Home » Car Buying

Buying a used car checklist


Buying a used car checklist is here. We will tell you what are the 10 most important things to check when buying a used car and also some tips on purchasing a car. Buying a used car is not as simple as see it, test drive it, pay and drive. Used cars are unlike new cars where most of it has certain mileage on it and the condition depends on how the previous owner maintains the car. Let’s see the checklist.

Checklist 1 – Checking the car body

Check if there are any cracks on the windshield, body scratches, dents, corrosion spots, rust, broken lenses, faded mirrors, wipers condition, accident part, bumper conditions, underneath, and among others. Make sure the body lines are straight, no ripples on the car body, no different colors on the car body, vehicle frame and chassis is in good condition, and the gap width for all doors are even. A good way is to bring a small piece of magnet to check if there are any corrosion spots.

Make sure there are no rust on the body and any sign of major accident on the car. Write down everything you see and this can be a good bargain to bring down the selling price. Car body and chassis is the most important thing for a car. Engine fatal, bad paint quality, or bad interior can be rebuild but body and chassis has to be good when choosing a used car.

Checklist 2 – Used car history by VIN number

You can purchase any cars history report by giving them the VIN number with a little bit money. The report will tell you if the car has any serious accident, flood damaged, rental use, or any illegal history. It is wroth to spent $10 before buying a $10,000 car.

Checklist 3 – Check on transmission

For automatic transmission car, look for the transmission fluid dipstick and check on fluid colors. New fluid usually is in red, normal color should be a little bit yellowish. Avoid buying a car that has a black color transmission fluid. For manual transmission car, check if there are any transmission oil leaks, it shouldn’t be any leaks. Try to shift the transmission level and there shouldn’t be any noises.

Checklist 4 – Interior checking

Interior checking is one of the easiest in the checklist but it can’t be overlook. Check if there is any worn part on the car seats, any cracks on the dashboard, seat belts, car lock, center lock, horn, meters, spare tires, and among others. Check also if the door can be open and close nicely without any noises.

Checklist 5 – Checking air-condition and heater

Start the car, turn on the air condition. It should be working immediately and the car should be cold after a while if the weather outside is not too hot. Check the power of air blowing out from the air blower, turn it to maximum and it should be strong enough. Test out the heater and see if the heater fan is working.

See also: car buying secrets, car buying strategies, top 10 negotiating tips for used car buying.

Checklist 6 – Checking on used car engine

There are several things to check on a used car engine. First you will have to pull out the engine oil dipstick, clean it with cloth or tissue and put it back. Pull it out again to check the engine oil color. If the engine oil look clean and at proper level, it shows the engine is maintain well, otherwise, if the engine oil is black, dirty, dark stains and at low level, do not buy the car. Next is to look for any leaks. Check every part of the engine that has oil seal, see if there is any leaking. Open the oil cap when the engine is fully stopped. You can simply see with your eyes if the engine oil is clean or dirty, dirty means with a lot of oil sludge.

Start the engine and check on the smoke that comes out from exhaust. Do not buy the car if you see blue smoke, it means engine has already with problems. Black smoke means engine consumes a lot of petrol. A good engine is without any smoke and with no strong noises or any weird sound.

Checklist 7 – Wheels and tires

Wheels and tires can tell you the car balancing and alignment. If one side of the tires worn more than the other, it means the alignment is bad or the suspension may have problems. Check if the tires are branded tires like Goodyear, Bridgestone, Michelin and some other famous brand. Check the thread wear is it still new or the tire has never been change for several years. See also if there are any damage to the tires, cracks, or small holes at the tire surface.

Checklist 8 – Electrical parts

You will need to make sure all the basic electrical parts is working such as the headlights, signals, wiper, power windows, auto-lock, windshield washer, rear window wiper, seat adjustment (if it is running with electric), sunroof, alarm system, remote control, sound systems, and among others.

Checklist 9 – Car brakes

Buying any sports cars that can go from 0 to 100kmh in few seconds is cool, but not to forget to check if the car able to go from 100kmh to 0 is few seconds too. Check if the brake fluid is in normal level, all the brake lines condition, brake shoe, brake pump, and brake pedal. Best is to try out the brake during your test drive.

Checklist 10 – Checking the suspension

Check if any noises from the suspension? Is there any weird sound from underneath of the car? Is the car roll too much in bends or feel too firm? Try to push down hard on the suspension and see if it settles quickly? If not, it means the suspension is out. Last but not least, bring along the “buying a used car checklist”.
used cars


If you love this article, please PLUS it!