Everything You Need to Know About Vehicle Condition Reports (FAQs)

In today's used-vehicle market, providing customers with accurate and detailed information is a must. Vehicle condition reports help dealerships get the most out of their used inventory by providing honest and upfront information to buyers. Whether you're looking to improve your current process or starting out, this list of questions will help you better understand the purpose, usage, and benefits of vehicle condition reporting. 

What Is a Vehicle Condition Report?

A vehicle condition report is a comprehensive summary of a vehicle that can be used by buyers, sellers, and other parties to make informed decisions about a car. It provides a detailed assessment of the current condition, including information like the vehicle's make and model, its current mileage, any visible damage or defects, and information about the vehicle's service and repair history.

What's Included in a Vehicle Condition Report?

The exact details included in a vehicle condition report may vary depending on the purpose of the report and the standards of the organization creating it. Here are some of the most common elements of a vehicle condition checklist:

  • Identification Information: The make, model, year, and VIN of the vehicle.
  • Mileage: The current mileage of the vehicle.
  • Exterior Condition: Any visible damage or defects to the vehicle's exterior, such as scratches, dents, or rust.
  • Interior Condition: Any visible damage or imperfections to the vehicle's interior, such as tears in the upholstery or stains.
  • Mechanical Condition: Any issues with the vehicle's mechanical systems, such as the engine, transmission, or brakes.
  • Electrical Systems: The condition of the vehicle's electrical systems, such as the lights, horn, and radio.
  • Tires: The condition of the tires, including the tread depth and any signs of wear or damage.
  • Additional Features: Any additional vehicle features, such as a sunroof or navigation system.

Why Are Vehicle Condition Reports Important?


Vehicle condition reports are important because they ensure transparency and fairness in automotive sales. For buyers, they provide an accurate record of a vehicle's condition that builds trust and allows them to make informed decisions. Dealers can also use them to justify pricing strategies and increase the value of a vehicle. Lastly, insurance companies can use these reports to determine a vehicle's value in case of damage and can protect against fraudulent claims.

How Does a Vehicle Condition Inspection Work?

Inspector looking at car wheel

A vehicle condition inspection, also known as a pre-purchase inspection, is typically performed by a certified mechanic or technician to evaluate a vehicle’s condition. These inspections are done before purchasing or as part of routine maintenance to ensure the vehicle is in good working order. Based on the results, the technician will provide a report detailing any issues, their severity, and recommendations for repairs and maintenance.

Why Can't I Perform My Own Vehicle Condition Inspection?

Vehicle condition inspections are a lot like home inspections. Having a vehicle condition report performed by an independent third party is generally a better option than doing it on your own because they are trained and certified in conducting inspections, which ensures the report is accurate, reliable, and unbiased. Additionally, third-party reviews often have a warranty or guarantee that provides added protection and peace of mind.

When Should I Have a Vehicle Condition Inspection Performed?

Dealerships should have a condition inspection performed on each used vehicle in their inventory as soon as possible. This allows you to identify and address any issues before selling the vehicle and maintain quality and consistency to build trust with buyers. Additionally, a condition inspection can protect you against liability issues by providing a clear record of the vehicle's condition at the time of sale.

Why Would I Want To Point Out the Negative Aspects of a Vehicle?

A vehicle condition report is a transparent and honest way to help prospects decide to buy the vehicle they are interested in. It builds trust through transparency and offers your sales team confidence when standing behind the pricing strategy, resulting in more deals being closed at or near the original asking price.

Where Can I Get Vehicle Condition Reports?

If your dealership is interested in commercial vehicle condition reports, C.A.R.Score inspections from Dealer Specialties offer the most comprehensive used-vehicle assessments on the market. Each report covers over 50 checkpoints across a vehicle's interior and exterior condition, including instrument and control panels, mirrors, upholstery, and even down to the smell of a vehicle.

Our technicians will travel to your dealership on-demand, thoroughly inspect each vehicle, and instantly provide you with a physical and digital report. Once complete, you can distribute reports across your VDPs through interactive, clickable tours that showcase key features and detailed hotspots. 

Get C.A.R.Score Reports for Your Dealership

Ready to sit back and let your vehicles sell themselves? By helping buyers feel in control, you can increase the number of sales on your lot. Gain an edge on your competition by giving curious shoppers the details they want with vehicle condition reports through C.A.R.Score.

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