Five Key Attributes of an Automobile Inspector
Five Key Attributes of an Automobile Inspector

As a soldier, I learned the value of having attention to detail, practice and experience. Many days spent in the hot sun repeating the same actions. At the time, it seemed redundant and monotonous. However, it ultimately lead to a better understanding of what we were trying to accomplish—a perfected skill set that would put us a step ahead of any other military force. When I first started in the inspection business, I quickly realized that the same attention to detail and experience required of a soldier was also required of an inspector.

Inspectors come from a variety of backgrounds. Whether it be the auto shop teacher looking to supplement their income, or an ASE master mechanic looking to reduce the daily physical toll off their body and get away from “turning wrenches,” they all require the same skill set—a refined ability to detect problems and details that others might not. Furthermore, they must be able to accurately describe what they find in a way that makes sense. It is one thing to understand what you see, but another to explain it to a claims adjuster who may be hundreds of miles away.

Years of working with inspectors have lead me to a better understanding of what makes a good inspector. These include:

1. Experience. There is no substitute for experience. This does not mean the type of experience you gain from changing oil or performing a tune-up. This has to be “hands-on experience” for an extended amount of time. It includes removing and replacing engines, overhauling transmissions and performing other major mechanical repairs. These tasks ultimately allow a person to gain enough experience to be a good inspector. As with many other things in life, this also allows the inspector to learn from their successes and failures.

2. Attention to detail. Inspectors have to be the eyes and ears of their clients in the field. They have to look for details that a repair facility technician might overlook — either voluntarily or involuntarily. Metal in transmission pans, the smell and color of fluids and checking for aftermarket modifications are just a few of the many details that an inspector must look at on any given inspection. Missing a particular detail could mean the difference between a claim being approved or denied. The smallest of details can cost thousands of dollars to the client or the warranty company.

3. Communication. As in the military or any other facet of business, communication is a vital component to success. An experienced inspector must be able to take what they find and communicate it in a manner that everyone can understand. Everyone has heard of the phrase “you just had to be there.” However, such phrases are not acceptable during the inspection process. The inspector has to accurately communicate their findings in a fashion that allows the claims adjuster to clearly understand what was actually found.

4. Affability. Inspectors have a tough job. No one likes to have others following up after them making sure they are doing the “right thing.” In reality, this is what inspectors do on a daily basis. They are verifying what the shop’s technician is telling the claims adjuster. This can create a potentially frustrating situation for the tech. Because of this, initially, the tech might hold some contempt towards the inspector. The inspector has to be able to acknowledge this potential frustration and be able to change the technician’s attitude towards them. Trust me, this is not an easy task. This is where affability or the “likeability factor” comes into play. If someone is really likeable, they can adjust and adapt to almost any situation. This is vital to being a good inspector.

5. Integrity. Society acknowledges integrity as one of core values each one of us should hold. It has been often said that integrity is what you do when no one is looking. It is one thing to preach integrity and another thing to practice it. An inspector must have a high level of integrity and remain unbiased when reporting their findings, understanding that the information they provide ultimately contributes to a decision whether or not to apply warranty coverage. Good or bad, a professional inspector must remain impartial.

In business, we all establish relationships that will eventually end. These relationships can end when better opportunities or retirement occur. That is just life and we all have to deal with it. While it is always sad to see a good inspector go, inspection providers have to always be searching for the next generation of inspectors. It is important that we seek those future inspectors who have the traits to handle their profession in the same manner and respect as those who came before them. Inspectors make up 80% of our work product and, without good inspectors, no inspection company can succeed.

About the author
Bryan Bledsoe

Bryan Bledsoe


Bryan Bledsoe is the president and owner of One Guard Inspections, LLC. He served eight years in U.S. Army including one combat tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After being honorably discharged, Bryan graduated from the University of Texas in Arlington. He has served in upper level management for both a third party administrator of auto warranty claims and a home warranty company. He founded One Guard Inspections in 2011. He has been married for four years and has two daughters.

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