercharged 4.2L or 5.0L V8 engines, and an elegantly adorned interior for much less than a comparable Aston Martin. As such, I was fairly excited when I found a pre-facelift 2007 Jaguar XKR for sale in the greater Chicago area. 

Now, the “R” models added an Eaton supercharger to bump horsepower figures from the base XK’s 300 horsepower to 420 ponies. I was properly enthusiastic about the prospect of a whining, thrust-happy cat. Knowing I had a colleague in the greater Chicago area, I reached out. He obliged and went to check the car out. Fortunately, he offered to take the car to a nearby Jaguar specialist for a pre-purchase inspection. 

Fortunately, the entire process didn’t take long. A specialist checked the car inside and out, top to bottom, bow to stern. I was aware of some cosmetic issues—nothing out of the ordinary, a paint chip here, peeling interior finish there. However, the specialist discovered a few things that I didn’t want to contend with given my budget at the time. 

A 2007 Jaguar XKR sits outside before a pre-purchase inspection.
A 2007 Jaguar XKR | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

First, some bothersome corrosion showed up in the inspection. Not that bad, but still irritating. Furthermore, the cat revealed some wheel damage with an insufficient repair job. While that doesn’t sound terrible, it’s an expensive fix given the Jaguar XK model’s 20” Senta wheels. In addition to the wheel issues, the car needed a series of new hoses and hardware that previous owners had neglected to change.

At the end of the day, the repair bill amounted to over $5,000. While the GT car was a stunning find, the pre-purchase inspection was a bit too revealing and the repairs pushed the car out of my budget. Anytime you consider a used car, especially a used performance or luxury car, you should consider a pre-purchase inspection.