There’s a lot of pressure involved in filling out a vehicle condition report. While it’s important to be extremely thorough and detailed, some issues can still slip through the cracks.
Prevent these cracks from deepening by learning about the different components involved in filling out a vehicle condition report.
What Is a Vehicle Condition Report?
Before you fill out a vehicle condition report, you need to know what it is and why you’re filling it out. Many falsely assume that a vehicle condition report is a useless piece of paper and a waste of their time.
However, a vehicle condition report is a comprehensive inspection of the vehicle that’s used in a variety of different scenarios. For instance, a vehicle condition report is often involved in the buying and selling of a vehicle through a car dealership.
It is also used to note the condition of a vehicle before and after service. Finally, it is often used in the rental car industry to document the condition of the vehicle before and after renting.
What Does a Vehicle Condition Report Cover?
A vehicle condition report includes a complete and thorough inspection of the vehicle before it is bought, sold, rented, or serviced. But what does such a report actually entail?
Here are some of the different components that you should see within a vehicle condition report:
A vehicle condition report often begins with a description of the vehicle. This is either broad or detailed depending on what it’s being used for.
However, it’s always better to be as detailed as possible when dealing with a vehicle condition report — so make sure to look over the vehicle carefully before completing this portion of the report.
Added features and extras
A vehicle condition report includes information about any added features and extras that aren’t standard-issue.
This is a great way for dealers to show off what makes the vehicle special and why someone should buy it over other vehicles from competing dealerships.
A vehicle condition report includes information about missing parts to the vehicle.
Even if the missing parts do not affect the drivability of the vehicle, they still need to be included in this section.
A vehicle condition report includes a summary of any damage to the vehicle. It is especially important to be detailed in this section of the report.
Furthermore, this section should go beyond obvious visual body damage to include information about any known mechanical damage as well.
A vehicle condition report includes information about the vehicle’s tires. Generally speaking, information regarding the age, condition, and tread of the tires should be included in this section.
Images and video
Finally, a complete and thorough vehicle condition report includes images and video of the vehicle in question.
Take close-up images of any damage, missing parts, or special features. Then, take a short video that includes the entire inside and outside of the vehicle.
How Does a Car Condition Report Benefit a Dealership?
Clearly, a car condition report benefits the buyer in that they know what to expect when purchasing a vehicle. However, a car condition report also benefits the dealership.
- A car condition report can help a dealership build confidence and trust with buyers. This is especially true when buyers make purchasing decisions solely based on information found online. When a dealership includes detailed information about the condition of the vehicle in question, customers tend to trust that it’s accurate.
- A car condition report helps a dealership attract more non-local buyers. If buyers feel that they can get all the information they need about a vehicle online based on its condition report, they are likely to feel comfortable buying it sight unseen. This is an increasingly common occurrence within the automobile industry and dealers should definitely take advantage of it.
- A car condition report helps dealerships establish a good reputation. When a buyer feels uninformed about the condition of a vehicle before buying it, they will likely leave a negative review that hurts the dealership’s reputation. However, when you show buyers exactly what they’re getting through a vehicle condition report, there’s no room for surprises or complaints.
What To Add to Your Report
Many people often assume that they need to conduct a 150-point inspection in order to obtain a comprehensive description of the vehicle. While this number may seem intimidating, it’s easier than it looks. In fact, most of the items have already been covered above. However, there are some components that tend to be overlooked.
Specifically, things like exterior damage, interior damage, roof and windows, undercarriage, tires, and mechanical concerns often get left off of the vehicle condition report. Unintentional or not, all of you should still include all of these items for a complete and thorough vehicle condition report that buyers use to make a purchasing decision.
1. Exterior Damage
The first thing you need to look for when inspecting a vehicle is any exterior damage. Exterior damage is often quite noticeable — but not always.
For instance, there could be small dents, minor paint chips, or tiny scratches on the paint. Also, make sure to include information regarding the color of the vehicle in the exterior section.
2. Interior Damage
From there, you should then look for any damage in the interior of the vehicle. Again, interior issues may not be noticeable and there are many ways to hide these issues inside the vehicle.
Specifically, you can look for things like tears in the upholstery, noticeable offensive odor, cracks in the dashboard, stains in the floorboards, etc.
3. Roof And Windows
Going back to the exterior, you need to check the roof and the windows. The roof often hides signs of damage that are inaccessible to the naked eye. However, you need to check for dents and scratches in this area.
When it comes to the windows, you need to look for visible glass damage — even if it’s just hairline scratches — it needs to go in the report.
Look underneath the vehicle to inspect the undercarriage. Again, this is a great place for issues to hide.
While underneath the vehicle, be on the lookout for signs of excessive wear or signs of previous unreported damage. Make sure that there aren’t any broken parts and there are no signs of fluid leaks anywhere underneath.
The last thing you need to check out on the exterior is the tire condition.
You should inspect the tires for any signs of punctures or holes. You should also try to include the age of the tires if possible along with a general description of the tread.
While you’re at it, you can note the placement of a spare tire.
6. Mechanical Concerns
Include any known mechanical concerns on the vehicle condition report. This area is tricky since you generally can’t “see” mechanical issues but they are important to investigate nonetheless.
Some dealerships like to utilize vehicle condition reports as an advertisement for their business. However, just make sure that you’re also including relevant information about the vehicle alongside any marketing material.
8. Security Deposit
Some vehicles require a security deposit before purchase. For clarity and simplicity, some dealerships include this information within the vehicle condition report. That way, potential buyers have all the information they need to make a purchasing decision without having to reach out to the dealership.
9. Reporting the Damage
If any damage is found on the vehicle, you should thoroughly detail and document it with photographs and video. Attach these photos or videos to the final report for buyer consideration when looking at the vehicle.
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