Tips for Taking a Magnifying Glass Look at Your New Car

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When you visit an auto dealership to pick up your new car, you can hardly wait to drive it off the lot. However, once you do so, you not only face depreciation but more importantly you lose leverage against the dealer for any blemishes on or inside the car. For that reason, you need to take a deep breath and calmly inspect your shiny new toy before signing the contract and making your first drive. With a clipboard in hand and a partner at your side, you can follow this inspection trail around your new purchase.

Exterior Surfaces

Circle the car slowly, taking in the front, back, sides and roof. Then look more closely from angles where the light reflects off the paint. While a reliable auto shipping nationwide transportation service will have protected the car in transit, it can become scratched and dented while it sits at the dealership. If it is night, shine a strong flashlight over the surface or ask to have the car pulled into the service garage for your inspection. Don’t overlook the wheels during this inspection.


After your visual inspection, test the integrity of the doors, hood and rear hatch or trunk. Open and close them to ensure they shut securely. At the same time, while each is opened scan for chipped paint where each meets the body.


Next, carefully crawl around the interior wearing clean clothes. You do not want to stain or damage the seats or other surfaces. A flashlight is a must for this leg of the inspection. You should look for tears in the seat or headliner fabrics, scratches on metal, wood and plastic surfaces, and missing knobs or buttons. You have to decide at this point what blemishes you find unacceptable, though you need to mark down even the smallest irregularities for further discussion.

Working Systems

Electrical and electronics-related car functions can be unreliable. You do not want to discover an accessory does not work miles down the road. Have your partner stand outside the car while you work the lights and step on the brakes to make certain the bulbs light. Raise and lower the electric windows to determine not only that they work, but also that they slide up and down without catching. Finally, work through the infotainment system to look for any glitches.

Most cars built today can be driven 100,000 miles or more. Given the long relationship you will share with your vehicle, you should start by giving it a careful once over before you travel the first 100 feet of your journey together.