- Any "bad" records in a VIN history report?
- Any service records with mileage readings? Has the oil been changed regularly? Any major engine or transmission repairs? Last emission test?
Walk-aroundIndications of possible problems:
- Does the car sit level or do any of the suspension springs appear sagging?
- Are the body lines not straight? Ripples? Misaligned panels?
- Does any part of the car appear to be repainted? Mismatched colors? Paint overspray? Different paint texture on different panels? Why? Accident? Corrosion?
- Does the driver's door have a free play in the hinges? Is it difficult to close?
- Are the gaps between the panels different on one side of the car compared to the other side?
- Does the car have many rusty spots?
- Is there a trailer hinge? Was the car used for towing
a heavy trailer?
- Any cracks, chips, scratches on the windshield?
Wheels and Tires:
- Are the tires of a reputable brand or a "no name" kind of product? Are all 4 tires the same?
- Any cuts, cracks or other damage? is the tire tread low? Irregular wear? Damage on the rims?
The suspension and chassis problems:
- Does the car look badly corroded underneath?
- If the vehicle has a frame, is it badly rusted? Does it appear repaired?
- Any smell? Excessive perfume? Dampness?
- Is the driver seat or steering wheel worn excessively? - Does it look like it was a rental or heavily abused car?
- Any dampness under the carpet or in the trunk?
- Do all the electrical features work? Power locks, windows, mirrors, sunroof, wipers, remote control?
- Does the air conditioner blow really cold air?
- Do the heater and rear window defogger work?
- Do windows get foggy with the heater ON?
- Is the radio reception good?
- Does the CD player play discs?
- Do you feel comfortable in the driver's seat? Space? Visibility? Mirrors, controls, steering?
- Is there a cruise control? ABS? Stability Control?
- Do all the seat belts work?
- Is the rear seat space sufficient?
- Does the vehicle have an additional ignition key(s), spare tire, jack and a wheel wrench?
Under the hood:
- Is there a burnt oil smell under the hood?
- Any leaks? Is the engine dirty or oily?
- Does the engine look sludged up under the oil cap?
Is the oil level low? Is oil on the dipstick too dark?