Used Car Buying Checklist

Parking Lot with Used Cars

If you’re looking to buy a used car around Kansas City and Blue Springs, you’ll want to know what questions to ask, what features to check, and what points to ponder, before you sign the dotted line. So, consult our handy used car buying checklist, compiled by the used car experts at Lee's Summit Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram.

Decide On a Model

  • Are you planning on making regular trips to Kansas City for entertainment or business? A fuel-efficient hybrid might be the best choice. That way, you’ll save more at the pump.
  • Does your family life require you to ferry the kids to activities in Blue Springs or Independence? A Minivan or SUV might work out better.
  • Will the vehicle be used for towing? Do you need a big payload? You may want a used RAM or used pickup generally.
  • If you need superior handling specs, then you might want to check out vehicles with AWD or 4WD.

Once you’ve answered these questions, speak to an associate at your local dealership to determine which vehicle best fits the bill.

The Used Car Checklist

After you’ve settled on a make, model, and style of vehicle, there are several things you should check off before you take a test drive around Kansas City.


  • Obvious signs of damage such as dents, dings, and broken glass.
  • Doors and trunk close properly.
  • All exterior lights work correctly.
  • The vehicle sits level.
  • Tires are free of damage and have good tread.
  • Windshield wipers and washers work properly.


  • Dash lights work correctly, and warning lights are off.
  • Seats adjust properly.
  • Seat belts work at all positions.
  • Windows and locks work as they should.
  • All gauges work.
  • All switches and remotes work.
  • Sunroof opens and closes and is free of leaks.
  • Heater and A/C work.
  • Interior lights work.
  • Stereo and infotainment system work.


  • No obvious leaks.
  • The battery is free of corrosion.
  • Oil is clean and free of debris.
  • Engine and exhaust are free of smoke when the vehicle is started.
  • No unusual noises while vehicle running.
  • No odd smells when the vehicle is running.


  • Brakes are free of rust or obvious fluid leaks.
  • No sticking or binding when in use.
  • No grinding noise or pulsing when brakes applied.
  • The vehicle does not pull to one side or another when brakes applied.

Questions to Ask Before Buying a Used Car

Of course, if any of the functions or parts of the vehicle aren’t working on our checklist above, you should ask an associate about them. So, for example, if the brakes are making a grinding noise, you may want to ask the associate about the brakes. A few other questions to ask include:

  • Did the previous owner or owners have pets in the vehicle?
  • Did the previous owner or owners smoke?
  • Will the vehicle pass MO emissions tests and regulations?
  • Does the vehicle come with a vehicle history report?
  • For what reason is the vehicle priced at this rate?
  • Are there any fees I should know about before I begin my negotiation?

Test Drive a Used Car from Lee’s Summit Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM!

Finding the perfect used car doesn’t have to be a hassle when you rely on a dealer you trust. Explore our Certified Pre-Owned vehicles or our used vehicle specials to add a peace of mind. Then, contact us today to get started.


Posted in Buying Advice, Used