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26 Items to Include on Your Multi-Point Inspection Checklist

If you’ve been running an independent auto shop for a while, you probably pride yourself on offering comprehensive solutions to any problem your customers may have. But sometimes, the issues with a client’s vehicle go beyond what they actually know — and more than a simple tune-up would be able to fix.

Because of that, it’s crucial that you provide complete inspections for every customer. That may sound like a great deal of extra work, but it doesn’t have to be—not when you use a well-thought-out inspection checklist, at least. 

Keep reading for more info on the importance of using a multi-point inspection checklist and an overview of the items your checklist should include.

Why Use a Checklist?

In many cases (perhaps most cases), the people bringing their vehicles into your shop will only have one or two issues they’d like you to resolve. 

Sometimes, they really are only dealing with these problems. But that’s not always true — in some situations, your customers’ vehicles may have developed issues they don’t yet know about.

By following a multi-point inspection checklist, you can:

Ensure You Don’t Miss Any Steps

Focusing on multi-point inspections is a fantastic way to keep your customers happy while creating new sources of income for your shop. 

But there’s a catch: when offering this service, ensure your multi-point inspection checklist includes all the points relevant to your clients’ needs. A good checklist can practically eliminate your risk of missing crucial steps in the inspection process.

Boost ROI

It practically goes without saying — the more money your shop can bring in, the better. With that in mind, there’s no way you’d willingly pass up a chance to increase your revenue while doing right by your customers. Inspection checklists are all about helping you find extra maintenance items. Fixing these problems will naturally make your existing repair jobs more lucrative.

Deliver Extra Peace of Mind

Everyone wants to know that their auto shop of choice is looking out for their well-being, and thorough inspection checklists don’t just support your bottom line. They also give your customers the assurance that comes with knowing their mechanics have fixed all the issues they could find.

The Checklist

At this point, you’re well aware of the crucial role multi-point inspection checklists play in independent auto shops like yours. That means you’re prepared to take the next step: putting together a checklist of your own. 

Be sure to include the following items on your shop’s inspection checklist:

Safety Systems

  1. Horn. Few auto components are easier to test than the humble horn. Just give it a honk to make sure it’s working correctly.
  2. Seatbelts. Even if your customers make a point of wearing seatbelts while driving, it won’t matter if their belts aren’t up to snuff.
  3. Air bags. These components are critical to check since airbags have been hit by recent recalls. Use a vehicle code scanner to ensure your customers’ airbags don’t need to be replaced.
  4. Brakes. It’s no exaggeration to say brakes are one of the most essential safety features in any vehicle. They’re also highly prone to wear, making brake pads, brake shoes, and all the other system components a crucial part of any multi-point vehicle inspection.

Under the Hood

  1. Motor oil. Engines must be well-lubricated to work correctly, and motor oil is responsible for that task. Check that your clients’ oil levels are sufficient and that their oil isn’t dirty.
  2. Other fluids. Along with motor oil, it’s wise to check on fluids like coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and washer fluid. Top off or replace these fluids according to the manufacturer’s maintenance guide.
  3. Air filter. This filter protects the engine from debris, but it can get dirty or clogged eventually. If that’s the case, it needs to be replaced ASAP.
  4. Belts and hoses. As part of any in-depth inspection, check a vehicle’s rubber belts and rubber or metal hoses for signs of cracking or leakage.
  5. Battery. Without functioning batteries, drivers simply can’t start their cars. Run a battery voltage test to get a sense of the overall condition of a vehicle’s battery.


  1. Engine performance. No vehicle component is more important than the engine. During every inspection your shop provides, use a code scanner to check for engine error codes and make adjustments as needed.
  2. Steering rack. A worn steering rack or gearbox can make the wheel difficult to turn, which affects the driver’s ability to control their vehicle.
  3. Transmission and clutch. While the exact services that transmissions need vary between manual and automatic systems, the point remains that these components require attention.
  4. Differential/transfer case. The differential, located on a vehicle’s axle, divides power from the transmission between a car’s drive wheels. In 4WD and AWD cars, it’s accompanied by a component called a “transfer case.” As part of your inspections, you should inspect both of these components for fluid leaks.
  5. Driveshaft/CV joints/U-joints. These components are all responsible for connecting the transmission to the differential, and they all need to be regularly checked for wear and tear.
  6. Fuel and brake lines. Be sure to inspect these lines for signs of damage, leaks, and — in climates where snow and road salt are common factors — rust.
  7. Exhaust. If you notice a noisy muffler on a client’s vehicle, don’t ignore it. That’s a dead giveaway that their exhaust system needs attention.

Interior and Exterior

  1. Body condition. Are there any dents, scratches, or chips in the car’s body or paint? Noting pre-existing dents and scratches is especially crucial so you can ensure your shop isn’t blamed for the damage.
  2. Lights. Turn signals, headlights, and tail lights all rely on lightbulbs to operate correctly — and these bulbs need to be replaced when they’re no longer bright enough.
  3. A/C systems. When a vehicle’s A/C system can’t blow cold air any longer, it’s time for a repair.
  4. Cabin air filter. The cabin air filter works just like an engine air filter, but it protects your vents from debris instead of the engine. And just like the engine air filter, this filter needs to be replaced periodically.
  5. Windshield wipers. While your clients can likely replace wiper blades on their own, you shouldn’t ignore cracked or broken wipers if you happen to notice them on a vehicle.
  6. Floor mats. Believe it or not, poorly-installed floor mats have caused some severe accidents in the past. With that in mind, checking these mats is more important than you might think.


  1. Alignment. Does your shop have a computerized alignment machine? If so, you might as well put it to good use by testing the suspension on each customer’s vehicle.
  2. Tires. When a client’s tires are over- or underinflated, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take steps to fix this.
  3. Shocks, struts, and springs. Since these components are essential to a properly-functioning suspension, you should test them for signs of wear, like cracks and leaks.
  4. Ball joints and bushings. Like other suspension components, these can wear out over time — and should receive proper attention when that happens.

Never Miss Another Inspection Item

When your shop puts these 26 inspection items into action, you’ll be capable of providing the most thorough service in the area. That said, the way your mechanics complete their checklists matters, too. Paper checklists require techs to juggle pens and papers, are prone to human error, and might require manual re-entry into the computer, costing them valuable time in the shop.

Instead of relying on failable manual checklists, consider giving AutoVitals a try! AutoVitals’ Digital Vehicle Inspection software will guide your techs through the action items they need to check on each vehicle. On top of that, you’ll be able to let customers know about issues with their cars and get their permission for extra repairs via text. If you’d like to add AutoVitals software to your shop’s workflow, set up a demo today. 

Download a Printable PDF of the Multi-Point Inspection Checklist


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