Research shows that nearly 15 million new vehicles are expected to be purchased in 2023. This is a 7% boost from the 14 million new car sales estimated in 2022. Limited inventory and inflation severely dampened sales in 2022, but necessity-based car purchases are keeping the industry afloat in 2023.

Do your due diligence before purchasing a car this fall, especially if you plan to buy a used car. This includes inspecting a prospective car thoroughly for problems. Let's explore what to include on your car inspection checklist.

Car Inspection Checklist

You might be looking for a new car at online car auctions or through a private individual selling a car in 2023. The first item on your pre-purchase car inspection checklist should be to ask the seller several questions about their vehicle. These questions include the following:

  • What's your motivation for selling your car?
  • What oil brand and type does your vehicle take?
  • Who completed the oil changes?
  • When was the last time the car's timing belt was changed?
  • Has the vehicle been involved in a crash?

Another critical question to add to your car inspection checklist is, "Where is your car's repair/maintenance history document?" This is a crucial car inspection document since it will tell you whether the car's been kept up and any known problems it has had.

Examine the Exterior

The next item on your checklist for vehicle inspection should be to examine your car's exterior. Make sure the paint on all of the car's body panels matches. Confirm the following, too:

  • Are the car body's line gaps consistent and correct?
  • Does the hood open easily and fit?
  • Is there any flaking or cracked paint on the bumper?
  • Is the windshield cracked?

Double-checking the mirrors is another important task to add to your pre-purchase car inspection checklist. Do they all work? Are they crack-free?

Look Underneath the Vehicle

Your checklist for vehicle inspection should also include looking underneath your prospective car. No fluids should be leaking. Here are some other questions to ask yourself as you tackle this item on your pre-purchase inspection list:

  • Is anything loose or hanging down?
  • Are the tires the same brand, size, and tread depths?
  • Are the tires cracked?
  • Are the tires' sidewalls damaged?

Double-check to ensure the tires are bump-free and smooth. Ask if the tires have wheel locks, too. Wheel locks are fasteners designed to keep people from stealing the car.

Explore Beneath the Hood

Add inspecting the hood area to your checklist for vehicle inspection. The fluid levels beneath the hood should be clean and full. Other questions to ask yourself are as follows:

  • Are the battery terminals corroded (rusty)?
  • Are the drive belts cracked?
  • Are the hose clamps rusty?

Check whether the radiator hose is soft, spongy, or very hard. These are all signs the hose is in bad condition. It should feel firm but not too hard.

Radiators are heat exchangers that transfer energy to help with heating and cooling. The radiator hose must be durable since high-pressure hot water must travel through it.

The radiator hose clamps should be in excellent condition, too. They shouldn't look rusty.

Another question to ask is, "Is the oil dipstick discolored?" This might be a sign that the car's engine isn't running at the right temperature or another fluid has leaked into the vehicle's oil supply. A mechanic may have to diagnose and address this issue.

Focus on the Interior

Your pre-purchase inspection checklist should include an interior car inspection. The seat belts should be intact, and the power windows and door locks should work from every switch. Other interior car components that should be operational include:

  • Interior lights
  • Working radio
  • USB ports
  • Power receptacles
  • Horn
  • Emergency flashers
  • Turn signals
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (AC) blower motor
  • Heater and AC controls

Your windshield wipers should be working well, too. There shouldn't be any streaking.

Do a Test Drive

The final item on your car safety checklist is to a test drive. This will help you detect issues while the car is running. Confirm the vehicle does the following:

  • Stars easily
  • Has operational dash gauges
  • Doesn't have illuminated warning lights
  • Accelerates, idles, and stops smoothly
  • Doesn't produce knocks, rattles, or noises
  • Stops smoothly
  • Drives straight
  • Operates correctly at various speeds

Ensure the car doesn't jerk while you're driving it. This is an important item on your vehicle safety inspection checklist because jerking indicates several potential problems.

These may range from a bad oil pump to insufficient transmission fluid. The fluid lubricates the transmission, which transfers power to the car's wheels from its engine.

Shipping Your New Car

Suppose you've found a car that ticks all the boxes on your full car inspection checklist, but it's hundreds or thousands of miles away. Hire an auto transport company to ship it for you.

Choose between enclosed auto transport and open auto transport. Open transport involves hauling a car on a carrier with no walls. Your vehicle won't be protected from the elements, but it's a more affordable option.

Enclosed auto transport involves transporting a vehicle on a carrier with walls. This hot shot car transport is ideal for shipping classic or luxury cars.

How much do auto transport companies charge to ship your vehicle? Use a car shipping calculator to get a cross-country car shipping cost estimate. Your cost may range from $600 to nearly $2,000 depending on your shipping distance and whether you choose open and enclosed shipping.

Car Shipping Checklist

Use a checklist for new car delivery to ensure a smooth auto-shipping process. This checklist for car delivery should include several tasks before you ship a car to another state. They include:

  • Documenting the car's condition and mileage
  • Removing loose items from the car's interior
  • Making sure the fuel tank is under one-quarter full

Keeping the gas level low will reduce the vehicle's weight. This will prevent issues for the transport driver at a weight station.

How We Can Help With Auto Transport

A car inspection checklist should include examining a prospective car's interior and exterior. The pre-purchase car inspection checklist should also include looking beneath the hood before you buy and ship the vehicle.

We'd gladly ship your new car to your home at Nexus Auto Transport. Get a quote now!

Looking to buy or sell a car? We can help you with that.