Used Car Inspection

How To Inspect
A Used Car Like A Pro!

A thorough used car inspection is crucial to avoid buying a lemon. Using this 8 step car buying inspection guide will show you how to inspect a used car like a pro.

Throughout this guide I'll share with you the tips and tricks car dealers use to quickly evaluate a cars condition. We'll cover everything from a general walk around all the way to spotting frame and flood damaged cars.

Even though this is a very complete guide on how to inspect a used car, I'd always recommend you rely on a professional mechanics expertise prior to buying a car.

Used Car
Inspection Guide

>> Step 1 - Used Car Walk Around Inspection
A lot can be learned about a car from a basic walk around of the car. It's the first thing car dealers do and so should you.

Basic Car Walk Around
>> Step 2 - Inspect For Paint and Body Work
If the car has had some sort of paint and/or body work done, then it has more than likely been in a wreck

Inspect For paint and Body Work
>> Step 3 - Inspect For Frame Damage
A car can pass a paint and body work inspection with flying colors, but still have underlying frame damage.

Inspect For Frame Damage
>> Step 4 - VIN History Check
The easiest of the inspection steps. No need to get your hands dirty or even leave your house for that matter. With this step your inspection can end practically before it begins if you find bad things here.

VIN History Check
>> Step 5 - Basic Mechanical Inspection
Don't skip this step, this will tell you all about the health of the car under the hood.

Basic Mechanical Inspection
>> Step 6 - Inspect The Interior
There is more to this step than just blaring the radio and checking for coffee stains on the seats.

Inspect The Interior
>> Step 7 - Inspect For Flood Damage
Hurricane Katrina damaged up to 500,000 cars according to some estimates. Many of these cars are still in circulation in North America. Do not get stuck with a flood car!

Inspect A Car For Flood Damage
>> Step 8 - Test Drive The Car
Although test driving a car can be fun, there is a lot more to this inspection than how fast it goes from 0-60 MPH.

Inspect A Car on the Test Drive
>> Inspection Summary
Some final thoughts on used car inspections.

Used Car Buying Inspection Summary

Used Car Buying
Inspection Summary

If you've made it this far, then Congratulations! You now know how to inspect a used car like a pro.

Used car buying inspections are something that become easier every time you inspect a car. Don't worry about mastering all the information that you've learned from this guide.

My suggestion is to use what you've learned here to spot, what could be, major problems before you pay the $50+ inspection fee to a mechanic.

Even if you have completed your inspection and determined the car is in good shape, it still is, in my opinion, worth it to have the car checked by a professional mechanic.

Be sure to ask them to specifically look for frame and flood damage, in addition to their overall mechanical inspection.

In addition,
I always recommend that you:

Get a VIN Check

See the basic information about your vehicle and how many records we have. Enter your VIN to get started!

Don't have a VIN? You can still get a report on a car!

A vehicle history report can really save you some time. Your used car inspection could essentially end as quickly as it begins if you find things (wrecked, flooded, fire, etc.) that you definitely don't want in a car.

Return from Used Car Inspection to Insider Car Buying Tips home

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