How to Properly Inspect a Used Car Before Buying – 2024 Guide

Buying a new car is not easy, given the abundance of models, engines, equipment packages, warranty periods, and special prices. However, buying a used car is even more complex because, in addition to the above, it is necessary to examine many others. Regardless of the age, price, and class of the used car, when buying it is necessary to minimize the risk of making the wrong choice.

Although you can save a lot by buying a used car, this process is much more complicated and involves various checks, starting from the ownership documentation to the condition of the car. Sometimes the look of a car can fool you at first glance, so an extra check is definitely welcome. These are some of the things you must check before you decide to buy a used car.

Test drive

Only when you get behind the wheel will you know if that car is for you or not. Are the brakes good? Does it accelerate evenly? How does it drag on uneven terrain and do you hear a thump then? These are things you won’t notice until you test drive, and they are crucial when buying a vehicle.



Unfortunately, many car dealers use dirty tricks to sell used vehicles. One of the most popular is definitely returning mileage. No one wants to buy a vehicle that has traveled 300,000 km, so returning the clock for mileage has become very popular. If they are convinced that the car you like has passed just as much as the seller says it has, take the car to a mechanic who has the necessary equipment to check it. Of course, have them check the engine and chassis number along the way.

Review of traffic documents, certificates, service booklets…

It is very important that the car you buy is regularly serviced, and that it has all the necessary documents. Despite the fact that the vehicle can be mechanically and aesthetically in exceptional condition, if it turns out that the paperwork of the vehicle is “not clean”, there can be big problems, and in the end even the possible confiscation of the vehicle by the police.

Paint and rust


It is best to use a simple varnish meter to check the varnish. It will tell you where the sheet metal corrections were made. The factory result is approximately 80-120 μm. If only one part is lacquered, the meter will show approximately 150-190 μm. Higher values may indicate that the vehicle has been sealed.

When we talk about rust, any place that has rusted is a potential cost. Specifically inspect the sills, chassis, door bottom, boot floor, and wheel arches – these are the most common places of corrosion.


If the tires are worn on more than one side, it means that the trap is not well centered. In addition, based on the consumption, one can know more about the reliability of the odometer. Every good car connoisseur will agree with the statement that tires are one of the most important elements for driving safety.



The interior of a vehicle can also reveal a lot. Worn pedals always indicate intensive use. In addition, the steering wheel trim may be worn. This indicates the fact that the car is driven much more in city conditions. Thousands of kilometers driven in the city always have greater consequences for the condition of the engine than the same number of kilometers traveled on the open road. The increased clearance on the driver’s door hinges also indicates intensive use of the car on short distances.

Mechanics and operation of cars

When it comes to a car engine, the best option is to open the hood and first visually check the appearance of the engine. Are there any signs of rust, what do the belts look like, are there any holes and cracks, what do the other parts of the eye look like? Do they look preserved? When the car starts, what is the sound of the engine and vibration? The oil in the car’s engine can say a lot about how the previous owner treated the vehicle. Open the lid and check for oil, after wiping the lid and putting it back on, check for oil on it. What color is the oil? If it is completely black or too dark, know that the owner did not take care of his car as it should and neglected to change the oil regularly.

Watch where you shop


If you buy a used car from car dealers, rollsauto advises you to make sure it is reliable. Ask if anyone around you has already had experience with them because unfortunately, there are many who sell cars in poor driving condition, which is hard to notice at first. If you are buying a car from an individual, try to get as much information as possible.


Set a budget, that is, define a limit that you would not go over when searching, but still have enough money for mandatory interventions after the purchase, such as replacing the timing belt, V-belt / PK belt, engine oil, and all filters. It would be good to check the condition of the spanner in service and, if necessary, make a replacement if they are not already in the “set” (many recommend their replacement without checking), and the same goes for the oil and filter in the gearbox, especially if it is automation.

Anyone who knows anything about cars will advise you to do a great service after the purchase. Only then will you be sure that the car is in good condition and ready to hit the road.

Final thoughts

Finally, we can give you a few more tips. We recommend that during the first inspection of the vehicle, you examine the basic things that can be noticed and recorded on the ground with a simple insight into the vehicle.

If you find that it makes sense to subject the car to a more thorough inspection, we advise you to schedule an inspection at a car service or to have the vehicle inspected by a person who has sufficient experience when it comes to mechanics and diagnostics in the service environment.