Dan Cummins Auto Group

Used Car Checklist

Couple sitting at sales desk at dealership

Buying a used vehicle for your Paris or Lexington commute is a great way to save money. But there are a lot of factors at play in this process. Dan Cummins Auto Group makes sure to provide upfront information and advice on our used vehicle inventory. We cover what to look for when buying a used car below!

Buying a Used Car Checklist: Initial Assessment 

To know what to look for when buying a used car, there’s plenty of work to do before you step into the vehicle. Here are the things you should consider before you make decisions: 

  • Choosing a Vehicle: What make and model do you want? Do you want an SUV, a crossover, or a sedan? Research the different types of cars available to you in Louisville and you’ll have an easier time making a decision.
  • Finding the Right Price: Research the Kelly Blue Book value of your chosen vehicle and compare what price it’s going for at various dealerships or private sellers. 
  • Reliability: Reliability is a key factor for many on their used car checklist. Look up the J.D. Power rankings on your make.
  • Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles: One way to take some of the stress out of used car shopping (but still getting that cheaper price tag) is to check out Certified Pre-Owned vehicles. These have undergone a multi-point inspection by the manufacturers, so you can trust that it has been checked out by experts.
  • Auto History Report: Looking up the history of the vehicle you want to buy is a great way to see what kind of repairs it has needed and what parts have been replaced.
  • Pre-Approved Financing: To get a sense of your payment plan, you can apply for financing online.

Buying a Used Car Checklist: Inspecting the Car

Now that you’ve made some initial decisions about your vehicle of choice in Cincinnati, you’re ready to check out some cars! It is best to inspect the exterior, interior, and drivetrain for yourself. Tools that come in handy include a notebook, paper towels, a flashlight, a cable to test audio, and a small magnet. Here’s what to look for when buying a used car: 


  • Body: Check for paint job quality, check that body panel colors matches, look for scratches and dents, check the magnet adheres to all steel body panels, look for cracks on the windshield.
  • Doors and Windows: Check that the doors and fenders are properly aligned and that the trunk and hood are properly aligned. Make sure all the doors and the trunk open and close properly. 
  • Lights: Test hazard lights, directional signals, headlights, high beams. 
  • Locks: Test locks and power locks (if applicable) on all doors and the trunk. 
  • Tires: Make sure the tires come from a reputable brand and they are all the same brand, free of any cuts (soapy water, applied to the tire, will bubble up over any cracks). Make sure there’s an inflatable spare tire, alongside a jack and lug wrench. 


  • Seats: Make sure the upholstery is free of cracks, adjust properly, and have functional seatbelts. 
  • Climate: Check A/C, heater, fans, and windshield wipers. 
  • Dashboard: Make sure the gauges work and confirm there are no dashboard warning lights.
  • Car Alarm: Confirm the alarm works by using the key fob and trying to access the vehicle when it’s locked.
  • Infotainment system: Test the touchscreen, stereo, and other connectivity features.


  • Oil: Check for fluid or oil leaks. Also make sure that the oil filler neck isn’t coated in black tar and the oil stick doesn’t have dark, black oil.
  • Engine: battery should be free of corrosion, exhaust pipe emission should be clear.
  • Transmission: Transmission fluid should be clear and the gears should shift smoothly. 

Buying a Used Car Checklist: What to Look for in A Test Drive

Now for the ever-important test drive! It’s important to pay attention as you’re taking your vehicle on the road for the first time. Here’s what to check for: 

  • Noises like screeching, rattling, or knocking 
  • Gear shifts are smooth and don’t trigger noises or bumps 
  • Steering is responsive on boththe left and right sides 
  • Brakes work smoothly and don’t causes weird movements or noises 

Find a Used Car with Dan Cummins Auto Group! 

At Dan Cummins Auto Group, we’re dedicated to providing Paris drivers with the resources they need to get a quality used car – and save money in the process. For example, check out our list of used vehicles under 10k! Contact us today with any questions!


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