When you’re in the market for a car, buying used is an excellent option. Buying a used car allows you to own a quality vehicle without the burden of the enormous price tag that comes with new cars.
In fact, by choosing gently used cars over new ones, you could save upwards of $100,000 in your lifetime. That said, buying a used car also comes with its share of risks. And if you’re not careful, you can end up in a nightmare scenario.
With that in mind, having a vehicle inspection checklist to refer to during the shopping process is a must. You’ll be able to find the right car for you and avoid major headaches down the road.
To learn everything that should be included in your pre-purchase car safety checklist, just keep reading.
Get the Car’s Full History
Even brand new cars can be defective, which is why Auto Lemon Law exists, but the risks are much higher with used cars. So before purchasing any vehicle, you should read over its full history report.
If the seller isn’t able to provide it to you, download it online or reach out to an inspection company for a copy.
Examine the Exterior
Take a look at the car’s paint job. Are there any discolored areas or rust? This can be an indication of unreported damages. If you do see rust on the exterior, do a thorough search of the undercarriage, as well as under the hood, for further signs.
In addition to the body of the car, inspect the tires for tread depth (including the spare), and check beneath the vehicle for signs of leakage.
Pop the Hood
If the exterior appears to be in good condition, it’s time to move on to what’s under the hood. There are a variety of areas to check here, including:
- Oil levels
- Rust and corrosion
- Serpentine belts
- Transmission fluid
- Brake fluid
At this point, it’s wise to inspect the windshield wipers as well. If they’re in bad condition, it’s an easy fix, but one that should be handled before purchase. Properly functioning windshield wipers are crucial to vehicle safety.
Check the Lights
Speaking of vehicle safety, the last thing you want to do is get out on the road after dark only to realize your lights don’t work. Check the brake lights, headlights, taillights, and turn signals, along with any interior lights.
Remember that in most states, you’re legally required to have two headlights and brake lights. If one is out, you risk getting a ticket.
Find the Perfect Car for You With This Vehicle Inspection Checklist
The benefits of buying a used car are many. But rushing into vehicle ownership without taking the proper precautions could leave you with a poorly maintained, even dangerous, vehicle on your hands.
By entering the purchasing process with this vehicle inspection checklist in mind, you’ll protect yourself from a variety of undesirable situations.
In need of more tips and tricks for approaching car shopping like a pro? Take a look at our blog!