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Mechanical Issues to Check Prior to Buying the Vehicle

For used vehicles (i.e., those previously titled in either DC or another jurisdiction), the District has a safety and emissions vehicle inspection. Therefore, it is critical you purchase a vehicle which can pass the inspection. It is a good idea to take the vehicle to a reputable mechanic. If the dealer or private seller refuses to have your mechanic check out the vehicle, you should not purchase the vehicle.

  • Make sure everything on the vehicle is operational, including the windshield wipers, lights, etc.
  • Check the brakes for alignment (i.e. pull) and worn brake pads.
  • Check the tires for tread and tire size matching.
  • Check under the hood by looking for battery for leaks, dirty oil, loose hoses, etc.
  • Check for any noticeable smoking when the vehicle is idled.
  • Check the body of the vehicle to see if there are any signs the vehicle has been in an accident. Fresh paint jobs are a sign of recent body work.