If you're considering buying a used car, it can help to reference a vehicle inspection form when examining the automobile. This free printable helps ensure that all systems are in working order and that you get a good deal on your used vehicle. Use it to inspect a potential purchase before making an offer to the seller.
Items to Inspect on a Used Vehicle
You can print out the free form on the left by clicking on the image and saving it to your computer. If you need help downloading the printable instructions, check out these helpful tips.
Be sure to record the vehicle's year, make, and model, as well as other important information like the VIN, asking price, and odometer reading.
Check the vehicle's exterior for the following:
- Suspension seems firm, and car recovers quickly from pressure on the front or rear bumper.
- Paint in good condition and free of scratches and rust.
- Windshield and windows are clear and free of cracks and chips.
- Body panels align properly without crooked seams.
- All doors open and close properly.
- Hood and trunk open and close properly.
- Windshield wipers are in good condition and function properly.
- Tires match and are from a recognizable brand.
- Tires still have plenty of tread and are not worn unevenly.
- Tire jack and spare tire are present in trunk.
- Keyless entry functions properly.
Check the vehicle's interior for the following:
- Car interior smells fresh and not heavily perfumed.
- Seat upholstery is not stained or torn.
- Seat belts are present and in good condition.
- Carpet is in good condition.
- If applicable, floor mats are present and in good condition.
- Heater and air conditioning work properly.
- Gauges function properly.
- Dashboard lights and interior car lights work.
- All other vehicle lights function as expected, including headlights, hazard lights, taillights, turn signals, brake lights.
- Stereo works properly.
- Door locks are functional.
- Windows raise and lower as expected.
- Car manual is present.
Under the Hood
Check the following items under the car's hood:
- Engine oil is clean and recently changed.
- Oil level is adequate.
- Oil filter looks clean.
- Transmission fluid looks clean.
- Battery terminals are clean and free of corrosion.
- Battery date is within the last three years.
During Your Test Drive
As you test drive the car, note the following:
- Car starts easily.
- Transmission doesn't slip or have trouble finding the appropriate gear.
- Manual transmission is responsive, if applicable.
- Car does not pull to either side or resist steering.
- There is no noise from car upon turning corners.
- Brakes don't make a grinding noise.
- Parking brake is easy to engage and disengage.
Before You Buy
If you're not sure how to properly inspect all of the systems on your car or truck, you can take it to a certified mechanic to have this service performed. This can be especially helpful if you're purchasing a classic car or other investment vehicle, since a mechanic may be able to tell you whether various components are original to the car. However, with any used car purchase, the condition of the vehicle is very important. Most of the time, the money you spend on the vehicle inspection will help you save on repair costs later.