Sunday, June 15, 2014

30 Things to Look for when Buying a Used Car

1. Tires - car is on level ground, no tires sagging
         - worn evenly and they should match
         - surface of tire feathering (bad alignment)=worn steering/suspension components, pothole down the street, frame damage
         - spare tire - compare the tread to other tires

2. Paint job - rust spots, dents or scratches, waviness, roughness

3. Trunk -  rust, water entry, cracks or holes

4. Under Hood - dents, damage, rust, decal VIN missing=fender replaced

5. Hoses and belts - cracks, radiator hoses not soft

6. Seats - tears, rips, stains, or other type of damage

7. Air-conditioning - R134 coolant are 1993 or newer, sticker AC Condenser

8. Odometer - mileage, 10,000 to 15,000 miles a year

9. Test drive - drive in ramp = ultimate test of a vehicle (test hard, don't be gentle!!!)
              - ability to accelerate
              - suspension
              - Kia, Jetta (bad reputation?)
              - Accelerate hard
              - Corner sharply
              - Brake quickly
              - Brake hard - pedal feels spongy while braking hard = bleeding
                           - stiff and unyielding = bad brake booster
                           - pedal shakes beneath your foot = need new rotors
              - Car not shaking at high speed (shaking=bad alignment, control arms, bushings, tie rod =costs hudreds of dollars $$$$$$)
              - Automatic transmission - jolts into gear when you accelerate evenly = bad transmission, NOT FIXABLE

10. Service history - past accidents, performances, repairs, problems, odometer discrepancy

11. Brakes - pressing down hard=not slide, no vibration, no strange noises, not swerve

12. Engine - leaks, corrosion,
           - engine block - dark brown oil stains=gasket leak
           - brake fluid
           - brake fluid reservoir - not leaking
           - belts should look new - no cracks, not drying

13. Oil - remove oil filler cap=no foam residue, no head gasket leak, not chocolate Frosty

14. Coolant - clear, if brown coolant=not flushed, leaky head gasket

15. Transmission fluid - pull dipstick, should be pink or red, not dark, not look or smell burnt, be full (check with the engine running)

16. Brake fluid - clear to slightly yellowish, tea-colored, not dark

17. Timing belt - most important belt in the engine, costly to replace
                - steel timing chain, lifespan timing belt 60-100+ thousand miles

18. Body Frame - Never buy a frame damaged car
               - Check saddle (connects the front fenders and holds the top of the radiator)=not welded on either side, it should be bolted in
               - Top of Fender bolts inside the hood - no scratch marks (fenders not replaced or realigned (after a crash))
               - Door jambs - no welds

19. Trepidation - Check for small trepidation (trembling, shaking, vibration) at 45 / 55 / 65 / 75 mph
                - Slight trepidation during small speed interval=wear of mechanical parts $1500 repair (joints/arms, uneven wear front tire(s)

20. Sounds Check - sounds, trepidation, clunking noise when making 90 degrees turn at low speed=wear at the front of car: joints need change

21. Computer - check errors
             - temperature, oil pressure, battery gages not maxed out

22. All Lights, Radio, CD, etc - check when car not moving

23. Exhaust system or under-body rust - under the car=black spots on the exhaust system (leaking)
                                      - inspect frame, unibody damage, chassis damage

24. Bring trusted friend or mechanic

25. Do not pay sticker price - price is negotiable item
                             - offer lower price (if price is $10,000, negotiate at least $1500 off: 15% off)

26. Private Car preferable - how much cost to repair if you buy it (repair cost reduce the asking price)

27. Buying car from reputable service center - if buying from dealer with no service center = have the car checked out by your mechanic!

28. Safety Certifications

29. Emissions tested (failed inspection=can not be registered by vehicle registration agency)

30. WARRANTY & ASSURANCE - "you're saying the car is in good condition... if there are issues and problems, can your repair it free?

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