Buyer Tips Used Cars

Inspection and Test Driving Used Cars Before Purchase

By Daisy Emah-Emah Posted: 08/31/2023

Purchasing a used car can be a thrilling experience, offering the chance to find a quality vehicle at a more affordable price. However, before sealing the deal on that used car you’ve got your eye on, it’s crucial to conduct thorough inspections and test driving of the used car to ensure you’re making a wise investment. 

In this guide, we’ll delve into the importance of pre-purchase inspections, provide tips on how to conduct a comprehensive test driving of used car, and help you identify common issues in used cars while offering strategies to address them.

Importance of Pre-Purchase Inspections of Used Cars

In the bustling urban environment of many cities, where traffic congestion and a wide range of weather conditions prevail, having a car that’s in top-notch condition is paramount. While some dealerships might shy away from allowing comprehensive pre-purchase inspections, this step is undeniably crucial for buyers. It’s like getting a second opinion from a professional before making a significant financial commitment.

For those who might be hesitant about arranging inspections, consider it a crucial part of the buying process. Inspections can unveil hidden issues that aren’t apparent during a regular test drive. From engine troubles to frame damage, a skilled mechanic’s assessment can save you from buying a lemon. 

Moreover, for buyers in Nigeria, we offer assistance in coordinating these inspections showcasing our commitment to customer satisfaction.

Test Driving Used Cars

A test drive is your chance to get a feel for the vehicle’s performance, handling, and overall condition. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure your test drive is comprehensive:

1. Start with a Cold Engine: 

A cold start can reveal potential starting problems or engine issues. Listen for any unusual sounds during startup.

2. Evaluate Acceleration and Braking:

Test the car’s acceleration and braking capabilities in both city and highway settings. Listen for squeaking or grinding noises during braking.

3. Check Steering and Handling: 

Pay attention to how the car handles corners, bumps, and turns. Loose steering or excessive vibrations could indicate suspension issues.

4. Assess Noise Levels: 

Drive with the windows up and down to detect any unusual noises, such as rattling or clunking, which could be signs of problems.

5. Test Various Systems: 

Experiment with the air conditioning, heating, radio, and other electrical systems to ensure they function correctly.

Identifying Common Issues and How to Address Them

During inspections and test drives, keep an eye out for these common issues and know how to address them:

– Fluid Leaks:

Check under the car for any leaks. Leaking oil, coolant, or other fluids could signal a problem that needs immediate attention.

– Unusual Smells:

Strange odors, such as burning rubber or a sweet scent, could point to engine or fluid issues.

– Uneven Tire Wear:

Uneven wear could indicate alignment problems or suspension issues. Have the alignment checked and address any necessary repairs.

– Check Engine Light: 

If the check engine light is on, there might be underlying engine or emissions issues. Have the codes read to diagnose the problem.

– Transmission Problems: 

Note any hesitation, slipping, or rough shifting during the test drive. These could indicate transmission issues.


Purchasing a used car demands a careful approach. Pre-purchase inspections are necessary, revealing hidden problems that could affect the car’s performance. For those in Nigeria, we offer assistance in coordinating physical inspections for you. Contact us to set this up for you.  

Conducting a thorough test drive and being vigilant for common issues during both the inspection and the test drive will empower you to make an informed decision. 

Remember, it’s not just about finding a car that looks good — it’s about ensuring that it performs well on the road for years to come.

Also, if you are looking to buy your next vehicle via wholesale auctions, we have representatives ready to assist with the purchase as well as shipping for international buyers and clearing for select countries. 

Click here to speak with a rep now.