The Ultimate Checklist for Inspecting Used Cars for Sale

Buying a used car can be a great way to save money and find a reliable vehicle. However, it’s important to remember that not all used cars are created equal. Some may have hidden issues that could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs down the road. That’s why it’s crucial to thoroughly inspect cars for sale Coffs you’re considering before making a purchase. 

In this blog post, we’ll provide you with the ultimate checklist for inspecting used cars for sale. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you’re making an informed decision and getting the best possible deal.

Exterior Inspection

The first step in inspecting cars for sale Coffs is to thoroughly examine the exterior. Start by checking for any signs of damage, such as dents or scratches. Look closely at the paintwork and see if there are any areas where the colour doesn’t quite match or if there are signs of repainting. This could indicate that the car has been in an accident in the past.

Next, check for any rust on the body of the car. Rust can be a major issue, as it can eat away at the metal and cause structural problems. Pay close attention to areas such as the wheel wells, door sills, and under the car. If you notice any rust, it’s best to move on to another car.

Don’t forget to inspect the tires as well. Check for any signs of uneven wear, which could indicate an alignment issue. Look for cracks or bulges in the sidewalls, as this could mean the tires are worn out and need to be replaced soon. It’s also a good idea to check the tread depth using a penny or a tread depth gauge. If the tread is too low, the tires may need to be replaced.

Lastly, examine the lights and windshield condition. Make sure all the lights are functioning properly, including the headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals. Check the windshield for any chips or cracks, as these could potentially lead to larger issues in the future.

Interior Examination

After inspecting the exterior, it’s time to move on to the interior of the car. Start by checking the seats for any signs of damage or excessive wear. Sit in each seat and make sure they’re comfortable and supportive. Pay attention to the condition of the dashboard, controls, and upholstery as well. Look for any signs of cracking, fading, or stains.

It’s also important to use your sense of smell during the interior inspection. Unusual smells, such as a musty odour, could indicate water damage or mould. Take note of any strange or unpleasant smells and consider them when making your decision.

Mechanical Assessment

The mechanical components of used cars for sale Coffs are perhaps the most important to inspect. Start by checking the engine oil level and condition. The oil should be a clear amber colour and not too thick or too thin. If the oil is dirty or has a burnt smell, it may indicate that the car hasn’t been properly maintained.

Next, check the transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolant levels. These fluids should be at the appropriate levels and should appear clean and clear. If any of the fluids are low or dirty, it could indicate a maintenance issue.

Inspect the belts and hoses under the hood as well. Look for any signs of cracking or fraying. These components are crucial for the proper functioning of the car, so any issues should be addressed before making a purchase.

Don’t forget to check the battery condition. Look for any signs of corrosion or leaking. A weak or dead battery could indicate electrical issues with the car.

Test Drive Evaluation

The test drive is a crucial part of the inspection process. It allows you to assess the car’s performance and handling firsthand. Start by paying attention to the car’s acceleration. Does it accelerate smoothly, or does it hesitate or jerk? If the vehicle has a manual transmission, pay attention to how smoothly the gears shift.

Next, evaluate the car’s braking performance. Does it stop smoothly and effectively, or does it take longer than it should? If the car pulls to one side when braking, it could indicate a problem with the brakes or suspension.

Pay close attention to the car’s steering response as well. Does it feel loose or imprecise? If so, there may be issues with the steering system that need to be addressed.

During the test drive, make sure to test various features of the car, such as the air conditioning, audio system, and safety features. Turn on the air conditioning and make sure it blows cold air. Test the audio system to ensure it functions properly. Familiarise yourself with the car’s safety features, such as the airbags and ABS, and make sure they’re in working order.

Documentation Review

Before making a final decision, it’s crucial to review all available documentation related to the car. Start by checking the vehicle history report, if available. This will provide you with important information about the car’s past, including any accidents or major repairs.

Next, review the car’s service records. These records will give you an idea of how well the car has been maintained and if any major repairs have been done. Look for regular oil changes and routine maintenance, as these are indicators of a well-maintained car.

Lastly, verify the VIN number on the car against the VIN number on the documents. This will ensure that the car’s identity matches the documentation and that it hasn’t been tampered with.


Inspecting a used car thoroughly before making a purchase is essential to ensure that you’re getting a reliable vehicle. By following the ultimate checklist we’ve provided, you can confidently assess the exterior, interior, mechanical components, and overall condition of any used car you’re considering. 

Taking these steps will help you make an informed decision to purchase cars for sale Coffs and avoid any costly surprises down the road.