Used car mechanic check up

Book your inspection in a few simple steps

You can also smell for odors as water damage will smell like mildew. Be on the lookout for other water damage inside as this could be due to holes or other leakage in the trunk. Step 7: Check for frame damage.

Buying a Used Car - Part 2: Mechanical Inspection

Finally, when checking out the exterior of the car, you want to be aware of any frame damage. Frame damage is a sign that the car was in an accident. Avoid purchasing cars that show signs of frame damage. Carefully look over where the body parts and panels meet on the car.

The space between the hood and the fender should be small and close. All of the body panels should be aligned and uniformed and match up like a puzzle. If they do not, that could mean a repair or replacement. Be aware of welds.

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Sloppy welds that do not fit together could indicate frame damage. They should also be uniform. Compare the age of the car to the parts on it. If the car looks one age, but a part looks significantly newer, there is a good chance it was repaired or replaced.

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  • It is important to check the condition of the tires. This will allow you to understand not only how much life is left, but it also tells you if the car has suspension or alignment problems. You will find it on the side wall of the tire and it will tell you the week and year that the tire was made. You can compare this date to the wear of tread to determine the condition of the tires. If the tread and the wear indicator are even or close to, the tires need to be replaced.

    Evenness : This will reveal if the car has suspension or alignment problems.

    Pre-Purchase Inspection, Used Car Check | ClickMechanic

    You want to make sure that the tire tread is running evenly by looking over the tire evenness. One way to do this is to run your hand to physically back and forth over the tire, making sure it feels even.

    Step 1: Make sure that the hood opens and shuts properly. It is also important to verify that the hood prop, whether a hood strut or hood stand, can hold open the hood securely.

    Inspect That Used Car Before Buying

    Step 2: Visually inspect engine. Visually look over the engine, check for overall cleanliness as this can reveal maintenance. You will want to check and pull the oil and transmission dipsticks. Engine oil should be clear in color. Dirty oil is dark brown or black. The transmission oil should be pink or orange in color.


    If it smells burnt or is black in color, this could be a sign of lack of maintenance and possible transmission damage. Next check the brake fluid level and color. It should be clear. If it is black or brown then it is dirty and could lead to the feel of a spongy pedal.

    Part 1 of 5: Inspect the exterior

    Now we can check the coolant in the expansion tank. If it looks rusty, this is indicative that there is more water than coolant in the tank. Coolant leaks can be various colors depending on vehicle manufacturer. If the engine is cold you can open the radiator cap and check the fluid there. However is very important that it is only opened when the car has been still and the engine is cold to avoid possible injury from radiator pressure.

    If you do see liquid or stains anywhere in the engine area, it is highly recommended to have a mechanic look over the spots and verify why there are there. Be sure to check the alternator, power steering, and AC accessory belts for cracks. If the brand name on the belt is worn off, it is a good indication of an old belt.

    This shows lack of maintenance and possible future costs after you purchase the car. Verify with the current owner the last time the timing belt was changed. You are unable to view the timing belt without taking apart the engine, so it is best to get as much information about the state of the belt as possible.

    A timing belt can be costly to replace. Step 5: Start vehicle. Start the vehicle, leave it in park with the parking brake on and return to the engine. As you listen, if it sounds as if it is running rough, or if the engine itself is jerking around, it could be indication of worn out engine mounts or a misfire. Any abnormal noises like metal on metal, pinging, or clanking should be addressed as these could be signs of an exhaust leak or other problem. Turn off the car and turn the key to the on position.

    Verify all dashboard lights are working, especially your check engine light. If a light does not come on, it is likely a bulb is burnt.

    Used Car Inspection

    Start car and make sure all lights now go away. If a light stays on this is indicative of a problem and needs a mechanic to look it over. Now it is time to test drive the car. You will want to drive the car not only on city streets, but also on a freeway to get a good feeling of how the car handles at lower and higher speeds. Step 1: Check the steering and suspension. Things to look out for on the test drive:.

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    Check for blind spots. Sometimes you think a car is for you until you sit in it and realize there are too many blind spots for you to feel comfortable. Before driving off, use the steering wheel to face wheels forward. Turn the steering wheel to the right and count how many turns it takes to stop, then do same to left. The amount of wheel turns should match the opposite side, for example, if there were 3 turns on the right, there should be three turns on the left, not three then two. If they do not match, this could indicate steering problems. While driving, check for quality vehicle steering and the comfort of suspension.

    The steering should be tight. Make a series of left and right turns, drive over speed bumps, make U-turns and see how car handles. Be sure to listen for noises and feel that the ride is smooth. Noise and rough rides could be indicative of suspension problems. Test the brakes on the test drive. Brakes that are pulsating while driving mean warped rotors. Like your hands, the tires can feel everything through vibration so you will want to listen for abnormal tire noise. Loud noise can indicate old tires or bad wheel bearings.

    If you feel the car and the tires pulling left or right, this could be bad alignment. Gear selector. Make sure the shifter moves into all gears smoothly. Step on the gas pedal and make sure the car accelerates smoothly and with appropriate power. Shaking or shimming can be a sign of engine or suspension trouble.

    Windows: Listen for wind noise when windows are up this can be due to a bad window seal. After your test drive, give the car another look over. Once you have gone through these steps, you will be better informed on what price to offer for a used car, along with avoiding those that will get you into more trouble. It always recommend to have a certified mechanic perform a pre-purchase inspection , but whatever you decide to do, we hope you feel confident that you are now making the most informed decision. The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Pre-purchase Car Inspection.

    Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2, U. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair. Schedule Pre-purchase Car Inspection. Service Area. Average rating from 4, customers who received a Pre-purchase Car Inspection. These five categories are: Exterior Tires Interior Engine and transmission Steering and suspension As a general rule, research the price of the car you're interested in so you know how much it should cost.

    Part 1 of 5: Inspect the exterior Step 1: Inspect the underbody. Rust is caused by salt and can be due to the car being close to salt water air but it is also common in certain cold weather metropolitan areas Chicago, for example.

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