Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Used car buyer's checklist
Used car buyer's checklist
- Any "bad" records in a VIN history report?
- Any service records with mileage readings? Has the oil been changed regularly? Any major engine or transmission repairs? Last emission test?
Indications of possible problems:
- Does the car sit level or do any of the suspension springs appear sagging?
- Are the body lines not straight? Ripples? Misaligned panels?
- Does any part of the car appear to be repainted? Mismatched colors? Paint overspray? Different paint texture on different panels? Why? Accident? Corrosion?
- Does the driver's door have a free play in the hinges? Is it difficult to close?
- Are the gaps between the panels different on one side of the car compared to the other side?
- Does the car have many rusty spots?
- Is there a trailer hinge? Was the car used for towing
a heavy trailer?
- Any cracks, chips, scratches on the windshield?
Wheels and Tires:
- Are the tires of a reputable brand or a "no name" kind of product? Are all 4 tires the same?
- Any cuts, cracks or other damage? is the tire tread low? Irregular wear? Damage on the rims?
The suspension and chassis problems:
- Does the car look badly corroded underneath?
- If the vehicle has a frame, is it badly rusted? Does it appear repaired?
- Any smell? Excessive perfume? Dampness?
- Is the driver seat or steering wheel worn excessively? Does it look like it was a rental or heavily used car?
- Any dampness under the carpet or in the trunk?
- Do all the electrical features work? Power locks, windows, mirrors, sunroof, wipers, remote control?
- Does the air conditioner blow really cold air?
- Do the heater and rear window defogger work?
- Do windows get foggy with the heater ON?
- Is the radio reception good?
- Does the CD player play disks
- Do you feel comfortable in the driver's seat? Space? Visibility? Mirrors, controls, steering?
- Is there a cruise control? ABS? Stability Control?
- Do all the seat belts work?
- Is the rear seat space sufficient?
- Does the vehicle have an additional ignition key(s), spare tire, jack and a wheel wrench?
Under the hood:
- Is there a burnt oil smell under the hood?
- Any leaks? Is the engine dirty or oily?
- Does the engine look sludged up under the oil cap?
Is the oil level low? Is the oil on the dipstick too dark?
- Does the engine oil on the dipstick have a "coffee with milk" color? (coolant mixed with oil)
- Is the transmission fluid on the dipstick too dark or dirty? Does the transmission fluid smell burnt?
- Is the coolant, brake fluid, steering fluid low?
- Are the battery terminals corroded?
- Any indication of poor quality repair work or lack of maintenance? (e.g. badly corroded battery terminals, very low oil level, etc.)
During a test drive:
- Is the engine difficult to start? Is the idle rough?
- Any noises? Knocking, tapping, pinging, whistling, piston slap? Excessive shaking?
- Any smoke? (slight water steam is OK)
- Any warning lights come on on the dash?
- Is the engine oil pressure too low at idle?
- Any hesitations, sputtering on acceleration?
- Does the engine have enough power? Is it smooth?
Automatic transmission issues
- Is the time between shifting from Park into Drive or from Park into Reverse and the moment the transmission kicks in too long? (Long engagement)
- Any noises, jerks, jolts? A clunk when shifting into Reverse?
- When driving, any delays, slipping, shudder or harsh shifting? Is the overdrive working?
- Does the transmission downshifts when accelerated?
- Is there a clunk or jolt when coming to a stop?
Manual transmission issues:
- Any noises while accelerating or decelerating in any gear?
- Any troubles or grinding when changing gears?
- Is it difficult to shift into Reverse?
- Is the clutch slipping? Any noises, vibrations when the clutch pedal is pressed or released?
Do you notice binding in turns? Do all 4WD modes work? Driveline noises? Vibrations?
Suspension and steering issues:
- Does the steering have a notable free play?
- Any knocking, rattling, creaking noises when driving over bumps or on a rough road?
- Does the car bounce a lot when driving over bumps?
- Does the car pull aside? Is the steering wheel out of center? Does the vehicle feel unstable? On a rough road? On a highway? In turns?
- Any humming, growling noises? Vibrations?
- Does the brake pedal go down too low?
- Does the brake pedal fee too soft (spongy) or too hard?
- Any brake pedal pulsation or steering vibration during braking?
- Any noises during braking? Grinding, screeching, squeaking?
- Does the vehicle pull aside during braking?
- Does the vehicle brake well?
Courtersy of http://www.samarins.com/check/index.html