37+ Sample Vehicle Inspection Checklist Templates

What Is a Vehicle Inspection Checklist?

Every car owner must be familiar with a vehicle inspection checklist. This list is a type of vehicle document that focuses primarily on automotive quality control and mechanical inspection. Expect the checklist to contain a step-by-step guide on how to examine your car’s bumpers, brakes, interior, tires, lights, and other auto parts. Aside from inspections, the document may include tips on how to repair and maintain as well. So, how does a checklist work? Just follow the steps provided on the list, and put checkmarks to every finished task. Once all steps are checked, you’re done.

There were approximately 3.8 million people in the US who sought unemployment benefits at the end of April 2020.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay of an auto service mechanic or technician is around $20.24 an hour and $42,090 a year.

Also, Statista confirmed that about 273.6 million motor vehicles in the US were registered in 2018.

Vehicle Inspection Checklists: Why Are They Important?

A weekly vehicle inspection checklist for cars is essential, and that is just what auto inspection checklists do. According to Goose Automotive, it is recommended that vehicles are inspected in every oil change. And that would take every three to six months. Without inspections, cars might encounter problems. Don’t wait for issues to happen in automobiles since it can get costly, especially for the most severe effects.

Furthermore, a vehicle inspection checklist is helpful in terms of guidance. Maybe you already know how vehicle maintenance plans work. However, a lot of tasks are at hand in a full vehicle audit. So, there could be instances that you forget some steps. To prevent forgetting steps and erring, use the list. In short, consider the checklist as your official vehicle health check sheet.

Who Creates Vehicle Inspection Checklists?

There are two groups of people expected to make the vehicle inspection checklist. The first set refers to employees working in the automobile industry, most notably, the auto mechanics and technicians. In fact, auto services are quite popular, and the median pay of an average vehicle mechanic is about $20.24 per hour and $42,090 yearly. So once these technicians have a standard inspection or maintenance checklist, it will be easy to operate their services.

The second group expected to craft these checklists are the car owners in general. Drivers have a responsibility in examining and evaluating their car’s condition too. And with the pandemic going on, a lot of mechanic shop inspection services might be closed. So what if you must get out of your home to gather quarantine supplies and your car doesn’t work? Inspect to prevent that scenario. Drivers may create their inspection checklist or have professional mechanics provide them the list.

Buckle Up: Elements of a Vehicle Inspection Checklist

Indeed, car inspection checklists are helpful to ensure that vehicles are still in top-notch condition. So, mechanical problems and defects will be fixed in no time. You prevent operational downtime and vehicular accidents too. But what is usually mentioned inside the checklist? For starters, the vehicle inspection checklist is divided into categories. So buckle up as we will introduce to you each category, aka the elements of a vehicle inspection checklist.

Engine Oil: Since inspections must be done every time you change the oil of your car, it is expected that the engine oil should be your priority. Generally, mechanics use oil dipsticks to know the oil level. And the dipstick helps you determine if you should refill the oil. So for your assessment checklist, ensure that the engine oil stays at the appropriate level to avoid overheating and expensive repairs for damages.Tires: Don’t forget to check the tires. These tires need to be in good condition to prolong a car’s lifespan. And you have to examine more than its appearance because the air pressure is your focus. Is every tire inflated properly? And are there signs of wear or defects? You may add such questions to your checklist if you plan on making a research questionnaire type of list.Lights: Turn on the lights from the headlights, signal lights, and taillights. Do they all work properly? Change the parts that no longer turn on. Also, is every light visible enough for other drivers to see, particularly during the night? Create adjustments if necessary, because poor lighting may cause accidents as well.Windshield: Next, review your car’s windshield and wipers. Does the wiper still produce water? And is it enough water for the system to work? Scrutinize it. And don’t ignore the wiper blades. Remember that such blades may wear out after a while, especially without any maintenance. So if you notice cracked and heavily damaged blades, replace them.Horn: What about the automobile’s horn? Does it produce enough noise, or it needs a replacement already? Check it out. You have to make sure the horn works anytime because collisions might happen. Some pedestrians and drivers might not know if a car is nearby because of a defective horn. Hence, it is dangerous.License Plate: Of course, you need to confirm that your license plate is still present and visible enough. Damaged plates need to be fixed. And if the plate has low visibility, clean it. Otherwise, authorities might call your attention. Besides the license plate, you must always prepare your vehicle documents. You never know when those will be inspected. Just keep those in a safe place, like the glovebox.Leaks: Is anything leaking from your automobile? Track its location or source for awareness. Bear in mind that the source and color of the leak let you determine what the main issue of a car is. And your checklist should prepare the diagnosis. If leaks are left untreated, then serious problems might take over.Engine Noise: Next, inspect any signs of noise, particularly in the engine. How it sounds also indicates what possible issue the vehicle is experiencing. In an engine inspection, it is already dangerous when a repetitive tapping or knocking sound occurs during a cold start. Include the effective solutions for such matters into your inspection document.Brakes: A brake inspection is one of the vital elements to evaluate in your checklist. Think of your safety as a driver. When you run the car, does it still stop the way you want it to when you hit the brakes? If not, then it needs repair.Others: Don’t limit the components to inspect according to what’s listed here. There are still plenty of parts and factors to assess. Examples include the tread depth of tires, steering wheel, car interior, transmission, engine belts, hoses, battery, and so much more. And have you seen our sample checklist templates for grabs? Such templates are your perfect basis to know what else can be added to the list. And what’s even better? They are ready to download anytime.

How to Create a Vehicle Inspection Checklist

Since you already know the vehicle inspection checklist’s definition, importance, and elements, it’s time to take a drive in figuring out how to make the checklist itself. Rest assured, it is not that complicated as we give you a series of steps on how the process goes. Your only goal is to follow every step given. So without further ado, here are the steps on how to create a vehicle inspection checklist:

Step 1: Define the Checklist

Your checklist should have the “Vehicle Inspection Checklist” label. And any title with a similar meaning to it would suffice. Besides the label, you can be more specific. Start by knowing your audience analysis. For example, is the checklist for mechanics or car owners? You will adjust your content according to your audience. Next, figure out the inspection’s purpose. It can either be to inspect a car’s condition before transferring someone’s title as the owner of that vehicle or to examine as a general periodic inspection. As these details are outlined, the checklist’s introduction is clear.

Step 2: Note the Vehicle’s Details

Be sure to indicate the automobile’s essential info. What are these? Details include the car brand, model, and type. The same goes for determining if the vehicle is used or new. Why is this info necessary, you might ask? Vehicle inspections are not the same for every ride. There are steps in a car maintenance checklist that are specifically made for a particular model. And, the steps for a used car inspection may differ for new rides.

Step 3: Insert the Vehicle Inspection Elements

After you specify the car details, incorporate the elements of vehicle inspection checklists individually. Of course, each detail added should be relevant only for the specified automotive details given earlier. And be sure to categorize your list. An example is when you gather all the steps related to engine inspection in the engine category. So, there will be other groups assigned for the tires, windshield, lights, and so forth. Thus, the whole list looks well-arranged.

Step 4: Organize Your Checklist

Speaking of well-arranged, work into the organization of the entire checklist. Indeed, categories help keep the list organized. But there are still plenty of examples to incorporate. One example is to adjust the format. Do you wish to add boxes or graphic organizers to make a list easier? Or perhaps, enhance the list’s design? Do so. And don’t forget the checkboxes where the checkmarks of each finished task will be indicated. There should be a checkbox beside every job.

Step 5: Add a Comment Section

Give extra space for comments too. Blank boxes and lines already help. Why is this section necessary? Its purpose is for inspectors to write down additional details. Upon evaluation report, there might be parts that need replacements. Therefore, the inspector can write down what the new parts to buy are. And it is up to you regarding how you wish to utilize that bonus category. And once you are confident with how the list turned out, print the form.


What is a 16-point oil change inspection?

The 16-point oil change inspection is what technicians do during a car’s oil change. What makes it different from general inspections is how it includes examining the fluids of power-steering, battery, transmission, windshield, and washer. And expect a 30–45-minute oil change from the process.

What is the reason behind automotive quality control?

Automotive quality control is part of a vehicle inspection checklist. And it serves two functions: (1) It checks if the vehicle’s quality meets the product standards and requirements given by suppliers, and (2) it gives an assessment report criteria if the car meets the client’s expectations.

What are the types of inspection methods?

Generally, there are three main types of inspections. They are the pre-production, in-line, and final inspection. And each class differs in terms of what to inspect and how the process goes. Nevertheless, they all aim to serve the same purpose, which is to detect and correct any problem.

Whether you are someone who works in an automotive business or merely a car owner, always work on vehicles as if you are an excellent auto mechanic or expert. That way, you don’t just protect cars. People are protected too. Imagine driving a car with your loved ones, and the vehicle’s brakes don’t work suddenly. Tragic, isn’t it? So to prevent the worst-case scenario in using any car, treat a vehicle inspection checklist as your auto guardian angel.