JustCars.ca Used Car Checklist:
What to look when test driving a used car or truck.


JustCars.ca Tips for buying a used car: The Test Drive.

Tips for buying a used car: What to look when test driving a used car or truck.

Refer to the checklist below for items of importance when taking a used car for a test drive.

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

Used Car Test Drive Checklist

  • Drive the car on hills, highways and in stop-and-go traffic.
  • Start the engine and press down on the brake.
  • Listen for noises which could indicate engine problems.
  • Put the car in neutral and rev the engine. Check for smoke from rear exhaust.
  • Punch the gas pedal. Does engine respond without hesitation then return to normal?
  • Check the lights on the control panels--be sure they all work.
  • Does automatic transmission shift smoothly?
  • Manual transmission should shift smoothly between gears without grinding.
  • Clutch should engage and disengage smoothly without grabbing
  • Drive in reverse
  • Does car pull or vibrate when driving on a flat, smooth road?
  • Do the brakes grab evenly and does the car slow down in a straight line?
  • Drive at 35 miles per hour and listen for any unusual noises.
  • Accelerate to 45 miles per hour, does the front end shake or vibrate?
  • Drive quickly over a rough road and listen for any loud squeaks or rattles.
  • Does the car bounce or bang over small bumps?
  • Check the temperature gauge to see if it shows a high reading
  • Accelerate hard on an empty road, does the car respond immediately?
  • Try it again.
  • Accelerate on a hill, does the car respond immediately?
  • Cut off the engine. Then restart the engine -- does it restart easily?
  • Check for leaks under the hood and beneath the car.
  • Check the tailpipe. Are there any black, sooty oil deposits?
  • Does the odometer mileage seem to match the physical condition of the car?
  • Check odometer for scratches, misaligned digits, digits that stick.


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