Before spending your hard-earned money on a used car, be sure to first get a pre-purchase inspection. Even if the vehicle seems to be in good condition, you shouldn’t take any chances. To avoid becoming the owner of a lemon, always allow an experienced mechanic to check out the vehicle beforehand. Here are the most important components that need to be examined for potential problems.
During a pre-purchase inspection, your mechanic will be examining the condition of the vehicle’s engine. It should idle smoothly without any rough vibrations. Exhaust smoke is a definite red flag. While white smoke often indicates a bad head gasket, bluish smoke points to a worn engine seal.
After test driving the vehicle, your mechanic will have a good idea of the engine’s overall condition. There should be no performance issues. If the vehicle displays sluggish acceleration or hesitates, you’ll probably be advised against buying it.
When shopping for a used ride, many people forget to examine the vehicle’s frame. This can lead to a lot of unexpected trouble in the long run. If your mechanic discovers frame damage during the pre-purchase inspection, the vehicle may have been involved in a serious collision.
You never, ever want to buy a used vehicle that was in a major accident. A bent frame could make it virtually impossible for the vehicle to maintain proper wheel alignment. Not only does this problem impact your safety, but it will also lead to premature tire wear. Rust is also a big concern, especially for vehicles that have spent a lot of time in snow-prone regions. Over time, road salt can gradually eat away at the surrounding metal.
A bad transmission can cause you a great deal of stress. Aside from leaving you stranded on the side of the road, it can also be expensive to replace. Although the transmission may seem flawless during your initial test drive, there could be some hidden problems that you don’t know about. This is another reason why a pre-purchase inspection is so critical.
While the average driver will notice obvious issues like delayed shifting and grinding gears, an experienced mechanic will be looking for other problems. Checking the transmission fluid is of the utmost importance. Fluid that has a burnt appearance indicates overheating, which can ultimately destroy a transmission. A low level of transmission fluid is just as concerning.
Don’t overlook the importance of a vehicle’s exhaust. When there’s a leak in the system, you and your passengers are exposed to toxic fumes. Carbon monoxide poisoning becomes a real possibility. You definitely don’t want to put your loved ones at risk of getting sick.
One of the biggest parts of an exhaust system is the catalytic converter. Prior to completing his pre-purchase inspection, your mechanic will make sure this component is functioning properly. Before you can even pass the NC state emissions test in Raleigh, a bad catalytic converter will need to be replaced. It'll eventually trigger a check engine light.
For good reason, the brakes are often among the first parts checked during a pre-purchase inspection. When encountering an unexpected road hazard, you need maximum stopping power. Before a mechanic gives you the okay to buy a pre-owned vehicle, he will make sure it’s safety is up to par.
It’s relatively easy to determine whether or not a vehicle stops effectively. However, automotive professionals dive deeper into the overall condition of the brakes. They check for overlooked issues like caliper rust and worn rotors.