Purchasing a car can be really daunting for most. Owning a car is already a huge responsibility in of itself and it does require quite a bit of money for maintenance. Of course, no one wants to purchase a vehicle that has already sustained quite a bit of substantial defects, even if it is already secondhand. Buying a defective vehicle can do more than just leave a bad taste in your mouth, it could potentially dry your wallet up too. A defective car with major problems that only surface after purchase would lead to you spending so much money on repairing it only to not achieve anything. So yeah, purchasing a car can be scary, you don’t wanna end up with something of the sort.

So, how to avoid being scammed you ask? Well, there are a number of ways you can choose from. Maybe go to a trusted car dealer, or go to machine shops that you already trust, or just buy directly from big deal car companies, but still that doesn’t give you much assurance. There is a much better way to make sure that you’re not being duped by whoever you’re buying the car from. To use a pre-purchase inspection checklist. In this article, we’ll go over the inspection checklist that every car shopper should have on-hand. Check out these vehicle pre-purchase inspection  checklist samples that we have listed below. Once you’ve gotten yourself acquainted with the document, what it looks like and how it works, feel free to use these samples as guides or templates for your own inspection checklist.

5+ Vehicle Pre-Purchase Inspection Checklist Samples

1. Used Vehicle Pre-Purchase Inspection Checklist

File Format
  • PDF

Size: 436 KB


2. Vehicle Pre-Purchase Inspection Checklist

File Format
  • PDF

Size: 212 KB


3. Used Car Pre-Purchase Inspection Checklist

File Format
  • PDF

Size: 101 KB


4. Pre-Owned Vehicle Inspection Checklist

File Format
  • PDF

Size: 150 KB


5. Pre-Purchase Car Inspection Checklist

File Format
  • PDF

Size: 65 KB


6. Sample Vehicle Pre-Purchase Inspection Checklist

File Format
  • DOC

Size: 23 KB


What Is a Vehicle Pre-purchase Inspection Checklist?

A vehicle pre-purchase inspection checklist is well, a checklist. It’s a document that you can  use to inspect the ins and outs of the vehicle that you are planning to purchase, making  sure that you don’t end up with a vehicle that’s gonna leave you stranded in the middle of the highway. It does this by listing down the components that you should look out for and the ones that you should be checking, things that you have to inspect, and ambient noises that you’ll need to look out for during a test drive. It’s purpose is pretty straightforward, it’s a checklist that checks things. While it’s a pretty simple piece of document, it does provide a lot help in making sure that you are getting your money’s worth. Resources are hard to get by and it is best to spend our money wisely.

What Should Be In a Vehicle Pre-purchase Inspection Checklist

For starters, before you actually visit the car dealer, it is best to have some necessary items on hand beforehand.

  • A notebook and pen for taking notes. Write down the vehicle identification number, mileage, and the price range.
  • Paper towels to check the engine oil
  • A flashlight to look under the car and the hood
  • A magnet to possibly detect concealed bodywork
  • And the auto history report

These should be the things that should be present in your checklist, the things that you’ll have to inspect.

  • Exterior and tires
    • Windshield
    • Trunk and doors operate with key
    • Hazard lights operational
    • Directional lights and headlights, including the high beam
    • Body panel and colors
    • Try and see if the magnet adheres to all steel body parts
    • Paint job is well and proper
    • Car is free of scratches or dents
    • All tires are of the same size, type, and brand
    • Tires are free of any cuts, bubbles, and/or cracks
    • Spare tire, jack, and lug wrench are present, included and functional
  • Engine and suspension
    • Free of any oil or substance leaks
    • Oil filter is present and not coated with any tar
    • Battery is free of any form of corrosion
    • Oil stick is intact
    • Engine is free of odors when running
    • Exhaust pipe is clear and working properly
    • Vehicle rest leveled
    • No creaking noises when bouncing around the car
    • All corners respond the same way when bouncing
  • Transmission
    • If the car is automatic
      • Fluid is clean
      • Transmission neither slips or delays when driving
    • If the car is manual
      • Gears shift smoothly
      • No grinding noises when driving in reverse
  • Brakes and steering
    • Vehicle steers straight and does not pull to any direction when applying brakes
    • Parking brakes engage and disengage freely
    • Brake pedal and steering wheel does not shake when brake is applied
    • Vehicle does not drift to one side or another
    • Vehicle is stable, no shaking or other vibrations
    • No resistance in the steering wheel  when turning
    • No  clicking, clunking, or other noises when turning
  • Interior
    • Seats are intact and free of cracks
    • All doors close and open safely
    • All gauges work
    • No warning lights present on the dashboard
    • Information and entertainment systems work
    • Working A/C
    • Working heater
    • Windshield wipers work with water intact
    • All seats can be adjusted and have working seatbelts
    • Power windows operate properly
    • Sunroof working
    • Car alarm working

Other miscellaneous and more specific features vary from car to car like the car manual, instructions, service and repair. But it’s always a plus when you have those documents complete as  well.


What do they check for safety inspection?

Safety inspection checks make sure that your car and all of its components are in good working condition. Beyond headlights, this also includes high beams, emergency flashers, turn signals, side lights, brake lights, and backup lights.

What is a vehicle checklist?

A vehicle checklist is used to evaluate the vehicle’s current condition. It helps identify mechanical defects or issues that may lead to accidents and operational failure.

What do vehicle inspectors look for?

For light vehicles, the inspection will include checking the brakes, steering and steering wheel, visibility, lighting equipment, axles, wheels, tires, suspension, chassis and chassis attachments, and various other components.

It’s important to remember that when planning to buy a car, research is definitely the key. Find the best deals that suit your budget to make sure that you get the best out of your money. This checklist should be able to easily help you with that, and with the templates and tips we’ve given you, you’re all set to buy that dream car of yours.

Related Posts