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518 51st St, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7K 7L1
Dealership hours of operation
Mon - Wed 9:00am - 6:00pm
Thu 9:00am - 8:00pm
Fri 9:00am - 6:00pm
Sat 9:00am - 5:00pm
Sun 11:00am - 5:00pm
Dealership hours of operation
Mon - Fri 8:00am - 5:00pm
Sat Appointments - Only
Sun Closed

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The complete pre-purchase inspection checklist for used cars

The complete pre-purchase inspection checklist for used cars

When it comes to buying a used car, choosing the wrong car can cost you time and money. That's why this pre-purchase inspection checklist will serve as a good foundation to help you understand what to look for. By following this checklist, you can avoid making those costly mistakes and ensure that the used car you're considering is in good condition.

Check the exterior

The first step is to check the exterior of the car for any signs of damage or rust. Look closely at the body panels, doors, windows, and windshield. Make sure everything is in proper working order, and if you notice any damage or blemishes, take note of them. Many used cars may have some visual imperfections which is to be expected, but you want to look out for any damage that may be indicative of something more serious.

Check the interior

Next, move on to inspecting the interior of the car. Check for any unusual smells, stains, or signs of wear and tear on the seats and carpeting. Take note of any "smoke" smell, as cigarette smoke is notoriously difficult to remove from a car's interior. Additionally, test all the features such as air conditioning, radio, and power windows to ensure they are functioning correctly.

Take a look under the hood

Continuing with your inspection, it's important to take a look under the hood of the car. Even if you're not technically inclined, you can still spot common red flags. Check for any leaks or corrosion in the engine compartment, and examine all fluid levels including oil, coolant, and brake fluid. Inspect the belts and hoses for any signs of cracking or wear. Don't forget to also check the battery and its connections for any corrosion.

Inspect the tires

Moving on from under the hood, inspecting the tires is essential. Check their tread depth using a penny or tire gauge to ensure they're not worn out beyond safe limits. Look out for any uneven wear patterns which could indicate suspension or alignment issues. Check all four tires to see if the make and model match. It's often said that the use of "cheap" tire brands mean that the car was owned by someone who may have skimped on vehicle maintenance.

Check the maintenance records

Speaking of maintenance, ask to see if the vehicle has any maintenance records. Even the most reliable cars have parts that wear out over time. A vehicle that has had its maintenance deferred may cause you unwanted repair bills.

Check the vehicle history report

A vehicle history report provides important information about the car's past, including any accidents, repairs, or previous owners. In Canada, vehicle history reports are generally provided by CarFax Canada.

Check the undercarriage

This often overlooked area can accumulate dirt, debris, and even damage. Conduct a thorough inspection of the suspension system, exhaust pipes, and fuel lines. Look out for any signs of rust, leaks, or loose components. By taking the time to check the undercarriage, you can prevent potential issues and keep your vehicle running smoothly.

Go for a drive

Now it's time to get behind the wheel and take a test drive! Pay attention to how well the car accelerates, brakes, and handles on different road conditions. Listen carefully for any strange noises or vibrations coming from underneath or inside the vehicle. When in doubt, have a mechanic take a look at the vehicle for greater peace of mind.


By diligently following this pre-purchase inspection checklist before buying a used car, you can avoid costly mistakes and make an informed decision that will save you both money and headaches in the long run.

Looking for used cars in Saskatoon?

If you need to buy or sell pre-owned cars and trucks in Saskatoon and surrounding areas, look no further than Carget, Saskatoon's largest used car dealership. We offer a large inventory, flexible financing at great rates, unmatched customer service, and many other deals & special offers to help you get the best deal. View our inventory and get in touch with us today to learn more!

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