Cessna 172/182 and 170/180 Series Prebuy Examination – Scope and Detail

NOTE: This is a two-phase checklist. Please perform “Phase 1” items first and report results before proceeding with “Phase 2” items. If there are any high-cost issues noted during Phase 1, we may need to terminate the prebuy examination early.

NOTE: Estimated labor hours to complete both phases of this checklist is 8-10 hours for normally aspirated airplanes.


1.1 Operational and Functional Check

1.1.1 Perform “Airplane Operational and Functional Check” of all systems in accordance with Cessna Airplane Maintenance Manual/Aircraft preflight checklist.

1.2 Engine and Propeller

1.2.1 Check cylinder compressions hot. Report compression readings, master orifice reading, and location of audible air leakage (rings, exhaust valve).

1.2.2 Check cylinder heads for cracks.

1.2.3 Check pushrod housing seals, cylinder bases, and rocker covers for oil leaks.

1.2.4 Borescope examination of all cylinders. For each cylinder, report appearance of exhaust valve (particularly asymmetric appearance indicating hot spots), appearance of barrel (loss of crosshatch, vertical scoring, aluminum smearing at 3 or 9 o’clock position suggesting piston pin plug scuffing, excessive oil in combustion chamber).

1.2.5 Spark plug examination. Report any abnormal color or appearance, particularly top spark plugs. What brand and type of plugs installed?

1.2.6 Remove oil filter, cut open and inspect for metal. If significant metal is found, please provide one or more high-resolution photographs of filter media, check with a magnet to determine whether metal is ferrous or non-ferrous, and save filter media in a zip-lock plastic bag in the event we need to send it out to a lab for microscopic examination.

1.2.7 Check crankcase for cracks and oil leaks. Check front crankshaft seal for oil leaks. If any cracks or leaks are found, please provide high-resolution photographs.

1.2.8 Check all fuel and oil lines, wire bundles and ignition harness leads for chafing and security. Check engine transducers (CHT, EGT, etc.) for lead chafing at strain-relief springs.

1.2.9 Check carburetor and carburetor heat for security, box for damage, and proper travel of heat door. Check for evidence of fuel leaks. Check engine control mounting and security.

1.2.10 Check cowl flap attachment and operation.

1.2.11 Check engine baffles for cracks. Check inter-cylinder baffles for proper position. Check flexible baffle seals for condition and proper orientation.

1.2.12 Check engine mount for corrosion, heat signatures, and damage to powder coating/paint.

1.2.13 Check firewall for signs of hard landing at engine mount and if applicable, nose gear attach points. Inspect firewall for damage including corrosion, holes, and missing hardware at pass-thru areas. Inspect battery box for corrosion.

1.2.14 Examine exhaust system for exhaust leaks, cracks, and bulges. For normally aspirated engines, check mufflers (particularly flame cones if applicable) and heat exchanger and shroud. Pressure test of exhaust is requested.

1.2.15 Check propeller hub for cracks and leaks. Check prop blades for nicks, corrosion, and areas of excessive filing. Check propeller spinner and spinner back plate for cracks/unapproved repairs. If prop heat installed, check security of boots, leads/wires and operation.

1.2.16 Check cowling for damage and repairs, with concentration on exhaust- induced heat damage (inside or outside). Look for chaffing of baffle/seals/ engine components.

1.3 Maintenance Records

1.3.1 Check for complete airframe, engine and propeller logbooks.

1.3.2 Provide AD compliance list. Report any applicable ADs for which compliance is not well-documented.

1.3.3 Provide SB compliance list. Report any applicable SBs for which compliance is not well-documented, and identify whether mandatory, recommended or optional.

1.3.4 Check for compliance with all Airworthiness Limitations in Section 4 of AMM. If applicable, check for compliance with Airworthiness Limitations on any installed STC’s or major alterations. Report any Airworthiness Limitations for which compliance is not well-documented.

1.3.5 Check for compliance with overhaul/replacement schedule in Section 5 of AMM, and report any items for which compliance with recommended overhaul/replacement times is not well-documented (magnetoes, alternatorss, vacuum pumps, etc). Give special attention to Magneto 500 hour inspection.

1.3.6 Verify date of most recent 91.411/91.413 biennial certifications (static system, altimeter/encoder, and transponder).

1.3.7 Confirm that aircraft is equipped as shown in equipment list.

IMPORTANT: Please report your Phase 1 findings to Savvy and obtain authorization before proceeding to Phase 2.


2.1 Landing Gear, Wheels, Brakes

2.1.1 Check landing gear for cracks, buckling, and signs of hard landings. Inspect for wear at pivot points, steering and shimmy dampener mounts.

2.1.2 If tail wheel equipped, visually inspect tail wheel assembly for damage or excessive wear.

2.1.3 Check wheels for heavy pitting/corrosion on exterior.

2.1.4 Check MLG and NLG fairings for cracks, security, and overall condition.

2.1.5 Check tires for condition.

2.1.6 Check brake calipers for leaks, brake disc/pads for obvious excessive wear.

2.1.7 Check brake hoses for chafing, condition, date codes.

2.2 Cabin

2.2.1 Note the general condition of seats, seat belts, and interior panels.

2.2.2 Inspect seat tracks for obvious wear/cracks that may not pass the Seat Track AD 87-20-03.

2.2.3 Check brake master cylinders for leaks and hoses for age and condition.

2.2.4 Check windows for security and clarity and free of cracks.

2.2.5 Check wing carry thru spar for corrosion.

2.2.6 Legacy Cessnas (prior to 1994) have lead panels bonded to interior skin in cabin areas. Moisture/corrosion will de-bond panels and pitting of skin is likely. Check these panels just forward of the door post as this is a common area for this issue.

2.2.7 Check bottom of the rear window track for corrosion as well as rear bulkhead (caused by water leaks).

2.2.8 Check engine controls for smooth operation and adequate cushion.

2.2.9 Check all interior lights (including instrument lighting) for proper operation.

2.2.10 If installed, inspect the oxygen bottle for life limit and hydrostatic check date.

2.2.11 Check fuel quantity indicators for proper operation. (Functional checks only; please do not defuel the aircraft for this inspection.)

2.2.12 Check headliner for evidence of leaks at door or rear window.

2.2.13 Remove ELT batteries and look for leaks and corrosion. Perform functional check.

2.2.14 Check fire extinguishers for proper weight.

2.2.15 Verify that aircraft cabin contains airworthiness certificate, registration certificate, POH, current W&B, applicable avionics operating manuals, and hand microphone.

2.3 Airframe

2.3.1 Check entire exterior of airframe for significant cosmetic flaws (e.g. cracks, missing or discolored paint), corrosion in exhaust trail area, antenna base cracks.

2.3.2 Check tail tie down and aft vertical spar for evidence of tail strike damage.

2.3.3 Check underside of wings for evidence of fuel leaks, with concentration at fuel quantity senders, access panels, and drains.

2.3.4 Check inside wing for corrosion. Please note any significant corrosion, and provide pictures. (Legacy Cessnas – pre-1994 – are particularly prone to corrosion). Note any evidence of corrosion treatments such as Corrosion X or ACF 50.

2.3.5 Check pitot heat for proper operation.

2.3.6 Check wing flaps for excessive chafing, flap tracks/rollers for excessive wear., and flap skins for cracks. (Note if stiffener is installed on trailing edge.)

2.3.7 Check flight controls for freedom of movement, including trim systems.

2.3.8 Check for required placards

2.3.9 Check vertical and horizontal attach points for damage, and adjustable stabilator free play.

2.3.10 Report any obvious modifications or repairs to the airframe. If so, are there corresponding 337’s?

2.3.11 If G1000 equipped, is the software current?

2.3.12 Check areas of any major repairs noted in logbooks for quality of work and correct repair.

2.3.13 If the aircraft is equipped with a recording engine data monitor, download the data from unit and send it to Savvy for analysis.