If you're about to spend money on a used car, the last thing you do before signing on the dotted line is to have an inspection done by a certified auto mechanic. The inspection can save you thousands in repairs, and can even help you negotiate the price down if a mechanical issue is detected.

Dealerships often allow mobile inspections, in which the mechanic comes to the car dealership to perform the inspection. Private sellers may be more willing to accompany the vehicle to the auto mechanic's garage. Either way, here's what an auto mechanic will look for during the inspection.


  • Cracks in the windshield that could spiderweb into something more substantial
  • Body panels colour to ensure that paint colours match
  • Seams between the doors and fenders and if they align
  • Windscreen wipers and if they are functional and don't scratch the glass
  • All four tyres are the same make and size and the tread wear


A mechanic will also inspect what's under the bonnet of your car and will look at:

  • Evidence of leaks from the oil gasket, transmission or brake system
  • Any amounts of battery corrosion and if the battery holds a charge by using a charging device to test out the battery's power
  • Oil texture to ensure it isn't thick, black and gummy, which indicates old oil that needs changing.


Some used cars have taken a lot of wear and tear, especially vans and SUVs. A mechanic will inspect the axle/suspension system by:

  • Ensuring that the vehicle doesn't tilt to one side when parked
  • Testing out the suspension strength by pushing down on the edges of the vehicle to create a bounce effect, and listening for a squeaking sound


In the test drive portion of the inspection, a mechanic will look for:

  • Grinding sounds when the brakes are applied that could indicate new pads are needed
  • Alignment issues that are recognisable if the car pulls to one side during the drive
  • Gearbox issues on a manual transmission, evidenced by difficulty in shifting gears
  • Stability of the steering wheel during turns, and any evidence of vibration or shaking when the car is driving straight

The auto mechanic will also inspect the interior to ensure that the air-conditioning blows cold, the seat belts are properly aligned, the hazard lights are operational, the headlights and brights are functioning and that all the gauges, such as petrol, oil and water are in working order. Learn more or schedule an inspection by contacting resources like AA Automech Pty Ltd.