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Certified Pre-Owned Checklist

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  March 16, 2020

Certified pre-owned cars are pre-owned vehicles that have gone through testing to earn a certification from the manufacturer or other certifying authority. When buying pre-owned vehicles, many consumers look for certified pre-owned cars because it’s better than taking a stab in the dark at other pre-owned lots.

Unfortunately, a certified pre-owned vehicle isn’t a quality guarantee.

Therefore, anyone in the market for a pre-owned vehicle should adhere to the following checklist.

Engine Issues

The engine is the most crucial thing to check in a pre-owned, which means thoroughness is a must.

Engine issues to look for include:

  • Leaks: Look for signs of oil spills under the vehicle and other dried liquids around the engine itself.
  • Blown head gasket: Check the oil cap from the top of the engine for white or light brown sludge with a thick consistency. If found, you are probably dealing with a blown head gasket.
  • Exhaust smoke: If the car is on for a few minutes and visible smoke is coming from the tailpipe, it could be a sign of engine issues.


Always take a used car for a drive as it lets you get a feel for the inner workings of the vehicle, including the gearbox. When a car shifts gears, you want smooth and quiet transitions; if the changes are clunky or loud, it may be the sign of bad gears.

Some cars run fine at lower gears, but start to show issues at higher speeds. Therefore, make sure to drive the vehicle over sixty miles an hour to ensure that it gets into the highest gear. This guarantees you hit every potential gear change, thoroughly checking the vehicle’s capabilities.

Tire & Bodywork Checks

Some potential owners don’t care about small dents or scratches, but others will fix them if they are noticeable. If you are one of the fixers, visually inspecting all four tires and the bodywork of the vehicle can help you determine if the car is right for you.

What Happens if It’s a Lemon?

If your new pre-owned car ends up being a lemon, you can rely on California’s lemon law to seek compensation as long as there is an active warranty on the vehicle. However, not every manufacturer is going to give you a fair shake; that’s where we come in.

Norman Taylor & Associates is here to help car owners get the compensation they deserve for their lemons. If you believe you have a vehicle that qualifies as a lemon, we’d love to talk to you about your case!

Dealing with a lemon? Make lemonade with Norman Taylor & Associates! Call (818) 244-3905 now for a free consultation for your case.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.


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