Things to Check When Buying Second-hand Automobiles (Check List)

Body (paint, doors), Glasses (windshield, windows), Tires, Lights (headlights, brake lights, signal lights, fog lights), Wipers (blade), Steering Wheel, Pedals, Gear Stick (gearshift or shifter), Air conditioner (cold, warm), Air Filters (cabin, engine), Seats (driver, passenger), Seatbelts, Floor (mats), Engine, Brake, Oil, Warning Lights, Mileage, Speedometer, Engine Temperature, Sound System, Dashboard, Underhood and last but not the least, Trunk (if applicable). Read the full article...

Body (paint, doors)

Check the body of the car for any dents or scratches. Try to look for any visible discoloration on the surface of the paint. Discoloration is a sign that a car has undergone paint works (usually due to accidents or deep scratches). Open and close the doors and make sure that all fit perfectly when closed. A door that doesn't fit properly is also a sign of previous car accident.

Glasses (windshield, windows)

Make sure the windshield and all the window glasses don't have a crack. Any small crack can become a problem in the future. Rain water may enter the crack, specially when you encounter heavy rain pours. Also, check if all the power windows are working and same thing for the manual car windows (rollers).


Examine the tires if still thick. Check the treads of the tires. Treads must be equal to all portions of the tires including the parts that are hidden.

Lights (headlights, brake lights, signal lights, fog lights)

Checking all the lights of the car is a must. Turn on the headlights (fog lights if applicable) and check if both are working fine. Also, turn on the hazzard lights. Have someone stepped on the brake pedal, so you can check it yourself if the break lights are working. Put the turn signal to left then to the right and make sure it's both working fine too. You may also want to check if the lights inside the interior of the car are working.

Wipers (blade)

Turn on the wipers to see if these are working. You can pour water on the windshield to check if the blades still performs well on wiping the water out of the windshield.

Steering Wheel

Drive the car to check if the steering wheel doesn't have any issues. Try driving without holding it and see if the car will not swirl to the left or to the right. The car will not swirl if there isn't any issue on the steering wheel or any of the parts that are responsible on turning your car to the left or to the right.


Check the pedals if all are working fine. Newer cars requires the clutch to be stepped as you turn on the engine (clutch is for manual cars only). Of course, the car should move as you stepped on the gas pedal and stop when you stepped on the break pedal.

Gear Stick (gearshift or shifter)

There are two types of Gear Stick, stick shift and automatic shift. These gears both play important roles on your car, so you don't want to ruin it. Don't rest your arm on the gear stick. These are attached to the gearbox which can be damaged when you put stress on it.

Air Conditioner (cold,warm)

Turn on the air conditioner. Set it to cold and check all the levels if working fine. After making sure it's working, set it to warm and do the same thing. Watch out for any noise that you may hear when you turn on the air conditioner as it may be a sign of any issues on it.

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    Automobile Buying Essentials (Second-hand Cars)

    Trusted Mechanic

    Trusted Mechanic

    The engine is the most important part of an automobile. Without it, your vehicle will be useless. You want to be sure it's still in good condition. You should consider asking a trusted mechanic when checking the vehicle's overall engine performance. (Image Courtesy: mechanicschoolsnearme.com)

    Test Drive

    Test Drive

    Looks can be deceiving. You think it's perfect? The overall look of the automobile seems great. But, did you check the smoothness of the ride? Test driving will give you confidence that it still performs well. Try driving it for at least ten kilometers. If it's a manual transmission, be sure to test all the gears if these are still working. It will also be good if you try driving it on different road conditions such us uphill, downhill and many more. (Image Courtesy: coverhound.com)

    Car Finance

    Car Finance

    Banks are now offering second-hand car financing. However, payment terms are only up to three years. Some banks offer up to four years but will give you higher interest. Talking about the interest, it's best to compare the interests of different banks first before getting your car loan. Don't be too excited to get a loan from banks which promise instant approval. It's always best to compare and ask questions before getting into car loans. The best option is still to pay the car in full. (Image Courtesy: thinkstock.com)

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