7 Key Tips for Conducting a Used Car Inspection

Buying a used car tips | Lonsdale Auto Works

Buying a used vehicle comes with several advantages, not the least of which is saving money. But used vehicles aren’t a silver bullet for your wallet — and if you don’t check for problems before purchase, you could be leaving yourself vulnerable to expensive repairs. 

If you want a car without unwanted – and possibly pricey – surprises, it is best to perform an extensive inspection both inside and outside the vehicle.

Let’s take a look at seven key areas you need to check in a used car inspection.

Inspecting A Used Car: 7 Tips For Your Used Car Check

What are the most important areas to check on a used car? And how do you know if you need a helping hand?

Below are seven places to evaluate during a used car check up.

1. Engine

The engine is essentially the beating heart of your vehicle, so it’s important to ensure it’s running as expected. Modern engines are sophisticated, some of which contain hundreds of parts — and hundreds of opportunities for something to go wrong.

2. Cooling System

Your vehicle’s engine produces considerable heat, and the cooling system ensures this heat is safely controlled. If the cooling system fails, however, your engine can overheat. Worse, it could cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars to repair.

3. Electrical System

Modern vehicles have increasingly sophisticated electrical systems. Unfortunately, this means electrical problems can cause increasingly extensive damage to your vehicle. Electrical gremlins can also be difficult to isolate and repair, leading to considerable expense on your part.

4. Suspension

Your vehicle’s suspension can smooth your ride by cushioning the cabin from uneven or rough surfaces. Suspensions take a beating — literally — which means suspension components can eventually wear out or get damaged. If you don’t feel comfortable evaluating a car’s suspension, you can request a used car inspection from Lonsdale Auto Works.

5. Brakes

Brakes are wear parts, meaning they wear down over time and eventually need replacing. If the used car you’re looking at needs new brakes, keep in mind replacements can get expensive fast. 

6. Tires

Tires are the most replaced wear part on vehicles. 

Although tread depth is one way to assess how much life remains in a tire, there are other considerations to note. For example, tires may wear unevenly, leading to a shortened lifecycle. They may also suffer damage from potholes and curbs, leading to the tire failing unexpectedly.

7. Exterior And Interior

A careful inspection of the outside of a vehicle can reveal many things about its history. This includes inspecting the headlights and brake lights, checking panel alignment, and looking for rust, scratches, and dents. 

You also need to inspect the inside of your vehicle, since it’s probably where you expect to spend the most amount of time. While interior inspections may not seem as important as other areas of the vehicle, make no mistake: careful interior inspections are a critical aspect of buying a used vehicle. Keep an eye out for broken gauges or poorly functioning AC or heat, which could dramatically impact the vehicle’s drivability and your comfort as well.

Schedule A Used Car Inspection With Lonsdale Auto Works

Knowing what to look for when buying a used car requires you to understand many different vehicle systems. This can be daunting while in the vehicle buying process, which is already stressful enough on its own. 

You don’t want to put your hard-earned money into a vehicle that may eventually turn into a money pit. Thankfully, you can turn to the team at Lonsdale Auto Works to perform a used car inspection on your behalf.

Lonsdale Auto Works has decades of experience inspecting used vehicles and running diagnostics. We want to ensure your selection is everything you want it to be, and shows no damages you’re not equipped to handle. 

We can perform a skilled, multipoint inspection so you can make an informed decision before signing any paperwork. All you have to do is give us a call at (507) 744-3304 to get started.

Rather drop by our office instead? Visit our auto shop at 616 Industrial Drive SE, Lonsdale MN, 55046.

KC Eyton


KC Eyton is our Light Duty Auto Technician where she serves in support for our other technicians and provides inspection, maintence and tire services and assists the front counter. KC has been with us since 2021.

Being an automotive technician at LAW has allowed me to learn & do what I’m passionate about. I enjoy the fast-paced environment filled with challenges & feeling a sense of accomplishment when I’ve used my knowledge & experience to solve an issue. I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful people who care about my personal well-being & professional growth. I love how my boss Scott constantly believes in me. He pushes me to take on projects that I think are way beyond my abilities. I am so grateful for the mentorship & support. This truly creates a family environment where everyone is there for each other. I love my job!

Chris Waskosky


Chris Waskosky is a Master Auto Technician and has an extensive background in vehicle diagnostics, powertrain management systems and electronics. Chris joined our team in 2011. Chris has a lifetime of mechanical experience from vintage steam engines, to carburetors, to the latest in high-tech modern automobile systems.

Along with having a fun work environment, I enjoy a variety of jobs I can do. One vehicle may be an oil change, but the next vehicle may be using a lab scope to find a communication problem between computers. Every day brings new vehicles and new challenges.

Denise Davis

Service Manager

Service Manger, Denise Davis joined our team in 2018. Her experience in customer service, retail sales as well as store & employee management is extensive.

Denise has a great ability to transform the complexity of modern automobiles into easy to understand explanations that help bring comfort & confidence to our clients. Whether dealing with a simple oil change or a complete engine replacement, she will take the time to explain the issues in a manner that is understandable and she provides our clients with the information required to help them make an informed decision about their vehicle repairs. She is always willing to help with whatever questions & concerns you may have.

Scott Palava


Lonsdale Auto Works was founded in 2005 by owner, Scott Pelava.

As an ASE-Certified Master Auto Technician, Advanced Engine Performance Specialist, Undercar Specialist, and Service Consultant, he saw the need for a more modern auto service center in the fast growing community of Lonsdale. A strong background in domestic and import vehicles helped formed the vision of what Lonsdale Auto Works is today.

Starting with one apprentice, he built a reputation for quality service and fair pricing. As the need arose, additional technicians joined his team to keep up with our customers’ need for fast, quality service.

Scott is also very active in the community. He is currently in his fourth term as a Lonsdale City Council Member. He has held numerous leadership positions with the local Boy Scout Troop and at the District and Council levels. He is the Past President of the Chamber of Commerce and a past member of the Lonsdale Lions Club.

Scott has been recognized multiple times for his contributions to the auto repair industry. In 2017 he founded ASOG (Auto Shop Owners Group) in an effort to provide support to other repair shop owners. The organization has grown to the largest in the world. As a result, Scott was named in the Top 100 People in World the Automotive & Transportation as well as listed in the Marquis Who’s Who of Business in America.