How to Inspect a Used Car Before Buying

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With personal mobility becoming a priority for many, you may be interested in buying yourself a used car. From the exteriors to the mechanical parts, it is important to know how to self-inspect a pre-owned car before buying. If you follow this checklist, you can ascertain the quality of the car for yourself before having the car certified by a professional mechanic.



Parts to check:

  • Visible major dents and scratches
  • All body panels, including bumpers, fenders, and doors
  • Any visible damage on headlights and taillights
Spinny Assured Honda Jazz side
Visually inspect the car in direct sunlight

Take the car outside to an open area if possible and ensure there is ample light to inspect the car effectively. Inspect the car’s overall bodywork and try to look for major dents or scratches that could indicate an accidental car. Minor scratches on used cars are to be expected, so do ensure that these are acceptable for you.

Spinny Assured Honda Jazz rear
Check all body panels for dents and scratches

Inspect the front and rear bumpers as well as doors and other body panels to see if they have been replaced. Replaced bodywork will be visible due to the slightly different colour of the part in comparison to the rest of the car. Also inspect the headlights and taillights for any visible damage as well as enquire about any bulb changes.

Windshield & Windows

Parts to check:

  • Major and minor cracks on the windshield
  • Proper functioning of power windows
  • Enquire about any glass replacements
Spinny Assured Honda Jazz windshield

The windshield and windows are next. Closely examine the glass panels on the car for minor and major cracks. Driving a car with a cracked windshield or window could be unsafe and replacing this component is expensive. Check to see if the windows are operating as they should and that there are no obstructions while winding the window up or down.

You should also ask the current owner whether any of the windows have been changed or replaced during their ownership. This will give you additional piece of mind as a new window or windshield will be in much better condition.

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Parts to check:

  • Check tread condition on tyres
  • Match wear on all tyres
  • Enquire about any tyre changes
Spinny Assured Honda Jazz tyres
Ensure all four tyres are the same brand

Tyres usually tell a lot of the car’s story. A car with almost no tread on its tyres suggest high mileage use by the current owner. High mileage use often also causes wear and tear on other parts as well, so a visual inspection will give you a good indication of what to expect.

Spinny Assured Honda Jazz tyres
These tyres will need replacement

Ensure that all four tyres are of the same brand and have the same wear on them. One tyre with mismatched wear indicates the current owner has not had all the tyres replaced, which will mean you will need to do so at your expense. Ask the current owner if the tyres have been changed at any point during their ownership.


Instruments & Buttons

Parts to check:

  • Check all dashboard lights
  • Inspect the functioning of the buttons and dials in the car
  • Inspect touchscreen infotainment system
  • Inspect stereo system
  • Check proper cooling functionality of the AC
Spinny Assured Honda Jazz instrument display

Modern cars have many buttons and instruments to provide convenient functionality for the driver. With use, some might tend to not function as effectively as when they were new. Put the car into Accessory Mode and check to see if all dashboard lights switch on as they should. Take the opportunity to check all the warning lights as well to find any particular issues with the car.

Spinny Assured Honda Jazz steering
Check all buttons for proper functioning

Moving to the centre console, check all the buttons and dials to ensure they are working as expected. These buttons include the rear-view mirror controls, power window controls, central locking controls, and steering mounted controls.

Spinny Assured Honda Jazz centre console

Cars today are also equipped with touchscreen infotainment systems which need to be inspected as well. Check the screen for major scratches as well as the responsiveness of the system. Inspect the functioning of the stereo system in the car to find any malfunctioning speakers. Take this opportunity to check the functioning of the air conditioner as well. The AC should provide effective cooling and heating at all blower levels.

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Seats & Upholstery

Parts to check:

  • Check the condition of the seats and upholstery
  • Check seat adjustment are unobstructed
Spinny Assured Honda Jazz rear seats

Conditions of the seat are an important component to check. Dirty and damaged upholstery indicates the car was not maintained properly by the current owner. This could indicate further mechanical issues that need to be professionally inspected.

The functioning of the seats should also be inspected as well. Check the reclining and seat adjustment features to ensure there are no complications in the adjustment. If the car has electronically adjusting seats, ensure your inputs are being properly registered by the system.



Parts to check:

  • Visual inspection of engine components
  • Check all engine fluids and coolants
  • Rev the engine to find uncharacteristic sounds and vibrations
  • Test drive the car to check the engine’s performance
Spinny Assured Honda Jazz engine compartment

A visual inspection of all the components in the engine compartment, including the cables, hoses and pipes, to ensure the car has been properly maintained. The engine fluids should be checked for the same reason. Check the engine oil and coolant for any particles that could indicate deeper problems in the engine.

Once you have inspected the engine, it’s time to turn the ignition and run the engine. Listen for any metallic or uncharacteristic sounds as you gradually rev the engine. You should also pay attention to excessive vibrations from the engine, which could indicate worn engine dampeners. Take the car for a short test drive where you test the car’s performance at all speeds.

Brakes & Suspension

Parts to check:

  • Check for rust on brakes and suspension
  • Test drive the car to test the performance of the brakes and suspension

Visually inspect the brakes and suspension for any rust or excessive wear. These would need to be replaced to make the car safe to drive. Take the car for a test drive and ensure that the brakes are responsive and the suspension is performing as expected on rough roads.

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Parts to check:

  • Gear changes should be smooth
  • Clutch should not slip or be hard to engage
Spinny Assured Honda Jazz gearstick

While you test drive the car, make sure you go through all the gears in a manual transmission. If the gear shifts are not smooth or there is audible grinding with each change, the gearbox has been heavily used and will need a costly replacement. For automatics, make sure the model you are buying doesn’t have a history of automatic transmission failures.

Additionally, you will also need to check the clutch as well. The clutch should be easy to operate and should not require a hard press to depress the pedal. Conversely, also check whether the clutch clips with each gear change. Both these behaviours indicate that the clutch plates need replacement.


If all of the above is to your satisfaction, then you will need to ensure the following documents are ready to complete your purchase:

  • Original Registration Certificate
  • Original Insurance (if still valid)
  • Form 29: Notice to change ownership of vehicle
  • Form 30: Report of transfer of ownership of vehicle
  • A copy of Pollution Under Certificate
  • Bank NOC and 2 nos. of Form 35 (if the car is under hypothecation or loan)

The Spinny Advantage

Inspecting a used car before buying might appear to be a daunting and time-consuming process. Fortunately, Spinny takes away the doubts and ambiguity around the car’s condition by certifying every car before it is offered to you. Every car undergoes a 200-point inspection process that extensively checks every component of the car for any physical defect. Only 1 out of 10 cars clear our inspection, which means you get to choose from the best used cars in your city.

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