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Here is a checklist that I pieced together using my own personal experience along with the help of using information from other checklists found online.  Thanks everyone for all your hard work!   I actually take this list with me to help me systematically walk through the initial inspection of the BMW 6-Series vehicle I am interested in.  It allows me to get a better assessment of the condition of the car in a matter of 15-20 minutes. 
 
Please be advised that this list represents my first inspection of the car.  There are many more checks and balances that are better handled by professionals before settling on purchase of the vehicle.

DUE DILLIGENCE:

 

PREP for Inspection-

  1. VIN Lookup prior to inspection.
  2. CarFax Lookup prior to inspection.
  3. Take a Camera
  4. Take a flashlight
  5. Take a checklist /notepad /pen

EXTERIOR WALK AROUND

 

SURFACE IMPERFECTIONS:

1)      What is the paint condition?  Is it original paint?  Check paint for uniformity and finish throughout the whole car. 

2)      Has the car been in any accidents?  Any repair/repaint work done on the car?

3)      Any unmatched painted surfaces?  Ask owner.

4)      Any scratches, dents, bumper crinkles?

5)      Any loose, cracking or missing black rubber?  Is the rubber black?

6)      Any missing or deteriorated chrome or metal trims?  Look good! 

7)      Look down the sides of the car, around the battery area, and under the rear by the muffler to see if all the metal looks straight.

8)      Car exterior mirrors not dented or mirror distorted, stained or tarnished?

9)      Bounce on all 4 corners to see if the shocks are still shocking. Look at the front and rear bumper shocks if appropriate...are they REAL close to the body-"like collapsed?

10)  Open the back trunk and check rain gutters for rust and debris.  Is the paint and the rubber in good condition? 

 

DOORS, WINDOWS & ROOF HATCH:

1)      What is the door seals condition?  Cracking?  soft/pliable or hard/brittle?

2)      What is the window rubber condition?  soft/pliable or hard/brittle?

3)       Is the glass clear?  Any visible wiper blade damage to the front windshield?

4)      Any cracked glass or cracked window rubber?

5)      What is the condition of the the sunroof seals?  Any cracks or leaks (check the headliner)

6)      Do all the doors and hatches close effortlessly?  (Without having to slam the door)

7)      Condition of the door jambs?  Chrome still silver & shiny?

 

RUST:

1)      Under the car, wheel wells, bottom of doors, top of door hinges, sun roof, any bubbles near the bottom of any body panel, rear light wells, trunk and hood channels, roof rain gutters

2)      Rust on the exhaust system/pipes

3)      Rust at the battery tray (trunk for M6)  Can you catch the date on the battery?

  

WHEELS & TIRES:

1)      Still got the TRX 14" wheels or been upgraded to 16" or more aftermarket?

2)      What is the condition of the wheels?  Any curb rash? Dents? Scratches?

3)      Do the wheels require hub-centric rings?  Spacers?

4)      If larger wheels and you can see through them?  Are there bigger rotors on the front than on the back?  Are they a staggered set-up?

5)      What type/size is the spare in the car?

6)      What type/size tires on the car?

7)      How much wear on the tires?

  

INSIDE THE CAR

 

INTERIOR CONDITION:

1)      What is the condition of the front dash, back dash and other vinyl wear? 

2)      Condition of the interior door panels and back seat panels?  Any stains or dash cracks?

3)      What is the condition of the front leather seats and rear leather seats?

4)      Are all the leather seats matching?  Leather seats match the interior leather panels?

5)      Are all the leather door panels securely in-place? (not loose from being taken off)

6)      What is the condition of the rear POD speaker covers?  Any curling and or sun damage?

7)      Any missing switches, parts or broken panels or levers?

8)      What is the condition of the interior flooring panels and covers.

9)      Is the headliners still tight?  Any stains around the sun roof hatch?

 

 

IN THE DRIVERS SEAT:

1)      Leather seats are manual or electric type?  Do all the levers and buttons work?

2)      Does the AC motor kick in when you push the AC button?

3)      Antennae go up and down smoothly when radio switched on/off?

4)      Radio/Stereo/Speakers all work?

5)      Fog lights work on low beam?

6)      Emergency lights all flash?

7)      Interior lights work?  Lights work when door opens?

8)      Push the top left button on the OBC (On Board Computer) to the right of the radio. Should tell the outside temp. Wait about 5 seconds and the time should come back onthen hit the next button down should tell you about what gas mileage its been getting lately.

9)      On the other side of the steering wheel find the check panel. Touch the very bottom button and see if all the lights light up. Any little red lights stare at you after you've started the car and tapped the brakes?

10)  All the windows and mirror buttons work and their motors whirl properly? Window glass fit tight against the rubber?

11)  How about all the seat buttons including the headrest? Seat backs go back the same distance and angle at the same time? Seats go forward and backwards very smoothly?

12)  How far up does the emergency brake handle go up...more than 8 clicks?

13)  Rear speaker covers still formed fitted or lifting at the edges?

14)  Front dash have any cracks up front?

15)  Sunroof smoothly operate in both modes.does the middle top of the SR have any scratches from a bad adjustment?

16)  All three air levers move back and forth with only a little resistance. At speed, air come in strong with the levers all the way to the right? Turn blower knob full CW, move middle lever to far left, and turn the temp knob all the way CW, heat everywhere? Turn temp knob back full CCW and hit AC button - freezing?

17)  With the windshield wipers on momentary (lowest) do the wipers move smoothly or jerk. While your hand is down at that lever - take hold of the next one down and see if the speed control lever is loose.

18)  Central locking works all around the car - including the gas door? Driver's door lock works in 2 positions CW while passenger in only one. Any tools in the tool kit in the trunk lid? Got a spare tire that matches the size of the 4 on the ground? Jack in the left side trunk pocket?

 

 

UNDER THE HOOD:

1)  Is the engine bay clean?  Hood pad intact?  Any missing covers?

2)  Are the relays metal type or been replaced with the newer plastic ones.

3)  Are all the hoses looking good - or cracked or swollen?

4)   Are the 2 sensors in the top right of the radiator white and red (stock)- or gray and white (best)?

5)   Any there any fluid leaks or oil weeping, transmission leaks?  Check the ground under the car? 

6)   Are the hood shocks still able to hold the hood upright?

7)   Check valve springs, chains and guides for rattling or looseness (Ask owner if any work done)

8)  When was the last oil change? 

9)  Power steering box leaking?  Common area to leak.

10)Check the fuse box and fuses.  All there?

 

 

ROAD TEST:

1)      Cold engine starts quickly - warms up with little hesitation, no smoke of any color out the back. Normal small shaking at idle but goes away immediately when the gas is applied with no hesitation all the way to redline.

2)      In the cockpit.  Does the temperature knob have a little resistance or does it either spin merrily or not move at all?

3)      Hit the brakes at over 30mph. Any shimmy? When you do hit the brakes. do you need to throw out an anchor to stop for the first couple seconds? (brake bomb).  Uneven rotor wear may also cause shaking at brake. 

4)      If manual, can you make spaghetti with the shifter or is it tight and crisp? Car jerk when you take off in first? - and it's not your technique!

5)      In the temp gauge, does the temp needle stay around the middle or wander over to the way far right with the car warmed up and at idle?

6)  Speedometer and Odometer working properly?

 

 

 

FOR THE MECHANIC:

1)   Any hard clicking from the rear of the cam cover? Have mechanic check for cam wear. Check front bushing wear, and O2..if O2 is good, then most likely the engine is sound IF the cam is also quiet. Have a look under the car with him/her. What's leaking/weeping? Any rust spots? What's the number on the rear diff (look for LS) and model number off the tranny? Motor and diff mounting rubber OK? See black gummy stuff in the bottom generator pivot.