RAC 82-point Approved Vehicle Preparation Standard

To make sure the car you buy is safe and reliable, RAC Approved Dealers test each one against the RAC 82-point Approved Vehicle Preparation Standard. And we audit each of our approved dealers 6 times a year to ensure they are following our standard correctly. Here’s what the preparation standard covers:

A check that your car has undergone its:

  • VIN Inspection.
  • Vehicle History Report.
  • Scheduled Maintenance (including timing belt).
  • Engine number check.

If applicable, they’ll confirm it has a current MOT certificate.

Road test

On a test drive, RAC Approved Dealers will check the:

  • Starting system, general performance and behaviour of the vehicle.
  • Clutch, transmission, steering, suspension and brakes including A.B.S.
  • Gauges operate properly.
  • Battery and starter motor start engine with ease from both hot and cold.
  • Cruise Control (if applicable).
  • Efficiency of parking brake.
  • Evidence of abnormal noises.
  • Visual fluid leaks after driving.
  • Excessive visual emissions from exhaust.
  • Engine management lights are illuminated on test drive or when engine idling.
  • Engine cooling fans operate at appropriate temperature.
Vehicle exterior

An inspection of the outside of the vehicle to confirm that:

  • There aren’t any dents larger than 50mm in diameter, or dents which have cracked paint.
  • The windscreen is free from any damage that would exclude the vehicle from an MOT test.
  • There are no signs of bodywork corrosion.
  • The exterior mirrors are intact and working properly.
  • Any repairs have been made using manufacturer-approved methods.
  • Body panels are correctly fitted and aligned.
  • The fuel filler system (including petrol caps and lever release system) is working correctly.
  • The bonnet catch, safety catch, hinges, and tailgate supports are in good condition.
  • Door locks and central locking, including child safety locks, all work correctly.
  • All the exterior trim (bumpers, window and door seals, wheel wells and headlights) fit correctly and securely.
Vehicle interior

An inspection to check that everything inside of the car is in good condition and working correctly, including:

  • Wipers and washers.
  • Visual and audible driver warning systems.
  • Rear-view mirror and sun visors.
  • Parking assistance systems.
  • Navigation system.
  • Interior lights.
  • Instruments, gauges and controls.
  • Door windows (manual or electric).
  • Convertible roof mechanism (if applicable).
  • Audio and alarm systems.
  • All internal equipment (e.g. cigarette lighters, sun visors, arms rests, etc).
  • All exterior lighting equipment and respective control lights and cluster illumination.
  • Air-conditioning, heating and demist systems.
  • Sunroof mechanism.
  • Parcel shelf or tonneau cover (if fitted).
  • Seatbelts and mountings.

The dealer will also check that:

  • There’s no evidence of water ingress.
  • The interior trim and dashboard are free from tears, holes, burns or excessive soiling.
  • All warning lights work correctly.
  • All drive pedals work correctly.
  • All seat mountings, head rests and seat adjustment mechanisms are secure.
  • The SRS warning light works correctly.
Road wheels & tyres

This check is to make sure that:

  • All tyres (including the spare) have a minimum tread depth of 3mm.
  • There’s no evidence of uneven tyre wear or casing damage.
  • Tyres have no bulges or cuts through to the casing, and there’s no evidence of temporary repairs.
  • All wheels are free from distortion, gouges or visible cracks.
Engine compartment

This check is to make sure that:

  • The battery is in working order, and terminals are secure and free from corrosion.
  • The engine oil is at the correct level & dipstick oil sample is free from contamination.
  • The coolant system is free of visual contamination and that it’s using the correct antifreeze.
  • The charging system meets the minimum output.
  • Gearbox fluid levels (manual or automatic) are correct.
  • All other fluid levels (brake, clutch, power steering, washer & battery) are correct.
  • Auxiliary drive belts and in working condition and have the right tension.
  • Engine mountings are secure and in working condition.
  • Wiring, pipes, hoses, oil & fuel feed lines are correctly routed and free from damage, chafing and leaks (where visible).
  • There are no fluid leaks.
  • The cooling system radiator and engine oil cooler or intercooler are free from damage or excessive corrosion.
  • There’s no undue engine noise.

For hybrid vehicles only, they’ll also check the:

  • Hybrid cooling system.
  • Hybrid power-train mount.
  • Hybrid entertainment & information display.

They’ll go underneath the car and inspect the:

  • Exhaust, mountings and clamps.
  • Catalytic converter.
  • Steering.
  • Tie rod ends, CV joints, drive shafts & steering rack including books/covers.
  • Front and rear springs, shock absorbers & mounting points.

They’ll also make sure that:

  • There’s no evidence of exhaust gas leaks.
  • There are no fluid leaks from the engine, drive train, or fuel systems.
  • There’s no visual evidence of faults to braking components.
  • The brake pads have a minimum of 50% material remaining.
  • The underbody doesn’t have excess corrosion and the chassis is free from extensive structural repairs.
  • The transmission and driveshaft is secure & free from excessive play.

After passing the quality and safety checks, all vehicles will come fully cleaned and valeted, with:

  • An owner’s manual, including locking wheel nut tool (if fitted).
  • 2 Keys and remote fobs.
  • Service history (if applicable).