Hippo 172-point pre-purchase inspection: What is it and how does it work?g

Date Posted 30th January 2021
Read Time 6 min read

Before you lease a car from us, it has to pass our in-depth pre-purchase inspection to ensure it meets our Approved Used standards.

Not content with just a handful of checks, we have a staggering 172 of them that are performed by manufacturer-trained mechanics and technicians inside our state-of-the-art prep centre. 

If a car doesn’t pass our rigorous inspection, we don’t sell it – simple. Only cars that have passed the test get Approved Used status, so any car that you see advertised you can feel confident it’s in great condition.

What is a vehicle check and why is it important?

A vehicle check is an inspection by a qualified mechanic and/or technician covering every aspect of the car to identify whether it’s fit for sale. 

It can be a 20-point inspection; where looking at the engine is a single check, or a more thorough inspection like ours, which has almost 20 checks for the engine alone.

Inspection on car

One important reason we carry out a thorough inspection of every vehicle check is safety. 

Our checks ensure that the car is safe – with an in-depth inspection of the engine, brakes, transmission and lights. 

Any abnormalities will be picked up and can either be dealt with or the car will not go on sale.

By having this check done before you purchase a car, you can lease or buy in confidence; knowing it’s been approved for sale by manufacturer-trained personnel. 

What checks are carried out on the car?

As the name suggests, there are 172 different checks carried out on our Approved Used cars before they go on sale. 

You can find a full list of the checks here: 172-Point Pre-Purchase Inspection

Here are some of the main ones:


The engine is the heart of the car and as such there are 19 different checks done on it alone. 

The mechanic will look at all the individual components, from fluids to belts, to ensure they’re all working together properly and efficiently.

Not only is the engine physically inspected, but a test drive is performed too to check any fault memories and to ensure everything is functioning as it should be.

During the test drive, the accelerator pedal operation is examined and the mechanics will start the engine from cold to check for any abnormal or engine noise.

Lady inspecting car engine

The detailed inspection also includes checking the fuel pipe hoses and tank for any leaks or damage, and to ensure their positioning is correct. 

All fluid levels in the engine are also checked and topped up if needed. As is the status of the cambelt which is replaced if needed. 

As well as this, all the fuses and pliers are checked to ensure they’re correctly fitted.

The main goal of all of these checks it to inspect all the critical components for any kind of wear and tear and ensure the vehicle is safe and efficient before you drive it away.


The comprehensive brake check includes a physical inspection as well as taking the car on the road to provide real-life tests.

All brakes, lines and hoses are checked for wear and damage, including the condition and operation of the handbrake. 

The discs are examined for wear or corrosion, inner and outer brake pads are measured and the brake fluid level checked.

Transmission and suspension

The inspection looks at the entire suspension system of the vehicle, checking the overall condition, as well as examining the shock absorbers for positioning and any leaks.

The transmission is given a thorough check, too. 

All hydraulic systems are closely examined for leaks or damaged, clutch fluid levels are checked and the full transmission operation, including all functions, is tested.


When the inspection turns to steering, the mechanic looks for any potential leaks in the box, the condition of the track rods and axle joints, as well as the general operation of the steering.

The PAS pump and hoses will also be checked for any leaks or damage.

The exterior

There are 55 checks to the exterior of the car and we won’t go through them all, but it’s safe to say that every inch of the car is covered. 

From checking the windshield for cracks to checking the doors to ensure they work properly, the entire exterior of the car is examined. 

The underside isn’t missed either, as it’s searched for any damage and corrosion.

Car inspection

Of course, two major parts of the inspection involve checking all lights on the vehicle and the tyres – to check for any cuts or damage. 

Anything that could compromise the look and function of the car is flagged and repaired to manufacturer standard. 

And if it can’t be repaired, the car isn’t put up for sale. It’s as simple as that.

The interior

Once the exterior inspection is completed, the mechanic will move onto the interior. 

The steering wheel and column are inspected to ensure everything’s as it should be. And the seatbelts are checked for damage, operation and security. 

Absolutely every function in the vehicle – from the interior light to the electric windows to the air conditioning – is checked thoroughly before it passes the inspection.

Even the boot is inspected along with the spare tyre (if applicable), tyre repair kit (if applicable), first aid kit and warning triangle. 

The inspection will also make sure that handbooks and any relevant literature is present in the vehicle.

We make the checks so you can enjoy your new car

As you can see, our 172-point pre-purchase inspection really covers everything. 

It’s been designed to assess every component of the vehicle, from the cosmetics to mechanical and safety components. 

By performing the pre-purchase inspection, we can uncover any potential issues and address them to the highest standard before you take your vehicle away. 

Men shaking hands

We do this to ensure all our Approved Used vehicles are of the highest standard and that you get to enjoy your Hippo car to the fullest. 

For a full list of our pre-purchase inspection checks, click here