What to check Before buying Used Car?

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If you are in the market for a used car then this is a great 30 minutes inspection guide on how to inspect a car,truck,SUV or van from bumper to bumper.


1)Make the test drive appointment with the seller in the EARLY MORNING hour. Inspect the car when it is COMPLETELY cold.
Cold engine will ran rough during the closed loop cycle (warm up phase). This is the best time to inspect for worn motor and transmission mounts. 

2) RECORD color of all fluid on the vehicle.
motor oil is clear to black
transmission fluid is lite pink to dark red
coolant is green or orange for GM Dexcool
Dip a small sample of the fluids on a WHITE printer paper and compare it to any drip on the ground after 15 minutes of warm up time. 

3)Look for oil leak(s) under the car after 15+ minutes of warm up time.
Front seal is inches below the harmonic balancer (center of the pulley system on the crank). 
Rear main seal is no visible from the outside (It is where the engine meet the transmission casing).
Front seal and rear seal leak(s) can set you back hundreds on labor.
Some seller will tell you the rubber seal only cost $12 or less (which is true) but the labor is at $90+ per hour. 
A top notch professional auto repair shop can complete the job on a rear wheel drive vehicle in under 1 1/2 hours (front and rear seals).
Front wheel drive vehicle is a 2+ hours job.
Once again DO NOT ASSUME
Lite brown to black fluid is motor oil 
Pink to dark red is transmission fluid
Compare the fluid on the white printer paper so you will have a good idea on which fluid is leaking.
A manual transmission clutch system can be destroy by only few ounce of motor oil seepage from the rear main seal.
An average clutch job is over $260!!!! 

4)Inspect the color of the exhaust smoke at initial startup.
Few minutes of lite blue or black smoke is OK for high mileage vehicle.
(75,000+ miles) 
BLUE smoke is a sign of worn oil seal on the engine head. It SHOULD be clear out after 2-5 minutes of warm up time.
BLACK smoke is a sign of engine is running rich.
You should monitor the smoke level. It should reduce to an acceptable level after warm up 5-10 minutes.
lite WHITE smoke is OK until 10 minutes of warm up time.
If there is WHITE smoke after 15 minutes of warm up time then you should do a coolant compression test to make sure the head gasket able to blown. 

5)Look for miss-match tires 
This is a sign for low budget owner or car flipper.

6)After 15+ minutes of warm up time then take the vehicle for local and highway ran.
Test the car on a hilly road to listen for dieseling (ping) sound from the engine. 
WORN engine will produce louder dieseling sound.
A totally worn engine will also vibrate a lot more.
You have to factor is worn motor and transmission mount.
Have your friend drive a second vehicle right behind you to look for color of the smoke during the test drive during the test drive.

7)On 1996+ vehicle,look for Check Engine or Service Engine Soon light. 
MAKE SURE this lamp does light for few second during initial start-up.
If there is code stored in the computer then you will need an OBDII code reader to pull the codes.

8)READ the state emission report carefully!
Look for the upper limit parameters and compare to the RECORDED TEST RESULTS.

9)Check for pull on suspension noise during test drive,
Do the re-bound shock test on all four shocks.
10) Inspect for damaged or replaced radiator support or hood. 
Heavy frontal collision can cause frame damage.
Uni-body vehicle may not show frame damage with visual inspection.
Avoid car that has combination of frontal AND roof damage.
Check Kelly Blue Book for private seller value and Carfax before making the offer.

This basic details will help.
For help regarding car problems and solutions,see the list of solved problem,mentioned below:-----

Car jerks while going uphill and Check engine light is ON?

Car turns over, but only starts, if starter is jumped?

Service Engine Soon light stays on?

Gasoline around gas cap?

Car will not run after resetting inertia switch on Mercury Mystique?

VAN emits whitish bluish smoke and bad fuel smell from exhaust

Car cigarette lighter fuse blows out?


Car will not go into 4WD high or 4WD low?

Truck is hard to start and Emits smoke while starting?

Engine cuts out at 3000 RPM?

Car turns over but will not start, only makes clicking sound?

Catalytic Converter glowing hot?

After getting car washed, check engine light is ON and key less entry not working, tried reprogramming. Also car shows fuel pressure?

Fuel gauge jumps from empty to full?

Why airbag light flashes 7 times?

Passenger side Folding Mirror is not operating?

Very low air output on Chevrolet Trailblazer?

After replacing battery, ignition not working?

Where is Fuse box located on 2002 Honda Accord?


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