​Car Inspection VS Car Evaluation: What’s the Difference?

Published by on . Updated on 18 May 2020
Motorist Vehicle Inspection Vs Vehicle Evaluation
Are you familiar with the terms ‘car evaluation’ and ‘car inspection’? In this article, we’ll breakdown the differences between the two.

Everyone knows that a car inspection is mandatory for all vehicles on the road. For car owners, it is required by law to send your vehicle for inspection once every two years from the 3rd year, or yearly if it is above the age of 10.

As for a car evaluation, it is a special inspection that is performed on a pre-owned car before purchase. Although it is not mandatory, customers are strongly encouraged by the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) to send any pre-owned car for an evaluation first before it is bought.

A car evaluation will not only safeguard your interest, but also ensure that the used car is roadworthy and defect-free. Afterall, you wouldn’t want to purchase a “lemon”.

To further highlight their differences, we will list the different checks and tests that are performed for both car inspection and evaluation.

Car Inspection

As mentioned earlier, car owners are required to send their cars for a mandatory inspection. This is to ensure all vehicles meet strict roadworthiness and emissions standards, thus minimising vehicle breakdowns and accidents.

According to VICOM, the following components will be checked at every inspection:

Stage 1

Above Carriage Check (Visual Check)

- Vehicle identity (including number plate, engine and chassis numbers)

- Lighting equipment (including headlands, stop lamps, front and rear lamps and direction indicators)

- Bodywork

- Vehicle modifications and accessories

- Road wheel and tyres

- General items (including seat belts, horn, windscreen, safety devices and windscreen wipers)

Stage 2

Alignment test

Brake Test

- Front wheel alignment

- Brake performance, efficiency and drag force.

Stage 3

Headlight Test

Exhaust Emission Test

Sound Level Test

- Alignment and focus of headlamps

- Luminous intensity

- Horizontal and vertical aim of each headlamp at high beam

- Exhaust emission levels

- Collection of gas samples

- Noise emission test

Stage 4

Under Carriage Check (Visual Checks)

- Chassis

- Exhaust system

- Suspension system

- Steering system

- Brake system

- Leakage

If your vehicle passes all four stages, you will be presented with an inspection certificate. Those that fail the inspection will need to return for a re-inspection on a later date.

Motorist Vfit Vicom Vehicle Inspection Vs Vehicle Evaluation
Car Evaluation

According to our previous article, a car evaluation is a more thorough and rigorous inspection. Performed prior a used car purchase, it gives car buyers a better understanding of the quality and condition of a used car.

VFIT is the vehicle evaluation arm of VICOM. It follows the strict Standard and Functional Evaluation Checklist set by CASE. The dealer should complete Part A of the checklist, while Part B should be completed by a professional evaluation centre, like VFIT.

Base on this checklist, the following components will be checked by the professional evaluation centre:


- Visual inspection to identify oil seepage, overheating, abnormal engine noise, and condition of the drive belt

Engine Mounting

- Checks to identify abnormal vibrations resulting from defective engine mounting

Fluid Level

- Dipstick and visual checks to ensure there is sufficient engine oil, power steering fluid, transmission oil, brake fluid, cooling system coolant level, clutch fluid, and visual inspection for the contamination of fluids

Transmission Box

- Road tests and checks to identify abnormal noises during engine operation and gear transmissions

Chassis Frame

- Visual inspections to identify possible cracks or damages to the chassis frame, including welding and corrosion


- Visual inspections for scratches, dents, and signs of touch-up of the bodywork

Suspension System

- Inspection of shock absorbers for seepage and defective components

- Observation of the performance of the suspension and condition of suspension linkages


- Temperature measurement of cooled air for a specific period

Cooling System

- Checking of engine temperature, cooling fans, hoses, and radiator cap for leakages to ensure that the cooling system is operating within the normal operating parameters as indicated in the car instrumental panel

Electrical System

- Checks on the working electrical system to ensure all lights, air conditioning, *battery and alternator are working. * Hybrid battery and EV battery are not
part of the VFIT checklist

Brakes and Alignment

- Inspection of brake rotor and brake pad, measurement of brake efficiency using roller brake tester

- Alignment test conducted on side slip tester to check for misalignment of wheel(s)

Rims and Wheels

- Visual inspection for damaged, uneven wear and missing nuts on rims and depth of all tyre threads

Road Testing

- Observation for engine misfiring, proper gear transmission, steering wobble, vehicle swerving and abnormal noises

Visual Inspections

- Includes visual inspection of body works, accessories (if any), tinted film, spoiler, additional lamps for compliance with the relevant Land Transport Authority regulations.

As you can probably tell, a car evaluation is more in-depth than an inspection. It does involve the exchange of your hard-earned money after all.

For those of you who aren’t aware, the motorcar industry has seen the highest number of complaints among all industries since 2012.

If you don’t want to find yourself in a bad position, please do consider getting a car evaluation before a used car purchase. It is after all a small price to pay for a peace of mind.

With 38 years of experience in the automotive industry, VFIT by VICOM provides one of the most comprehensive evaluation reports in the industry.

To set a car evaluation appointment, simply head over their online booking system. Each evaluation takes approximately two hours to complete.

In our next article, we will be highlighting several key things that car owners will need to pay attention to when reading their car evaluation report.

Download the Motorist App

The easiest and smartest way to manage your vehicle in Singapore.

Download Now

Read More: What is a Car Evaluation?

Download the new Motorist App now. Designed by drivers for drivers, this all-in-one app lets you receive the latest traffic updates, gives you access to live traffic cameras, and helps you manage LTA and vehicle matters.

Did you know we have a Motorist Telegram Channel ? Created exclusively for drivers and car owners in Singapore, you can get instant info about our latest promotions, articles, tips & hacks, or simply chat with the Motorist Team and fellow drivers.