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Basic inspection checklist to inspect used car at home before buying

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Basic inspection checklist to inspect used car at home before buying

Used or new, buying a car is always a special occasion in anybody’s life. But a good deal for buying a used car include step by step inspection of the vehicle to be sure about its running condition and drivability. This will protect you from any unwanted repair bills and situations such as you stranded in the middle of the road. To address this issue we have listed out a few basic inspection checklist points to inspect the used car at home before buying. Following these inspection checklist points will make your car buying experience more informed.

Also read – What is the difference between Venturi CNG kit and Sequential CNG kit?

Exterior inspection checklist points

Start with inspecting the exteriors

The first step to inspect a car is to take a look at the exteriors. This will include walking around the vehicle and looking for scratches and dents. Also, look for a dodgy paint job. Inspect all the gaps between all the panels such as fenders and doors. Uneven gaps, generally mean either they are not assembled properly in the factory, or the car was poorly repaired. Next, use a flashlight to take a look inside the wheel wells for rusting and corrosion damage. Open and close all the doors, as well as the hood and trunk to check if they are making any unwanted noise or are not perfectly bolted with the chassis. Also, make sure to Inspect rubber seals around the doors and windows for rot or tearing.

inspection checklist

Take a good look around the glass panels

The next step  in the inspection checklist before buying a used car is to look for any cracks or large, cratered areas. Cracks on glass panels such as windows and the windscreen will only get worse with time and may require an expensive repair later.

inspection checklist

Check the suspension

Suspensions are one of the key mechanisms to experience wear and tear. The process to check if the suspension on the car you are about to buy is in good condition include standing back from the car and looking for slumping or sagging. Make sure to push down each corner of the car and see if the car body rebounds to its original position. If the car continues to move up and down, this is an indication that the shock absorbers of the car are not in a very good condition.

inspection checklist

Check for frame damage

Frame damage is mostly caused in the car’s body when external accessories such as an external CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) kit is installed. The gas tank is mostly installed in the back trunk, bolted with the body. This creates permanent holes in the body which could be extremely dangerous. The poisonous smoke from under the body exhaust could enter the vehicle from these holes. Also, make sure to open the hood and check the part connecting the front fenders and the top of the radiator. This should be fixed into its place on either side with bolts and should never be welded.

inspection checklist

Check all the lights and tires

The next point to check under the basic checkpoints is to inspect the exterior of the used car at home before buying. This includes checking all the lights of the vehicle such as headlamps (both low/high beams), tail lamps, third brake lamp, and fog lamps.

Tires generally show the complete picture of a car’s background when inspected carefully. Make sure that all the tires are of the same size and make. The wear and tear on the tire tread should be even across the width of the tire, on both the sides of the vehicle. If any one side of the tires looks more damaged then the other one, this could mean the car was driven recklessly by the previous owner and will require a tire replacement.

inspection checklist

Check under the hood

The engine is the most crucial part in the mechanics of a car. The checklist to inspect the engine include:

  • Check all fluid tanks for leaks
  • Belts should not have any signs of cracks or dry out
  • The hoses for the radiator should never be soft
  • Make sure the vehicle has enough oil when you pull out the dipstick
  • The coolant should not be dirty and brown. This could mean either a leaking head gasket or maybe the coolant tank was never cleaned
  • Pull the transmission dipstick. The liquid inside should be red or pink in colour
  • Make sure to check the ‘timing belt’. The timing chain is the most expensive shaft among all the mechanics of the car and should be replaced after every 95k – 1.60k km.

inspection checklist

Interior inspection checklist points

It’s time to open the doors and look inside

After making sure on the exterior front, the next step is to look inside the cabin. The basic checklist to inspect the interior of the used car you are about to buy will include:

  • Look for stains, rips, cigarette burns on the upholstery
  • Look for scratches on metal and plastic parts inside the car’s cabin
  • Switch On the air conditioner of the car and check the air flow. Also, make sure if it has R134 coolant. Cars with R134 coolant should have a sticker depicting this on the condenser
  • Next obvious step is to check the odometer reading. The kilometer run on the vehicle should be relative to the age of the car. It is not necessary that a 15-year-old car with less than 20k km run is automatically good.
  • The final step in the interior inspection of the car includes switching on the ignition and check for any warning lights on the dashboard panel. You should also check all the other accessories such as parking sensors and cameras during this process.

inspection checklist

Take the car for a spin

The final step to make sure you are investing in a good vehicle is to take the car for a test drive. During the drive, check the brakes and gear shift mechanism. There should also be no serious pedal vibration, strange noises, or squeaking of the brakes. Make a sharp U-turn on a low speed to check for rattling noises from the suspensions.

inspection checklist