Used Car Inspection Check-List

Not open for further replies.
Thread Starter #1
Sep 18, 2009
Like we discussed about New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection Check-list, Much more awareness is required when purchasing a used car, Now may it be from your own friend or a reputed Used-Car seller. Check out these top-tips which you must keep in mind before finalizing on a used car and closing the deal;

  • Any "bad" records in a VIN history report?
  • Any maintenance records, mileage proof?
  • How many previous owners?
  • Why do they sell a car - tired of fixing it?
  • Any accidents, engine, transmission repair?
  • Has the car passed last Emission Test?
Possible Problems:
  • Are the exterior lines not straight? Ripples? Misaligned panels?
  • Driver's door has free play in the hinges? Troubles to close?
  • Are the gaps between panels too narrow (too wide) on one side of the car?
  • Lots of rusty spots?
  • Mismatched colors? Painting over spray?
  • Any panel of the car seems to be repainted?
  • Why? Accident? Corrosion?
  • Trailer hinge? The car was using for towing?
  • Indications of possible engine problem:
  • Any oil or coolant leaks from the engine?
  • Is the engine dirty or oily?
  • Is the oil level low? Is the oil on the dipstick too dark?
  • Any indication of poor quality repair work / lack of maintenance? (e.g. badly corroded battery terminals, very low oil level, etc.)
Start the engine:
  • Does it work unevenly?
  • Any knocking, pinging, whistling?
  • Any smoke? (slight water steam is OK)
  • Any warning lights come on while the engine is running?
  • "Check engine" light?
  • Is the engine oil pressure too low at idle?
  • Any hesitation on acceleration?
  • Is the engine enough powerful?
  • Does it look very dirty under the oil cap?
  • Smell of the burnt oil under the hood?
  • Any leaks?
  • Any noises while driving?
  • Any troubles changing gears?
  • Is the clutch slipping?
  • Any trouble to shift into reverse?
  • The suspension problems:
  • Is any of shock absorbers leaking?
  • Is any of the shock absorber boots broken?
  • The steering has notable free play?
  • Does the car bounces too much when you push one of the corners down?
  • Tires have irregular wear? (alignment problem)
  • Does the car sit level?
During a driving test:
  • Any knocking or creaking noises when driving over bumps?
  • Does the car pull aside? Is the steering wheel out of center?
  • Does the vehicle feel unstable on a freeway?
  • Any humming or growling noise?
  • Is the brake fluid container leaky?
  • Is the brake fluid level too low?
  • Brake pedal goes down to the floor? Break pedal is too soft (spongy)? Too hard? Any brake fluid leaks under the car?
  • Badly corroded brake lines? Brake rotors appear corroded? During the test drive.
  • Any brake pedal or steering pulsation while braking?
  • Does the vehicle pull aside while braking?
  • Any grinding noise?
  • Does the brake warning light or ABS light come on while driving?
  • Any cracks, bruises?
  • Tread appears low?
  • Mismatched tires?
  • Damaged rims?
  • Vibration at high speed?
  • Humming noise? (uneven tire wear?)
  • Is the driver seat / steering wheel worn excessively?
  • Dampness under the carpet or in the trunk?
  • Does the Radio / CD / Tape work?
  • Has the odometer any evidences of being tampered?
  • Does the air conditioner provide really cold air?
  • Are the power locks, windows, mirrors, sunroof, etc. working?
  • Are the heater, rear window defogger working?
  • Wind noise while driving?
  • Any of warning lights come on while driving?
  • Do you feel comfortable in driver's place?
  • Seats, seat belts, mirrors, controls, steering, visibility?
  • Spare tire, jack, wheel wrench?
Sep 22, 2009

Checking all the Documents properly before the final payment is a must. Always ask the seller for the Registration papers. These documents are required to transfer the vehicle ownership. The certificate also provide the purchaser a chance to confirm vehicle ownership. Confirm the seller is the first owner of the car.

Blue book( Registration Certificate)- Check if it is a duplicate or not. Check with the RTO for further authentication. Check Engine No and Chasis number are matching with the Numbers in the Registration Papers. Check the state of registration, mentioned in the papers. The state mentioned in the paper should be the state where you are planning to use the car. If not make sure that the seller do the necessary things to transfer the registration to the state that you are planning to use. Check for the RTO

Tax receipt
Insurance Certificate- This is the most important certificate of the car. Check for any prior accidents claims. This certificate is a must for any transfer by RTO.

Pollution Under Control certificate - This is a must for transfer of name.

BMC or Municipality certificate, if applicable. This is absolutely necessary if the car is registered in a municipal area.

Road Tax: Ensure that the seller gives you the papers related to road tax or clears all payments before he sells the car to you.

Other Documents: If you are planning to buy a used car that was bought on finance by the seller, remember to collect the following documents in addition to the above-mentioned ones. Try to get the original invoice of the car from the owner.

NOC (No Objection Certificate): NOC issued by the finance company. This document ensures that the finance company has no claim on the car anymore.

Dec 22, 2009
Useful stuff.
I am more into selling second hand, than buying, but this is going to be real useful even to a seller!!
Thread Starter #4
Sep 18, 2009
Yes may be we should document some stuffs for selling Used cars.

Ilango is in process of selling his car, may be he can start a thread.
Oct 5, 2010
New Delhi
guys how to check digital ode meter whether they have been tampered or not . I was checking i10 for my friend . ODE meter say its 18k but i feel that it has been tampered the way engine was performing still i don't know whether i am right or not
Sep 12, 2009
I missed this thread.

Checking a second hand car is simple and depends.

Suppose you are ready to buy the car and spend some , you must check the body for any accident and then the engine , if the running mechanical have some problem like lower arm suspension bushes etc they can be replaced.

If you want to drive them straight away , then a through check must be done.

Minor accidents are common and so work may be carried our.

Check for chassis work . like the spot welding points etc . that must be all clear , as if a car suffers major accident they are prone to damage

Check the under body. check for any suspicious spots etc.

Normal odometer tampering can be found when a needle runs to and fro at a particular speed. like it dances from 30 to 50 kmph .

Some times the odo may not be working , that cant be found.

Yes a digital odo can be set again. Like a 1L kms run can be changed to 30 or 60K kms. Changing them cost about 2000/- so many wont go for them , except in indica's where the console stop working , or when a new console is set up , the meter starts from 0.

You can very well find a heavy run car by the pedal etc.

Rest other points are in rsm's first post!


Core Team
Aug 10, 2009
New Delhi
Not necessarily that car's odometer may be tampered but possibility is that it was driven too harsh by the first owner. Best is to avoid going with the car if you have any suspect about it.

Drive Safe,
Oct 5, 2010
New Delhi
well ya that's what i told my friend not to go for it better look for other car .

It seam there is no way to verify about ODE meter directly
Not open for further replies.

Top Bottom