Article

Find, Search, Reprint, Submit Articles For Free

WHAT TO DO BEFORE AND AFTER YOU BUY A NEW USED CAR


Buying a "new" used car is always a bit of a gamble, but the good news is that, thanks to improvements in design, manufacturing, machining, build quality, and metallurgy, there are plenty of used cars with 150,000 miles (or more) on the odometer and plenty of good miles left to go.

 

When you're buying a used car, especially one with high mileage, you should choose carefully and have a trained mechanic give it a good inspection before you buy.

Of course, you know to check out things like the headlights and taillights, A/C, and the radio/entertainment system. But these are some extra steps you can take to vet the vehicle yourself:

  • Get a good look at the condition of the gas pedal, brake pedal, carpeting, headliner, and upholstery. A worn and ratty interior is often a sign of a vehicle that hasn't been maintained well.
  • Make sure that essential tools aren't missing, like the owner's manual, spare tire, and tire tools. If the car is a newer vehicle and uses a tow hook that screws into the vehicle, confirm that is there. Some vehicles don't use gas caps anymore, and those vehicles will require a special funnel if adding fuel from a can or fuel additives. Make sure that funnel is still stored in the vehicle.
  • Inspect the front tires for uneven wear at the inside or outside edge, which could mean alignment problems. Run your hand along the surface of the tread, lightly; a jagged, sawtooth contour to the treads or an uneven "cupped" pattern are also indicators of suspension problems.
  • When you test-drive the vehicle, listen for clunks when you put the transmission in gear or let off the gas. A clunk could mean U-joint problems or CV joint or motor mount issues with a front-wheel-drive vehicle. If it's a FWD vehicle, roll the windows down and make a hard turn at slow speed, listening for clicking noises that could indicate a CV joint about to fail. Inspect the rear side of the wheels for oil spatters that could also point to a CV joint problem.
  • Find a safe place and do a hard stop from 40 mph. Does the vehicle stop in a straight line, or does it pull to one side, pulsate, or lock up any of the wheels?
  • Inspect the motor oil on the dipstick—it should be honey colored and translucent. Dirty oil that's the color of black coffee and has an acrid or sour smell could mean the vehicle has been poorly maintained.
  • While you're under the hood, look for leaks of oil or coolant and any shiny new parts that may have been recently replaced. Coolant should be bright in color and brake fluid should be translucent yellowish and not contaminated.
  • Inspect the transmission fluid—it should be red and translucent. Transmission fluid that's darker in color or has a burnt-toast smell means a vehicle that's been run hard, with an overheated and poorly maintained transmission.
  • Jack up the front end and grasp a front wheel at the top and bottom. Check to see if there's any play when you try to move the wheel; play could indicate worn ball joints or wheel bearing. Do the same while grasping the wheel at the sides; excessive play means worn tie rods, idler arm or Pitman arm. Spin the wheel and listen for clicking or ratcheting noises, which could indicate a wheel-bearing problem.
  • When examining the body, look for body panels that don't quite match the color of the rest, panels that don't line up or an "orange peel" texture to the paint, all of which could indicate collision damage. Also, place your head right up against the body and eyeball it carefully to look for ripples or irregularities in the sheet metal. The gaps between body panels (i.e., hood and fenders) should be close and even. Also, don't forget to look closely along the bottoms of each body panel and door for signs of rust.

SO YOU WENT AHEAD AND PURCHASED...

Good for you! Everything checked out on your new used car, the mechanic gave it a clean bill of health, and you agreed on a price with the seller. Now, let's keep that high-mileage (and presumably out-of-warranty) vehicle running longer:

  • Switch to synthetic motor oil. For years, there were rumors that switching to full synthetic in a high-mileage engine would cause leaks as the oil migrated past old, dried-out, shrunken seals and gaskets. No longer the case—newer formulations of synthetic oil won't leak and provide superior, sludge-free engine protection at all temperatures. While it has come down considerably in price, synthetic oil is still a bit higher than conventional oil, but that extra cost is offset by a longer oil change interval.
  • Change the transmission fluid, being sure to select the right formulation for your vehicle. Using the wrong brand-specific fluid can quickly destroy a transmission. If the fluid hasn't been changed in a long time, though, consult with a transmission specialist before flushing the unit. Many technicians will recommend leaving old fluid in place if the transmission has many miles on it and service hasn't been performed in a long time. Learn more about how to extend your transmission's life here.
  • Rotate the tires. Tire rotations help ensure even wear of all four tires (and is mandatory for your tire warranty), but regular tire rotations also make a big difference in the vehicle's drivability, handling, and road manners. Learn how to rotate your tires here.
  • Wash and wax the car. It's more than just keeping your car looking sharp—a good coat of wax will help prevent the finish from being oxidized from the sun's UV rays and will also help protect against nicks and dings from gravel or road grit.

Just following these simple maintenance steps (along with sensible driving habits) will keep your used car running well for a long time to come. Don't forget, though, to be aware of any weird smells or noises that your vehicle might make down the line. Maintenance is an ongoing need, and heading off any problem at Stage 1 is far better than waiting until Stage 4 or 5.

Keywords

Car , Mechanic , Hoppers Crossing

Domain info

unicornautocare00

For all of your Car Mechanic needs on all makes & models of vehicle, Unicorn Auto Care is the Hoppers Crossing based Auto Mechanics who specialise in any Motor Vehicle Maintenance especially Car Service. Our qualified Auto Mechanics will be ready to help you with high quality work ethics to make your vehicle run smoothly. As a highly trained Car Mechanic, we provide nothing but the best car service and Mechanical Repairs! We as a team listen to your concerns therefore it is our concern. With a team of highly skilled and professional Motor Mechanic on hand providing one of Melbourne’s best repair services especially in Western Suburbs, you can rely on the team at Unicorn Auto Care to have your vehicle running at full capability. We believe in providing nothing but the highest standard of service both for the customer and vehicle. We are always happy to assist you with any mechanic enquiry you have as well as provide expert advice for Car Repair and Service on what needs to be done to ensure your vehicle is running the way it should be. Some of our Quality Factors are: Complete customer satisfactions is our top priority Cheap and Affordable Car Service price in Hoppers Crossing Experienced Automotive Mechanic are happy to answer any questions and help guide and explain every step of the process Become a member and receive exclusive offers and discounts Green Friendly! We are ecologically responsible and actively working to reduce our carbon footprint. Join our journey and keep our planet prosperous for future generations

Author's articles

Other articles