Popular Mechanics Used Car Checklist
by: Hearst Communications, Inc. • 19
Before you buy a used car, thoroughly inspect it with the help of this 101-point checklist from the automotive pros at Popular Mechanics. It’s fun and easy to use. The app keeps track of problems you spot and stores the information for later, along with photos and your own notes. The goal of this app is to get you, the buyer, to see, feel, and, yes, smell the entire car, which will help you judge its condition.
Note: While this checklist is rigorous, it’s impossible to predict when mechanical or electrical components will fail. Remember, you can always take the car to a certified mechanic for a second opinion.
Good for novices as well as experts: Each question requires a simple Yes or No answer. Most require no tools.
Letter grades (A through F) are updated after every question.
Add photos and notes.
The checklist is divided into eight sections: Basics, Exterior, Interior, Underbody, Engine, Engine Advanced, Powertrain, and Test Drive.
Email your vehicle summary to a friend or trusted mechanic for a second opinion.
Within each section, questions are ranked from highest priority to lowest priority.
See used-car shopping tips and a list of what to bring for an inspection.
You will receive warnings if you answer Yes to the highest priority questions, called Deal Breakers.