|

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

HDTV ANTENNA REVIEWS
Will cutting the cable-TV cord really save you money? Our TV guy has run the numbers—savings aren't guaranteed.
SUV REVIEWS
2015 Ford Expedition EL vs. 2014 Chevrolet Suburban The full-sized $63,000 Ford plays David to the lush $70,000 Chevy Goliath.
KITCHEN PLANNING GUIDE
You can remodel your kitchen for as little as $5,000 You don't have to spend a ton to get some of our top-rated appliances.
CAR RECALL INFORMATION
Takata air bags: Has your car been recalled?Video More than 4.7 million vehicles from several automakers have been recalled.
PERSONAL FINANCE NEWS
Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Softcard, LoopPay reviewVideo Which one of these virtual wallets stands out from the pack?
HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS & GUIDE
Expert picks: Best holiday gift ideas for teensVideo Get a jump on holiday shopping with these presents for teens.

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