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Used Car Checklist

Used Car Checklist

Preliminary indicators:
Does the VIN history report indicate something bad?
Any maintenance records, mileage/Km proof?
Why is the car for sale?
Any accidents, engine, or transmission repair?
Did the car fail the Emission Test?

Exterior indicators:
Are the car body lines crooked?
Are the panel gaps uneven along their length?
Do the bodywork colours match?
Is there painting over spray?
Is there any other evidence of a body repair?
If the car been repainted find out why: Accident? Corrosion?

Engine indicators:
Any oil, coolant or fuel leaks from the engine?
Is the engine dirty or oily?
Is the oil level low? The oil on the dipstick too dark?
Any indication of poor quality repair?

Start the engine
Does it run unevenly?
Any knocking, pinging, whistling?
Any smoke? (slight water steam is OK)
Any warning lights come on while the engine is running?
"Check engine" light?
Is the engine oil pressure too low at idle?
Any hesitation on acceleration?
Does it look very dirty under the oil cap?
Lift the hood, does the engine smell of burnt oil?

Automatic transmission indicators:
Any previous transmission repair? Was it rebuilt?
Does the transmission fluid smell burnt?
Is the transmission fluid too dark/dirty?

Start the engine and shift from P to D and from P to R holding the brakes -
Does the car shift into gear smoothly?
Does the shift/change occur in a timely manner?
Any loud noises or clunking sounds during shifting?

During a test drive -
Any delays or issues changing gears?
Does the transmission slip or jerk harshly?
Is any speed missing (for example, the transmission shifts from 1-st to 3-rd speed)?
Is the transmission getting stuck in one gear?
Any shifting problems on the cold engine?
Does the kick down function work?

Manual transmission indicators:
Any leaks?
Any noises while driving?
Any troubles changing gears?
Is the clutch slipping?
Any trouble shifting into reverse?

Suspension indicators:
Are any shock absorbers leaking?
Are any of shock boots broken?
Does the steering have noticeable free play?
Does the car bounce too much when you push a corner down?
Do any of tires have irregular wear? (alignment problem)

Does the car sit level?
During a driving test:
Any knocking noises coming out from the suspension?
Does the car pull to one side?
Is the steering wheel straight when driving?
Do you hear any humming noise? (wheel bearing?)

Brake indicators:
Is the brake fluid container leaking?
Is the brake fluid level too low?
Does the brake pedal go all the way to the floor?
Is the brake pedal too soft or spongy? Is it too hard?
Can you see any brake fluid leaks under the car?
Can you see any badly corroded brake lines?
Do the brake rotors appear corroded?

During the test drive.
Does the brake pedal or steering pulsate while braking?
Does the vehicle pull to one side while braking?
Do you hear any grinding noise while braking (some noise is normal)?
Does the brake warning light or ABS light come on while driving?

Tire indicators:
Do you see any cracks, cuts, bruises?
Is the tire tread low?
Do the tires match - or at least in pairs?
Are the rims damaged?
Do you feel vibration when travelling at high speed?
Can you hear a humming sound? (uneven tire wear?)

Interior indicators:
Is the driver seat worn through?
Does the stereo work?
Has the odometer any evidences of tampering?
Does the air conditioner provide really cold air?
Are the power locks, windows, etc. working?
Does the heater, rear window defogger work?
Do any of warning lights come on while driving?
Is there any broken glass on the floor or under the seat? (Accident?)
Do you feel comfortable in driver's place?
What about mirrors, controls, steering, visibility?
Spare tire, jack, wheel wrench?

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