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The Best Vehicle Inspection Checklists in the World

The Best Vehicle Inspection Checklists in the World

2 April 2018 Concept Car

If you’re looking for examples of vehicle inspection checklists, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve researched the web for the best templates around and compiled a comprehensive list of the very best. Our guide will help you find the vehicle inspection checklists that best meets your requirements.

You can scroll down a bit to go directly to the different checklists we’ve put together. If you have a little more time, however, let’s first talk a bit about why you would want to take a look at one of these lists at all.

Why perform a vehicle inspection?

First of all: Vehicle inspections for used cars are not a novelty. They’ve been around for as long as there are cars.

In fact, vehicle inspections are a routine procedure with every used car sale. And yet, things are not the way they used to be. In the past, a vehicle inspection would be carried out by the dealer. The tests performed as part of the inspection would help him/her check the status of the car and to see if it was ready for sale.

Over the years, however, customers have become both more demanding and sceptical of car dealers, who traditionally belong to the least trusted professionals.

As a result, an entire industry has mushroomed around independent vehicle inspections. Motoring organisations like the AA and the RAC are checking hundreds of vehicles each week. Their results are providing potential buyers with valuable information about the correct sales price, the need for repairs and the general safety of the car. In some cases, the findings of a vehicle inspection can be used to bring the price down by quite a bit.

It is clear, then, that vehicle inspections have a lot to offer.

Vehicle inspections obviously don’t come for free, however.

This is self-explanatory, really. Vehicle inspections require the time and expertise of an experienced mechanic. Although the market has diversified quite a bit over the past decade, with a variety of smaller service providers challenging the more established, bigger players, prices are still nothing to cough at.

The expense of a vehicle inspection can be brought down considerably by opting for a basic test rather than a comprehensive one. With the RAC, for example, a ‘comprehensive’ vehicle inspection will set you back between £189 and £239, depending on the age and value of the car and the model in question. If you would like an even thorougher check up, you can opt for the so-called ‘advanced’ vehicle inspection, which also includes, among others, a test drive performed by an expert as well as an analysis of brake fluids.

A basic check up, which still tests 218 points, only costs around £99. Although it may not be quite as informative as more expensive inspections, it can still yield useful results.

Is a vehicle inspection worth it?

Even with a basic vehicle inspection, you may still ask yourself whether the expense is justified. There are plenty of negative reports to be found on the Internet about inspectors missing glaring problems or giving a far too cautious assessment.

What’s certainly true is that a friend with expert knowledge may be a better choice than a mechanic you’ve never met before. A friend will gladly take all the time in the world to help you. They should also know about your preferences far more precisely – and, thus, what to look for. You’ll be able to ask specific questions and you may even get their judgement faster than with a ‘professional’ vehicle inspection service.

On the other hand, we don’t all have a car expert for a friend. If you’re extremely uncertain about your own expertise when it comes to cars, an independent vehicle inspection can offer you peace of mind and a second opinion.

It may not be perfect. But it’s a lot more than nothing.

So why should you take a closer look at vehicle inspection checklists?


Even if you’re anything but technically savvy and rely completely on the judgement of the mechanic, it can still pay off to first take a look at a vehicle inspection checklist.

The reason is that you should at least know what that mechanic is looking for. In some cases, it can even help you to perform the inspection yourself after all. Equipped with the right information, you should be able to arrive at far deeper conclusions than left to your own devices.

This is why we’ve put together a list of the most widely used and most comprehensive checklists from around the world. Our short commentary should help you find the one that’s right for you. And in case of doubt – you can still request a professional vehicle inspection after all.

The MOT checklist: Mere basics

Let’s start with the most basic vehicle inspection checklist imaginable: The MOT. The UK has one of the tightest regulations when it comes to car check ups in the world, requiring an inspection at least once a year.

The MOT can not replace an inspection by a company like the AA or the RAC or one of its competitors. Some of the points on this checklist are merely aimed at checking government regulations (such as registration plates), others deal with basic road safety. Since the MOT is mandatory, you can not perform it yourself. It’s not very expensive, however.

Will the MOT checklist tell you something meaningful about the vehicle at hand? Perhaps. But it’s only a beginning.

You can download the MOT vehicle inspection checklist straight from the government’s website.

The Uber vehicle inspection checklist: Even more basic

Private taxi services are one of the hottest industries around the globe. Companies like Uber have gathered investment capital beyond belief. Admittedly, their business ethics have sometimes been questionable. But it can not be argued that they have shaken up the dusty taxi industry and its vested interests.

Its main asset has been a deep commitment to quality of service and safety. This is anything but easy to achieve. With thousands of cars by ‘private entrepreneurs’ driving around all across the globe, ensuring a minimum degree of reliability has been a challenge.

This, however, is exactly what the Uber checklist has achieved. Just 19 points short, it is actually even more basic than the MOT checklist. This means that it, too, can not replace a more comprehensive vehicle inspection.

In terms of offering a first estimate of a car’s value and current state, it may be quite useful, however, as it focuses on the most essential aspects of road worthiness.

The following link takes you straight to a PDF of the Uber vehicle inspection checklist.

Ford: A level higher

As you’d expect, most car companies have developed checklists of their own. These are aimed at their dealers and mechanics. As a customer of one of their licensed garages, you can thus expect a high degree of quality when it comes to their vehicle inspections.

Most manufacturers enviously guard their checklists from sight. This is understandable on the one hand, as these documents offer valuable information. On the other hand, without a trusted mechanic using it, the information is not worth a lot by itself.

Having realised this, Ford has taken the big step and offered up its very own vehicle inspection checklist for free download. This is one of the most expansive lists on the web and roughly compares to the basic versions of the AA’s and RAC’s checklists.

The only disadvantage is that it includes a few components which are unique to Fords and will thus not be of use if you’re looking at a vehicle by a different manufacturer.

There is also a list by American car company Lincoln, which is part of the Ford group. This one is more general, slightly longer and, thus, possibly even more useful.

AA & RAC: Setting the Standard

Compared to the paltry 20-30 points of the MOT, the up to 300+ point long check lists by the AA and RAC’s feel massive. Even a basic check up includes over 200 points, all of which are investigated by a professional mechanic.

With 15 million members, the AA is the UK’s biggest motoring organisation. Its reputation is generally pretty solid and you can expect a fairly high standard with regards to it inspections. With 8 million members, the RAC is trailing behind slightly in the members department. However, it can offer the longest experience of any motoring organisation, having been founded in 1897! Regardless of which of these two organisations you chose, you can usually expect to gain useful insights.

Both the AA and the RAC have put up their checklists on their respective websites. As you can easily see, they are almost identical. This means that neither one offers a substantial advantage over the other in terms of scope. Both offer an excellent overview of all the major points that should be checked as part of an inspection.

You can find the AA’s vehicle inspection checklist here.
The RAC offer a comparison of their vehicle inspection packages at this address.

With this data at hand, you should now be able to arrive at an informed decision. And if you’re still in doubt – we’re always ready to help!

2 April 2018 Concept Car