Used Car Checklist: Standing Check : 1) Mileage: 12,000 / yr normal 2) Paint over spray:
a) Tailpipe- b) Moldings- c) Windows-
a) Fenders- b) Doors- c) Rocker Panels- d) Window Moldings- e) Wheel wells- f) Flooring- g) Bed-
4) Body Appearance (Crash work?):
a) Moldings- b) Bumpers- c) Grille- d) Vinyl Roof- e) Glass- f) Doors- g) Tailgate- h) Body Panels-
5) Leaks (No leaks are normal other than radiator spout): 6) Tires:
a) Check Air Pressure b) Check Condition of spare tire. c) Check for uneven wear
7) Shock Absorbers:
a) Push down hard on each corner, good shocks won't allow more than two rebounds
a) New seat covers on sagging seats? b) New pedal pads and worn armrests? c) Water leaks or flooding signs under floor mats? d) Missing hardware (Door handles, knobs) e) Lights and signal operation f) All accessories (Radio, Air cond.[expensive repairs!], Heater) operational? g) Windshield Wipers
9) Belts and Hoses:
a) Wear cracks or weak spots b) Check for stains on hose connections (indicates leaks)
a) Low electrolyte level b) Corroded terminals c) Cracked case
a) Corrosion or rust in the coolant
12) Air Filter:
a) Dirty air filter indicates lack of maintenance
13) Spark Plug Wires:
a) Cracks in wires b) Burned spots or wear
14) Oil level:
a) Low level indicates  Lack of maintenance  Excessive oil burning  Possible leaks b) If oil on dipstick is  foamy or tan (indicating leakage of coolant into oil)  Thin or smells like gasoline (leakage of fuel into oil) DON'T BUY THE VEHICLE!!
15) Automatic Transmission:
a) Warm Transmission fluid should be full, cold should appear about 1 pint low. b) Fluid should be bright, translucent red. c) Brown/Black fluid (especially if smells burned) says transmission needs MAJOR repairs.
a) Blue smoke indicates excessive oil usage due to major internal problems b) Black Smoke can indicate burned valves, or carburetor problems (improper fuel mixture) c) Check exhaust system for leaks (They are expensive to repair)
17) Spark Plugs:
a) Good plugs have light tan or grey deposit on electrode.
If 2 or more items from 1-8 have problems, there has been poor maintenance, reconsider selection. 9-13 indicate lack of proper maintenance, but relatively inexpensive to repair. If there is any problem in 14-17 FORGET IT you have a lemon.
1) Engine Performance:
a) Good accelerator response? b) Adequate power? c) Smooth acceleration through gears?
a) Brakes should give quick firm stops, no squealing, pulling or fading.
a) Sure control? b) Binding, harshness, or looseness, or wheel shimmy is trouble c) Noise or vibration in steering wheel means trouble
a) Quick, smooth engagement in and through gears
5) Manual Transmission:
a) Smooth shifting? Easy change of gears? b) Clashing, grinding, whining, or sticking in gear is trouble.
6) Automatic Transmission:
a) Smooth rapid shifting? b) No noise, hesitation, or slipping should be present c) Transmission should not shift back and forth until needed
a) Noise or thumps? b) External leakage?
8) Driveshaft, U-Joints:
a) Vibration and noise can mean driveshaft problems b) Clicking at low speed means worn U-Joints
a) If truck bounces at low speeds has weak shock absorbers. b) Clunks mean worn bushings or ball joints
a) Wet tires and drive short distance.  2 sets of treads is normal, 4 means frame is bent by collision damage b) Also check by having someone follow to see if car appear to travel in straight line or crooked.