Pre-Purchasing Inspection: How to Inspect a Certified Pre-Owned Car

It is often more affordable to buy a used car than buy a new certified pre owned cars, but if you don’t do your research, you may find the car needs constant repairs.

Often, car-savvy buyers opt to get a pre-purchase inspection before buying a used car in order to identify a car’s roadworthiness and value. A used car inspection is a crucial step in the process for many people.

An inspection checklist includes seven steps that are necessary for performing a PPI (pre-purchase inspection) process, including securing paperwork, driving a used car, and examining other items.

General Tips on Used Car Pre-Purchasing Inspection

The purpose of a pre-purchase inspection of a used car is to determine its overall condition. It is usually conducted by a licensed mechanic who knows the specific make and model of the vehicle, as well as its mechanical and safety issues.

When you commission a qualified expert to examine the entire car, you can discover faults and damages that may not be obvious at face value. You can also uncover repairs or conditions not disclosed by the seller.

Benefits Of A Used Car Inspection

One of the greatest benefits of a PPI is the sense of security that comes with a PPI, because you don’t want to find out that you’ve had major car problems without doing your due diligence.

Having the opinion of an experienced mechanic on the vehicle will also help you to figure out a fair estimate of the value of the vehicle so you can negotiate the price with the pre owned dealerships.

1. Check The Papers And Documents

If you plan to purchase a Certified Pre-owned cars, you should check its:

VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number, which contains specific information about your vehicle. It is also helpful for tracking past accidents and ownership changes that can affect the car’s market value.

Before a used car can be legally driven on a public road, it must meet certain safety standards. Before buying a used car from an Ontario dealer, make sure the certificate is present.

An Ontario vehicle history report, known as a UVIP, contains information about your car’s liens and new owner registrations.

Your vehicle must be inspected at one of the many inspection sites across the province in order to pass the Ontario Drive Clean Emissions Test, or ODCET.

2. Inspect The Exterior Of The Car

When inspecting the exterior of Certified Pre-owned Cars, make sure you examine the underside and all sides, as well as the headlights, tires, and mirrors.

The chassis of the vehicle needs to be free of rust and corrosion, which can inflict permanent and costly damage. First, check the car’s body surface for dents and scratches. These tell more than just how good the car is. Scratches on a used car may indicate that it was in some kind of accident and its alignment was never checked.

Turn on the lights, check for cracks or fog on the headlights and taillights. Next, test them. Check the mirrors, windows, and windshield, searching for cracks and scratches.

3. Inspect The Interiors Of The Car

When checking a car’s interior, use your senses- primarily your sense of smell, sight, hearing, and touch. Once you open the door and walk around, pay attention to the aroma, notice if there’s any mouldy or musty odour, and hear the car as you run your fingers over the steering wheel or door locks. You can tell there was a flood just by looking.

To investigate inside the home, look for stains and tears in upholstery and carpet and any signs of flooding, like corrosion on the door hinges and screws, as well as a line of greyish water along the windows and walls. The next things to check are the dashboard, AC controls, and the radio to ensure that everything is in order.

4. Check The Engine And Transmission

It only takes two simple steps to pop open the hood:

Visually inspect the engine for rust, corrosion, and dark brown stains. It could be a sign of a head gasket leak. Check belts, alternators, and fluid tanks for cracks.

The previous owner may not have maintained the vehicle consistently if the oil and transmission fluid levels are low. Neither the engine oil nor transmission fluid should be dark or muddy; this indicates trapped dirt or damage. Coolant that is dirty or brown can also indicate a leaky head gasket.

5. Check For Any Warning Lights

First, it is essential to ensure that you can test drive a car before you buy it, even if you’re purchasing from a dealership or from a private seller. Someone who denies your request to test drive their vehicle is hiding something, so you should avoid such an agreement.

First thing to do when test driving a car is to see if all the warning lights come on. For instance, if an oil warning light won’t come on, despite there being enough oil, this may signify an issue with the car’s oil pump. Another thing you should never ignore is the check engine light. A busted gas cap could be indicated by it, or maybe even overheating.

6. Test Drive The Used Car

Now you’re fully equipped with everything you need to know before going on a test drive. As such, you can request up to 30 minutes to an hour so you can experience the car’s on-road features firsthand. Take your mechanic with you to keep an extra eye out for potential problems.

In other words, before the test, draw up a map that includes short, deserted roads, congested areas, and long highways. With that, you can watch the car run at low and high speeds.

Take a good look at the car’s seats before you get in. This way, you will know if you’re comfortable enough for a long drive. Pay close attention to how well the seat adjustment and seatbelts work. When you’re looking at buying a car, make sure to ask yourself whether you’re able to sit comfortably in it for hours.

7. Inspect The Brakes And Suspension

Last but not least, check your brakes and suspension during your drive. Pulsating brakes or a car that lurches forward could indicate rotor or suspension problems. If your car rides bumpier than usual, drifts or pulls to the side, you likely have suspension problems.

A simple way to check your suspension is to park your car and perform a “bounce test”. Put one foot or knee on the front of your car and push it down. In this case, the shock absorbers may need to be replaced. If the car bounces around a lot, it may be due to worn shock absorbers. The same process should be repeated at the back of the vehicle.


If you’re thinking of buying certified pre-owned cars, it is a good idea to conduct a thorough pre-purchase examination. Houston Direct Auto is a pre owned dealership near me. without one, you could get yourself in trouble if the car breaks down. It can be quite inconvenient when travelling, not to mention you’re probably going to pay more for your data.

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