JustCars.ca Used Car Exterior Checklist:
What to look for when buying a used vehicle.


JustCars.ca Tips for buying a used car: Used Exterior Checklist.

Tips for buying a used car. What to look for when purchasing a used vehicle.

Refer to the used car exterior checklist below for items of importance when buying a used car.

Important! Buying a used car? Here's what you need to know!

Buying a Used Car Checklist

It's important to be prepared before looking at a used vehicle for sale. Armed with a list of items to be checked over, you will be less likely to forget inspecting an item, and you will be better prepared to ask questions.
  • Always examine the used vehicle during the day, and in good weather conditions. It will be much easier to spot defects and damage.
  • Check the vehicle for nicks and scratches
  • Check the entire body of the car for thin, worn paint
  • Check for the big defects that will cost the most money to fix, and don't focus as much on the minor repairs
  • Have a general look around the outside of the car. Do a complete walk around.
  • Examine both sides of the car from a distance (both front and back).
  • Look for any ripples, waves, poorly fitted panels and mismatched colors.
  • Look for dents or rust around the bottom of the doors and fenders.
  • Check for bubbles along molding or chrome (indicates rust underneath).
  • Look underneath the vehicle for rust, this is especially important in colder winter climates when salt is used on the raods
  • Check for welding spots on the frame (serious accident or repairs). Ask if the vehicle has been in any collisions.
  • Open and close each of the doors, the hood, and the trunk or hatchback.
  • Stand back approximately 10 to 15 feet from the car and see if the car is level.
  • Check the shocks by pushing down on each corner of the car and letting go. The car shouldn't spring right back or continue bouncing.
  • Check all of the tiress (sidewall cracks, uneven tire wear, brake fluid leakage)
  • Look under the car for oil spots, transmission fluid, power steering fluid or shock absorber fluid.
  • Open the hood and check belts and hoses for cracks or wear.
  • Radiator coolant should be a clean, greenish (or blue or yellow) color.
  • Pull out the oil dipstick. Oil should not be gummy or grayish or smell burnt.
  • Check automatic transmission fluid, should be clear and reddish.
  • Check the fluid level in the master cylinder as well.
  • Look inside the trunk for an inflated spare tire, a jack and a lug wrench.


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