Just like a remodeling contractor, it isn’t always easy to find a reliable used car. Here are some tips that can save you costly repairs and unwanted headaches.
Check the reliability record:
I once owned a car whose “check engine” light came on so many times, I had to replace the light bulb. To avoid getting stuck with a trouble-prone vehicle like that one, check the reliability records listed on consumer websites like ConsumerReports.org. There you’ll find lists and records of vehicle models by year and a list of common problems to watch out for.
Check the vehicle’s history:
Getting a report from Carfax.com or Autocheck.com may cost a few dollars now, but can save you a great deal of grief and expense down the road. These reports are a wonderful way to detect odometer fraud and to reveal past damage due to a fire, flood or an accident. It will even warn potential buyers if the vehicle has been rebuilt or salvaged.
Read the window sticker:
The Federal Trade Commission requires all car dealers to post a Buyer’s Guide on used cars that are for sale. The guide must list any warranty information offered and the repair responsibilities of the seller.
Inspect both the exterior and the interior:
Look for areas that may show signs of a previous accident: dents, scratches, and obvious repairs. Make sure all locks and doors close properly. Look for paint overspray on chrome or rubber trim. This can be a sign that a body panel has been repaired.
Check the engine:
There are a number of things to watch out for. A set of jumper cables, attached to the battery and stored under the hood, could be a bad sign. Some other simple things to look out for are:
-A relatively grease-free engine, radiator and battery.
-Pliable and unworn hoses.
-Melted wires and tubes.
-Wet spots which indicate a fluid leak.
-Bright red or brown transmission fluid (not dark brown or black).
-Full oil level.
Inspect the tires:
Heavy tread wear on the outside of the tires, near the sidewall, can be a sign that a vehicle has been driven hard. Cupped tires that are worn unevenly can also be a sign of trouble, since it generally indicates problems with steering, suspension or the brakes.
Evaluate the steering and suspension systems:
Check for chunking noises in the steering. Excessive play in the wheel can also be a sign of a worn steering gear. When test driving the vehicle, take note as to whether the car, like a one year old toddler, tends to wander in one direction or the other. This may indicate an alignment problem.
To check for suspension problems, push down hard on each fender and let go. The vehicle should rebound softly once or twice. Also, drive the car or truck over a bumpy road at 30 mph to check for excess juggling or bouncing. If the vehicle bounces along between curb and gutter like Homer Simpson at a bake sale, take a pass.
Until Next Time,
7920 Glenview Drive
Richland Hills, TX 76180
Joke Of The Day:
Driver: “What’s the quickest way to town?”
Gas Clerk: “Are you walking or driving?”
Driver: “I’m driving.”
Gas Clerk: “Well, that’s the quickest way.”
Bumper Sticker Of The Day: