Test Drive Smarter with this Checklist

Before making the final decision to purchase a vehicle, you are going to want to test drive it to see how the car responds, and how you feel in the car, right? Use this Test Drive Checklist to make sure that everything is to your liking before finalizing the transaction.

Before You Test Drive:


  • Do they have good tread depth?
  • Are they properly inflated
  • Do they have even wear?

Under the Hood

  • Are there any signs of leaks?
  • Is the oil level good?
  • Is the transmission fluid level good?
  • Is the coolant level good?
  • Does the engine run smooth?

Under the Car

  • Are there any leaks/puddles?
  • Is the exhaust system/muffler secure?

Body of the Car

  • Are there any signs of repairs?
  • Are there any scratches, dents, rust, chips?
  • Are there any cracks or chips in the windshield?

Brakes (if you can see them through the wheel spokes)

  • Are there any signs of damage on the rotors?
  • How thick are the brake pads?


  • Do ALL doors open and close properly?
  • Is there any rust on the door edges or hinges?
  • Do the door locks work properly?


  • Do both headlights work?
  • Do all the brake lights work?
  • Do the turn signals work?


  • Does the trunk open and close properly?
  • Is the trunk sufficient in size?
  • Are the spare tire and jack present?
  • Is there any rust or rotting under the carpet?
  • Does the backseat fold down?


  • Are there any large/obvious stains?
  • Any cracks/damage on the dash, door panels, or leather seats?
  • Are there any rips in the upholstery?
  • Any offensive smells? (remove air freshener if needed)


  • Is the vehicle easy to get in and out of?
  • Can the seat be adjusted to your comfort?
  • Are the power seat buttons/adjustment levers easy to reach?
  • Does the steering wheel position suit your comfort?
  • Can the steering wheel be adjusted?
  • Are controls easily reached? (AC, heat, radio, mirrors, etc.)
  • Are the seatbelts comfortable?

Additional Requirements

  • ___________________________________________
  • ___________________________________________
  • ___________________________________________

During Your Test Drive:


  • Does the vehicle accelerate smoothly?
  • Does the transmission shift smoothly?
  • Does the vehicle have a smooth ride?
  • Does the vehicle respond well on bumpy roads?
  • Does the vehicle handle curves and turns well?
  • Does the vehicle pull to the right or the left?
  • Is the steering responsive? Does it respond properly?
  • Does the steering wheel vibrate? Is there play in the wheel?


  • Is the brake pedal firm or squishy? Do you have to push the pedal to the floor?
  • Do the brakes respond quickly?
  • Does the emergency brake engage?

Vehicle Sounds

  • Do you hear any clucks, rattles, vibrations?
  • Does the engine run smoothly and quietly?


  • Does the stereo and all its components work? (CD player, Bluetooth, etc.)
  • Does the AC work?
  • Does the heater work?
  • Do the vents open and close properly?
  • Does the cruise control work?
  • Does the 4 wheel drive engage?


  • Is the vehicle easy to park in a parking lot?
  • Is the vehicle easy to parallel park?


  • Do all the seatbelts work properly?
  • Are there any dashboard lights illuminated?
  • Are the windshield wipers in good condition and do they work properly?
  • Does the washer fluid system work?
  • Do the power mirrors work?
  • Can the mirrors be adjusted for good visibility?
  • Do you have good visibility? Are there large blind spots?


  • Is the driver’s seat comfortable?
  • Is there sufficient leg/head room?
  • Is there enough room in the back seats for any passengers who may be in the vehicle?
  • Are there armrests?

Additional Requirements

  • ___________________________________________
  • ___________________________________________
  • ___________________________________________

After Your Test Drive

  • Get the VIN or request a vehicle history report
  • Have an independent mechanic inspect the vehicle
  • Book a second test drive

Download A Printable Checklist

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