Buying a Used Car Checklist

December 2nd, 2021 by
car for sale sign on a used vehicle

Not sure what to look for when buying a used car? Our checklist will help guide you through the process with ease. While some Mesa drivers are hesitant to buy used, the right research can help you get a steal of a deal on that next sedan, SUV, or truck that you’ve been eyeing. Take a look at our buying a used car checklist below, and start shopping for your next vehicle at Cactus Jack's Auto.

What to Look for When Buying a Used Car Checklist

If you’re not sure what to look for when buying a used car, this checklist gives you a quick rundown of what to expect. We recommend bringing along a notebook and pen to jot down quick notes about the VIN, mileage, and pricing which can help you further your research. With that in mind, here’s what you look for when buying a used car:

  • Research Reviews: You can complete this step right from your living room in Surprise! Read reviews from online critics, automotive magazines, comparison guides, and any other publications you can find to get a firsthand perspective of your potential new vehicle.
  • Car Inspection: During your test drive, go through your used car inspection checklist. Does the paint look good? Do the doors close and open easily? Is the tread evenly worn? Look out for inconsistencies that could indicate big problems.
  • Under the Hood: Look under the hood and see if anything stands out. Are there leaky hoses, worn belts, dirty oil? A trusted mechanic can help spot problems you may not see.
  • Start the Car: Turn the key halfway in the ignition to make sure all the appropriate lights and gauges work and make sure they shut off after a minute. Then turn on the engine and rev it to check for knocks, noises, smoke, and other red flags.
  • Start Driving: Take the car through a variety of conditions to check for smooth shifting, straight steering, and a steady ride. Go through main roads and highways at 40 mph or higher.

Used Car Inspection Checklist

During the car inspection, we recommend taking your time to make sure this is really the car that can take you through your Glendale travels. This extensive used car inspection checklist includes some of the most common areas of damage, so there are no surprises when you sign the final paperwork:

  • Exterior and Tires: Windshield in good condition, working hazard lights and headlights, matching paint across all body panels, panels and seams aligned, no scratches or dents, tires from the same brand, tires in good working order, spare tires inflated and in good condition.
  • Engine and Suspension: Transmission fluid clean, transmission doesn’t slip or delay, no grinding noises in reverse.
  • Brakes and Steering: Vehicle drives straight, parking brake engages, wheels don’t lock when ABS is applied, no shaking or vibrations during the drive, no clicking or clunking when turning.
  • Interior: Upholstery in good condition, trunk and doors open and close, working gauges and infotainment, A/C and heater work, windshield wipers and fluid work, seats adjust properly, sunroof and power windows work, car alarm works.
  • Miscellaneous: Car manual included, service and repair record available, title included.

Find Your Next Car at Cactus Jack's Auto

With your buying a used car checklist in hand, it’s time to start shopping for your next Phoenix daily driver! Cactus Jack's Auto is a family-owned business that is committed to getting drivers great deals on great used vehicles. So whether you have great credit or bad credit, we can help you find the right car for your budget and lifestyle. Find out more about our Buy Here Pay Here financing or browse our inventory today, and contact us with questions!

Posted in Used Cars