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Car Inspection Checklist

Car Inspection Checklist

Buying a used car often is challenging especially if you do not know about cars or have no mechanical background. The issue is that you can never know if the vehicle status is how it looks to be or it is different.

Losing money on used cars commonly happens everywhere however with just a little bit of extra care this can be avoided. This is the reason why Car Inspection is essential before making any purchase.

It is also always recommended by the Department of Fair Trading to ensure that you inspect the car before paying any deposits or making the purchase.

Before making any commitment to the seller, check all the following to make sure the vehicle is in a good shape and you are not buying someone else’s problem.

Pre Purchase Car Inspection Sydney- last Check Inspection
Used Car Inspection Before Purchase_ Last Check Inspection
Car Inspection Sydney_ Last Check Vehicle Inspection


This vehicle inspection checklist has been made for you to follow and inspect your own vehicle yourself anywhere.

Bear in mind that your inspection can never be like a professional car inspector with all the tools and expertise however if you do not want to spend money on car inspection, it can help you a lot.

Vehicle History Check / REVS Check is also always recommended before buying a used car. This is to ensure the vehicle is legit and has no write-off history and the car is not under finance.

If the REVS Check comes with a Written off or Stolen Title, normally the value of that vehicle is less than the market average and if the vehicle is under finance, extra care is needed.

Never buy a used car that is under finance as the finance remains on the vehicle and the finance company can acquire the vehicle after purchase.

REVS check has other names such as PPSR Report, Car History Check, Vehicle History Report but they are all the same.

Prepurchase Car Inspection _ Last Check Vehicle Inspection
Used Car computer Diagnosis _ Last Check Inspection
car Inspection Before Purchase in Sydney NSW_ Last Check Car Inspection
car inspection before buying sydney_ Last Check Inspection



Before going through the list below and for a better understanding of what to look for, watch this Pre-Purchase Car Inspection Video made by the NSW Department of Fair Trading.

The video can be very helpful especially if you are a beginner with little Mechanical Knowledge.

The video tells you what to before purchasing a used car to avoid costly mistakes and potentially losing money on a wrong car purchase.



  • Engine – engine must run smoothly without any excessive sound or shake while the car is static or in motion.
  • Engine oil – proper engine oil should be in bright honey colour, not any darker or black. The oil should also be viscose and not too runny.
  • Smoke – Smoke has to have no colour. If you see any blue, grey or white smoke, the car can potentially have mechanical faults.
  • Radiator coolant – you should see no residue stuck on the coolant cap. The coolant should be clean and brightly coloured, typically green or red.
  • Fluid leaks – Any leak under or around the vehicle should be checked properly. Look around the engine compartment and underneath the car for signs of oil, coolant or other leaks that might indicate poor maintenance and potential repairs.
  • Exhaust – Smoke that has any colour such as blue, white or grey show that there is a problem with the vehicle. Excessive exhaust noise or a knocking sound from under the car can indicate an exhaust system problem.
  • Vehicle identification – Check that the car’s VIN (vehicle identification number) matches the VIN on the registration papers. Open the bonnet and look for a small silver build plate that is usually in one of the rear corners of the engine compartment.
  • Lights – test all the lights including the indicators. Having someone to help makes this job much faster. Testing the brake lights needs someone to help.
  • Body and paint – Inspect the body for dents, ripples, loose, mismatched panels, paint overspray, evidence of rust or crash repairs. Make sure you put the car on a jack and inspect under the vehicle as well.
  • Interior – Check the seats, carpet and interior plastics for stains, damage, cracks or wear and tear. Use your logic to see whether the condition is in line with the age of the vehicle you are inspecting.
  • Electronics – Ensure all the car electronics are functional including the air conditioning and fan, power windows and mirrors, audio system, satellite navigation, parking sensors and reversing camera.
  • Tyres – Ideally, the tyres should be of the same brand and pattern. Check the thread and the sides for any tear or damage. That can pose a safety risk and needs immediate attention. A thread of Less than 1.6mm is an offence by law in NSW.
  • Seat-belts – Ensure all the seatbelts are operational. If you have a child, ensure the rear seat belts work smoothly and properly.
  • Warning lights – With the engine running, you should see no illuminated warning lights.
  • Jack and tool kit – Make sure the car has a jack and its tool kit. It is a must-have in all vehicles no matter what the usage type is.
  • Test drive – Road test of the used car is the most important part that needs to be done before purchase. Ensure that the vehicle runs smoothly, gear shifts are smooth and no extra sound is being made when the car is in motion.


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