For many small business owners, buying a reliable used vehicle to use in their business makes more sense than buying a new one. By doing so, a business owner can save thousands of dollars on a vehicle's purchase price. That money can be used in other areas of the business that will generate profits. However, a used vehicle that constantly breaks down may interrupt service to customers. And depending on the nature of your business, a shabby looking vehicle that runs could still leave an unfavorable impression with your clients.
If you are thinking about purchasing a used vehicle, our Used Vehicle Evaluation Checklist provides a step-by-step process for discovering items that now, or will eventually, need repair. Items on the checklist include both mechanical and cosmetic items, and they vary from the very expensive repairs to the minor ones that can "nickel and dime" you. Many of the items we'll tell you to watch for — including cracks in windows, the thickness of the vehicle's tire treads, and much more — are simple enough that anyone can check for them. You can also have a vehicle that you're thinking about buying inspected by your mechanic, and ask him or her to review items on the checklist that you are less familiar with.
The file contains a two-page document formatted as a table in Microsoft Word 6.0. To use this form, you need Microsoft Word version 6.0 or above.
- Separate categories of things to check for when you are inspecting the exterior, interior, engine, and underside of a vehicle, as well as what to look and listen for when you take the vehicle for a test drive, are provided.
- Spaces are provided on the checklist where you, or your mechanic, may rate each item as satisfactory or unsatisfactory, and make comments. You will find that you can often use any unsatisfactory items to negotiate a lower price on the vehicle.
- The two-page form is thorough, yet small and simple enough to take with you to dealership lots, or to investigate advertisements in the newspaper.
- Take your checklist and the vehicle to a mechanic whom you trust so that he or she will be reminded of what to check on the vehicle; remember that even small repairs that a mechanic might overlook will still cost you money.
- Use the checklist as a planning tool to budget for repairs on vehicles that you currently own.