What things should I check before I drive out a new car? Even though is covered by warranty, there may be some defects that will be hard to prove that hasn't been made by me.

Looking for scratches on body seems to be very obvious but what else should I look for?

  • Most car dealers aren't out to get you...
    – cory
    Dec 27 '16 at 16:07
  • @cory Great language joke. I wasn't sure what word use for finalizng buying
    – teodozjan
    Dec 27 '16 at 16:10
  • I don't know about Poland, but here in the States there is what's called an "adjustment period" which usually lasts for 12 months. If you find something which is not quite right to you, you take it back to the dealership and state your issue. The manufacturer pays for the "adjustment" at no cost to you or the dealership. The adjustments can be paint chips/scratches you didn't notice when you drove it off the lot or something even as mundane as the exhaust pipes being not quite right (I sold a 2000 Pontiac Formula Firebird where the buyer got the exhaust tip adjusted ... it happens). Dec 27 '16 at 16:32
  • Poland is not buyers heaven. Since you buy something you cannot give it back (seller may allow but I wouldn't expect it from car dealer) and if it is faulty seller decides whther whants to repair or give money back so it is better to find any faults before leaving dealer.
    – teodozjan
    Dec 27 '16 at 16:57

The Automobile Association in the UK has some excellent guidance, including:

Test Drive

  • Do all warning lights operate normally? Lights will generally come on to test and then go out – unless there's a fault.
  • Are the brakes effective or does it take a long time or a lot of effort to stop?
  • Is braking even or does the car pull to one side?
  • Any unusual noises when you brake?
  • Is the handbrake effective?
  • Any steering vibration or pull to one side?
  • If ABS is fitted, does the warning light go out after the engine is started?


  • Any abnormal noises when the engine is started from cold?
  • Does the oil warning light go out as soon as the engine starts?
  • Any signs of excessive visible exhaust emissions?
  • Does the clutch operate normally? A noise when you press the pedal or a high biting point could mean that repairs will be required soon.
  • Is the catalytic converter in good condition? Look for a recent emissions test, either alone or as part of an MOT. This will confirm that emissions are within the stringent limits applied to modern cars.
  • Is there sludge on the underside of the oil filler cap? This could indicate poor servicing or predominantly short journey use.
  • Is the oil level right? Too low shows neglect; too high could be a clue that the engine is using oil but it could just have been over filled in error.
  • Has the cam belt been replaced according to the service schedule?
  • You should read the entire page, though, as there is a lot of associated information there. Admittedly, some is UK specific, but check it out.
    – Rory Alsop
    Dec 27 '16 at 17:36
  • Thanks. I would add checking lighter socket, heating, ac (if equipped),. Cam belt and emission is more for used cars.
    – teodozjan
    Dec 29 '16 at 21:33

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