USED Car Checklist

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    we’ve put together a used car inspection checklist to assist in making the process a quick and painless one.

    For starters, before you visit a used car dealer, make sure you have the following items:

    Notebook and pen for taking notes and recording the vehicle identification number, mileage, and asking price
    Paper towels for checking the engine oil
    Flashlight for looking under the car for leaks and/or corrosion
    Small magnet for detecting concealed bodywork
    CD/AUX cable for testing car stereo
    Auto history report, if possible.
    Exterior + Tires

    Windshield free of cracks
    Trunk and driver-side door lock and unlock with key
    Hazard lights work properly
    Directional signals and headlights, including high beams, work properly
    Body panel colors match
    Magnet adheres to all steel body panels
    Paint job that hasn’t been compromised or done badly
    Seams where the trunk and hood close are aligned
    Doors and fenders are properly aligned
    Free of body scratches and dents
    Headlights and directional lights are intact and fully functional
    Tires are a reputable brand name (Michelin, Bridgestone, Goodyear)
    All tires are from the same brand
    Tires are free of any cuts, bubbles, and/or cracks – use some soapy water if you can’t tell by sight and if the dealership lets you. Bubbles will form with a little pressure where there’s a hole.
    Spare tire, jack, and lug wrench are included and functional
    Spare tire inflated
    Engine + Suspension

    Free of fluid or oil leaks
    Oil filler neck not coated with thick, black tar
    Battery-free of corrosions
    Oil stick free of dark, black oil
    Engine is free of odors while running
    Exhaust pipe emission is clear
    Vehicles rest leveled
    No creaking noises when bouncing inside the car
    All corners respond the same when bouncing

    Automatic Transmission:

    Fluid looks clean, not dirty or gritty
    Transmission neither slips nor delays when driving
    Manual Transmission:

    Each gear shifts smoothly
    No grinding noises when in reverse
    Brakes + Steering

    Vehicle steers straight and does not pull to one side when applying brakes
    Parking brake engages and disengages freely
    Brake pedal and/or steering wheel does not shake when brakes are applied
    Wheels do not lock when applying anti-lock brakes
    The vehicle does not drift to one side or the other
    The vehicle is stable – no shaking or vibrations
    No resistance in the steering wheel when turning
    No clicking or clunking when turning

    Seats are unworn and free of cracks
    All doors open and close freely
    Trunk opens and closes freely
    All gauges work
    No dashboard warning lights
    Infotainment system works
    A/C works
    Heater works
    Windshield wipers and fluid all work
    All seats adjust properly and have functional seatbelts
    Power windows operate properly
    Sunroof works fine
    Car alarm works – key fob or attempting to get into the vehicle while it’s locked

    Car manual located in the glove box (When applicable)
    Instructions included for any accessory
    Service and repair records are available
    Owner has title
    It’s important to keep in mind that when buying a used car, research is definitely key. If you feel like you aren’t getting the best deal possible or you feel rushed while inspecting your potential used car, it’s okay to say no thank you and walk away.

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