Everything You Need to Know About Multi-Point Inspections and Why Your Car Needs Them

October 14th, 2022 by

A close up shows a multi-point inspection check sheet.

If you’ve heard the term multi-point inspection and, like most folks, didn’t give it much thought, you should know that these three words could mean the difference between a quick warranty repair and a catastrophic mechanical failure. Multi-point inspections, like the one your car receives during every Nissan Express Service, allow automotive technicians to diagnose and resolve issues on and around your vehicle long before they have a chance to do real damage to your car.

We’re all guilty of being so busy and distracted by daily life that we don’t immediately address that low tire pressure warning. Who hasn’t let a week (or three) pass without topping off the windshield washer fluid reservoir? These seemingly minor inconveniences, left unchecked, could lead to bigger problems down the line. That’s why we perform a thorough multi-point inspection every time you visit our service center.

What is included in a multi-point inspection? As the name implies, this service encompasses inspecting every major component, system, and function of a vehicle to ensure it’s in good operating condition. Something as minor as a dirty cabin filter can contribute to a less enjoyable ownership experience, but on the other end of the spectrum, a single loose bearing could signal a much more serious issue. Here’s why you should ask for a multi-point inspection every time you bring your car in for service or maintenance.

What Is a Multi-Point Inspection?

Multi-point inspections aren’t the same for every automotive service provider. To our in-house team of factory-trained, experienced technicians, a multi-point inspection starts with a check of your vehicle’s major systems, which includes critical fluid levels and all associated filters. We check your oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. We check to ensure your filters aren’t clogged with deposits and dirt. We’ll also top off the windshield washer reservoir and take a look at your wipers.

From there, our technicians will inspect all drive belts and hoses, looking for signs of wear, including cracks and hardness. Your battery is then tested to ensure it can supply the energy necessary to start your car and keep it running. All exterior lights, such as turn signals, brake lights, backup lights, headlights, and high beams, are checked for burned-out bulbs. We sound your horn and do a quick inspection of the vehicle’s exterior. Then we check tire pressure and tread wear and inflate your tires if needed.

Your inspection also includes diagnostics for issues with major components. We evaluate your engine’s performance using special diagnostic computers and use these tools to inspect your transmission and other major vehicle components. All fuel lines and brake lines are visually inspected, and while we’re under your vehicle, we’ll also check for signs of rust or corrosion that shouldn’t be present. We then check tire alignment and all ball joints and bushings.

A technician is shown inspecting a vehicle during a Nissan Express Service.

How Often Should You Get a Multi-Point Inspection?

At Thomas Nissan of Joliet, our philosophy is that a multi-point inspection is always a good idea, which is why we offer a free one as part of your Nissan Express Service. If it’s been a while since you visited our service center and you’re planning a long road trip, we highly recommend stopping by so our technicians can give you the all-systems go thumbs up before you hit the road. You don’t want to find out the hard way that your tires are underinflated.

Another great time to consider a multi-point inspection is when the seasons change. Your vehicle requires specific maintenance to prepare for the winter months. As springtime approaches, you’ll want to adjust tire pressure and check your car’s major components for excess wear caused by salty roads, ice, and cold temperatures. Some drivers swap out their regular tires for a set of winter tires, then forget to switch back once the mercury starts to climb. A multi-point inspection will catch these oversights and more.

If your vehicle has sat in the driveway for an extended period, a multi-point inspection will reveal any issues with fluids, the potential damage from pests that might have nested under the hood in your absence, and overall drivability. Even if your car was garaged during a period of non-use, it’s susceptible to ‘passive’ wear-and-tear simply by remaining parked and out of daily service. Multi-point inspections catch the things we might not be aware of or have overlooked. It’s an easy way to keep your vehicle running safely and like new.

What’s the Difference Between a Multi-Point Inspection and a State Inspection

You might think an annual state inspection is the only “official” inspection you need. From a legal standpoint, you’re correct, but from a practical and safety standpoint, state inspections serve an entirely different purpose. Whereas a multi-point inspection helps uncover potential issues vehicle-wide, a state inspection looks for specific problems, such as emissions, that are related to legal violations.

If you have no trouble passing an annual state inspection, don’t accept it as proof that your car is running well. These inspections also don’t guarantee that a potential safety hazard isn’t looming. It’s best to ask for a multi-point inspection every time your vehicle goes in for routine maintenance. At Thomas Nissan, we provide a multi-point inspection as part of our Nissan Express Service, which also comes with an oil and filter change and a tire balance/rotation. It’s quick and easy, and best of all–it’s free!

Keeping your vehicle running well and without potential safety issues is critical. When you trust all your driving needs to our certified, factory-trained technicians, you’ll avoid having to deal with minor maintenance and upkeep on your own. You’ll also be reassured that your car is operating safely and according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and the full reservoir of windshield washer fluid won’t hurt either!

A close up shows oil being filled after an oil change.

Fast and Convenient Service

Let’s face it: vehicle maintenance and upkeep can be a headache. That’s why the team at Thomas Nissan of Joliet offers Nissan Express Service. We invite you to drop by on your schedule, no appointment necessary, and receive a quick oil and filter change, swap out your worn-out tires for new ones, and ever receive a new set of wiper blades. View our entire menu of drop-in services on our website.

While your car is in our hands, we’ll perform a multi-point inspection and let you know if we uncover an issue. From there, we’ll work with you to formulate a plan to correct mechanical problems that require a longer visit. Our technicians will let you know if the issue is urgent or if you can wait a week or two to address it. If it’s something minor, such as a burned-out bulb, we’ll take care of it on the spot so you can be on your way; no future visit required.

Nissan Express Service is all about convenience. We know it’s hard to carve out time to have your car serviced and keep it properly maintained, so we take advantage of the time you have by thoroughly inspecting your car from bumper to bumper. It’s important to us that your car is safe and that it’s running the way the factory intended. You’ll enjoy your vehicle way more if it’s in prime, factory-new condition: let our experienced technicians ensure you love what you drive!