Donate |

Picking up the car

Some tips before you drive off the lot

Last updated: February 2014

Give the vehicle a thorough inspection before you drive it off the dealer's lot. Any problems should be addressed right away.

Don't consider the car-buying process over until you've checked out the vehicle and are satisfied with its condition. Take your time and go over it thoroughly, both inside and out. If you find any problems, they should be fixed before you take delivery or, if they're minor enough for you to wait, set a firm date for the dealership to fix them.

Here are some tips:

1. Inspect the vehicle in bright daylight. It's easier to miss small defects at night.

2. Be sure the vehicle has all the options and accessories that you ordered and that they work.

3. Inspect the exterior for scratches, dents, mismatched body panels, or paint defects. Metal particles, for instance, can be embedded in the paint during shipping.

4. Inspect the interior for loose or misfitting trim and stains or other defects in the upholstery, carpeting, or headliner.

5. The odometer should show very low mileage, the result of a few test drives.

6. Have the salesperson show you how to work all controls and the location of common maintenance items (such as the engine-oil dipstick, oil-filler hole, brake-fluid reservoir, etc.).

If you notice anything unusual, insist on a full explanation.

New Car Buying Guide

Learn more about choosing a car, what to do at the dealership, pricing, trading in your car, financing, closing the deal and more in our new car buying guide.




   

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters!
Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Latest From Consumer Reports

LAPTOP REVIEWS
5 budget-friendy laptops for college students These models provide great features at an affordable price.
LUGGAGE BUYING GUIDE
Safe travels: 4 common hotel scams to avoid Learn how how to dodge being conned when you're on vacation.
WASHING MACHINE REVIEWS
Washer and dryer features you'll want and some to skipVideo The latest machines are loaded with loads of conveniences.
DIGITAL CAMERA REVIEWS
6 kick-butt point-and-shoots that are worth the price If you care about image quality, consider these noteworthy models.
SPORTS CAR REVIEWS
Fast, ferocious M3 and M4 wow on street and track These classy, high-performance BMWs can run with purebred sports cars.
SMART PHONE REVIEWS
First look: Fire Phone puts Amazon in your pocketVideo App choices are limited to Amazon Appstore, which lacks Google offerings.

Connect

and safety with
subscribers and fans

Follow us on:

Cars

Cars New Car Price Report
Find out what the dealers don't want you to know! Get dealer pricing information on a new car with the New Car Price Report.

Order Your Report

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more