I'm looking for a mid-2000s Expedition and doing a lot of research for what to check for on different model years. Sometimes I see what looks like suspiciously good deals on old trucks at shady looking corner lot used car dealers and I wonder what the catch is. I made a big big checklist of stuff to go over after making a few trips to dealers now, hearing stories about my friend's lemon, reading stuff online, and that one time I bought a 06 Taurus and the transmission exploded a week later. Idk if this helps people who are also looking or if anyone here who buys a lot of used cars has stuff to add. Stuff to bring - Flashlight - Bottled Water - Bar Rag - Tape Measure - Aux / USB cord Exterior - Body panels are the same color, and fit & align correctly. - Check paint for dings, scratches, corrosion and peeling, especially the hood. Make sure to check the roof too. - Test suspension by pushing down on the hood or bumpers. Car should stabilize quickly and not bounce. - Check that the tires are inflated properly, and all the same brand and worn evenly. - Check tires for wear patterns. Tread wear should be even across the top of the tire, and extra wear on the sidewalls or in the middle of the tread means it was driven hard or not maintained properly. - Tug on the wheels to make sure they don't move sideways. - Check the rims for dents, chips, or other signs of impact or scraping. - Check lights for cracks, fogging, corrosion, or moisture trapped inside. Underside - Check for rust in the wheel wells, under the doors, and under the vehicle, especially the frame. - Check tail pipe for residue. It should be dry and not greasy, which is a sign of burning oil. - Check muffler and exhaust. Excessive rust could mean leaks, or that the exhaust system will need to be replaced. - Check CV joint boots for rot or leaks. - Check for dented, misaligned, loose or brand new parts under the car. - Do a quick sight check from a low angle to check for obvious signs that the frame of the car isn't straight. Engine - Check under the car for any stains, dripping or leaks. - The engine should be relatively clean. No big stains or discoloring. - Check the oil. Oil should be brown. Amber colored oil means it might have been changed to cover something up. Oil shouldn't be grey, foamy or have moisture in it. - Check transmission fluid is pink, doesn't smell burnt and doesn't leave metal bits on the rag. - Testing if break fluid needs to be changed requires a kit from an auto parts store, or ask a mechanic to do it. - Check that electrical terminals are clean, and wires are not twisted, discolored, loose or melted. - Check that any rubber belts or seals are not rotted, dried out or frayed. - Check radiator for stains, cracks, leaks or dry rot. Fluid should be bright green and clear. Interior - Doors, hood, and tailgate all open smoothly. - Check inside doors & hood for signs of re-painting. - Check door and window seals for rot or cracks. Pour water on the roof to test the sun roof for leaks. - Smells ok, especially no musty or mildew smells. - No significant wear on the seats. No rips or separation. - Check all the seats for comfort, and that the adjustments work. Especially power seats. - Seatbelts extend, click in and retract properly, and don't show signs of fraying. - Seats fold flat, lock open, and adjust, ratchet and recline properly. - Lift floor mats and check the carpet isn't stained or scuffed up. - Ceiling is unmarked and doesn't sag. - No broken, missing or loose interior body panels. - Check space inside the storage panels is clean, and that the spare tire & jack are there. Electrical - Turn the car on in accessory mode first. Dash warning lights should all turn on then turn off. - Turn all the lights on. Test high beams, directionals, stop lights and reverse lights. - Test every button on the dash, console & steering wheel. - Throw water on the windshield to test the wipers. - Run AC on high and check for hot air or damp smells. - Radio tunes correctly. - Test iPhone connectivity: line-in jack, bluetooth or whatever is available. - Speakers capable of high output without knocking or clipping. Test Drive - Starts right away the first time without noise. - No knocking, tapping, clicking or rough engine noises after starting cold. - No heavy vibrations, smoke or bad smells while idle. - Accelerator and break pedal pressure should be responsive. - Test the breaks for stopping power and grinding noises. - Test acceleration and that the car shifts smoothly. - Try to drive up a hill, a highway on ramp or parking structure to test power and torque remains constant. - Check that alignment is good, the car should drive straight and not pull to the side. - Drive slowly on an uneven road surface to test suspension for heavy creaking noises, soft suspension, or too much travel. - While driving, switch from AWD to 4H. Listen for grinding noises or abrupt changes in ride quality. Try to test cornering on a sandy road if possible. - While stopped, switch from 4H to 4L. Drive the vehicle at slow speeds while listening for noise and getting a feel for the torque. If possible try ascending or descending a steep hill. - Test the parking break. It should set, release and hold without struggle or noise. Dealer - Do they have a Carfax report? - Ask if they have a pre-purchase inspection checklist to go over with you. - Use a [VIN Decoder](https://vpic.nhtsa.dot.gov/decoder/Decoder) to make sure the number matches the car. - Does the car come with 2 key fobs and a manual? - Check BBB ratings for the dealership. - Vehicles over 100,000 miles are not subject to lemon law, however... just ask if they would be willing to offer a 30 Day / 1,000 mi warranty for this vehicle? Even if they don't say yes, gauge their initial reaction to the question. Records - No accidents, salvage or branded titles. - Oil changes every 6000 miles? (Should be ~20 listed for a 125k car) - Look up recalls, major repairs, or [complaints](https://www.carcomplaints.com/Ford/Expedition/) for this vehicle. Mechanic Inspection - Before making any offers, look up a local AAA certified mechanic to do an inspection. - You'll probably need to call the mechanic ahead of time and clear this with the dealer. - It's fine if the dealer comes with, but don't buy from a dealer who won't let you do this. I've been looking at a lot of 2005 & 2006s. I'm going to check out a 2006 this weekend and added this to the list...but I probably need more info an a mechanic for most of this. 2006 Specific - Check for corrosion, bubbling or peeling paint. - Check for throttle body replacement issues. - Check for spark plug issues. - Check for timing chain issues. Am I right about 2005-06 issues? Or that it'd be really weird if a dealer wouldn't let me take the car to a mechanic? Before I call a mechanic does it make any sense at all to go to like an AutoZone and pretend its mine and get an error code scan as a free option? What am I forgetting?