Ultimate Checklist for Pre-Purchase Auto Inspections

Buying a used car can be stressful, and if your chosen vehicle has not had a comprehensive inspection it can easily become a nightmare. A few simple questions, a sharp eye, and a trusted professional inspector can make all the difference. Prior to an in-depth inspection, it’s wise to ask the seller a few introductory questions about vehicle maintenance and repair history. Information regarding known problems or previous accidents should be disclosed at this time, including the reason for selling the vehicle. Here is a list of the most essential things that should be checked during a pre-purchase car inspection.

Inspect the Exterior

The paint should be checked for chips, flaking, or discoloration, and it should match on all of the panels. All body gaps should have the correct alignment. The hood as well as the trunk or hatch door should fit flush and open easily. Once done with the body, the glass and mirrors need to be inspected for cracks, scratches, chips, and functionality. See to it that the exterior lights function and are also free from cracks and chips.

Look Under the Hood

There shouldn’t be any leaks or loose and hanging parts, and the muffler, frame, and wheels shouldn’t have excessive rust. The tire treads should be worn evenly and the tire walls should be free of dry rot or cracks. All rubber bushings and gaskets should be free from rot and cracks as well. Radiator hoses should be soft and pliable, and the fan blades undamaged. Battery terminals must be free of any corrosion and residue with functioning clamps. Finally, all fluids need to have been kept full, and the dipsticks should not be discolored.

Check the Interior

While it may not seem very important, the interior should pass the same quality standards as the exterior and undercarriage. All power windows, seats, and mirrors should function smoothly, and all accompanying buttons and switches should be in working order. The key should be placed in the ignition and turned to the accessories function, then the radio should be turned on to check speaker sound quality. With the accessory function still on, all interior lights, windshield wipers, and signal and emergency flashers need to be tested. The heat and air conditioning should be tested, and the blower motor needs to be working at all levels. Make certain all seat belts are in good working order without any fraying or rips. The carpet and seats should be free from any visible water damage. If there is a sunroof, the seals and roof should be inspected for water damage or signs of leaking.

Take a Test Drive

The final part of a pre-purchase car inspection is the test drive. The vehicle should start easily and idle smoothly with no illuminated warning lights. There should not be any knocking or rattling, acceleration should be even, and the brakes should stop the car quietly, without excess vibration. The vehicle should handle well at all speeds up to 60 MPH and there should be no deterioration of performance.

To avoid buying a poorly maintained car, get a used car inspection from Lemon Squad. Our technicians can check the vehicle for a variety of issues. To schedule an appointment with one of our technicians, give us a call at 888-231-7965.