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Inspecting a Used Car Cheat Sheet by

What to look for
checklist     car     inspection     used     buying


Hazard lights working
Headlights (high/low) working
Breaklights working
Car alarm works
Cruise Control working
Gas Guage working
No warning lights lite
Seat Belt light working
Speedometer working
Turn Signals working
Trip Counter working
Wipers work
Wiper fluid dispenses

Tires & Brakes

All same size
Tread worn evenly
Inflated properly
Jack & lug wrench
Security Lugs
Tread worn evenly
Spare tire inflated
Brakes - Does not pull to one side*
Parking brake works
*When applying the brakes the Vehicle steers straight and does not pull to one side.


Body panels - colors match
Fresh paint job*
No body scratches
No body dents
Seams - Doors & fender aligned
Seams - Trunk aligned
Windshield free of cracks
*if yes, it could be to conceal rust


All gauges work
Air condit­ioner working
Doors open & closes with key
Defrosters back/front working
Heater working
No heavy scent air freshener
Power windows operate properly*
Seat belts functional
Seats unworn & free of cracks
Seats adjust properly
Sunroof opens and closes properly
Stereo working
Trunk opens & closes
* may indicate a problem being concealed


Battery terminals corrosion free
Exhaust emissions not blue*
Exhaust emissions not black**
Free of fluid or oil leaks
Oil dip stick - no dark-black oil
No Odor while engine running
* indicates engine burns oil
**indi­cates excessive oil consum­ption

Automatic Transm­ission

Transmission fluid looks clean*
Each gear shifts smoothly
No grinding noises in Reverse
* Dirty or gritty can indicate possible internal transm­ission problem.


Chassis not bent/c­racked
No signs of crumpling

Test Drive

No grinding sounds
No noises or vibrations
No noise on Turns
No pull to 1-side when braking
No rattles or squeaks
No transm­ission clunking sounds
Power to climb hills
Power to pass safely
Vehicle does not drift
Accelerates smoothly
Brakes work smoothly
Goes straight when hands off wheel
Good steering control
Revs not too high when idling
Shifts smoothly between gears
Quiet Fans (air & heat)
Quiet Heater/Air condit­ioner
Choose a half hour route that goes through city streets, winding hills and fast driving freeway.


Vehicle rests level
Corners respond when bouncing*
When bouncing the vehicle's corners, no creaking noises are made and the car resumes its position.

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