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A great trick when looking at used cars is to look very hard at the paint job. A key way to tell if a car has been re-built is to open thegas tank and look around the tank for putty or scratches. If there is putty or an abnormal amount of scratches, this can mean that the car was in an accident with the gas tank affected. One thing to stand clear of is a builder or a vehicle that has been in an accident and has been re-built. Generally, you tend to have more reoccurring problems with vehicles that are re-built.
It is always a good idea to take it to another dealership for aninspection (by private mechanic). This will generally cost anywhere from $20.00 to $50.00, but can spare you a dud vehicle. The mechanic will do a run through of all the major parts and see how well the car was taken care of. They will advise if the car is in good condition, or if they foresee any problems. Any mechanic will generally be fair and tell you honestly if the car is worth the asking price. Taking the vehicle to a mechanic for a second opinion on the quality of the car is a great idea and will be worth it in the long run.
Be sure when you arrive at the residence of the seller that you take good notice of theappearance of the dwelling. Someone who takes meticulous care of a house and yard is more likely to take meticulous care of a car, changing the oil when necessary and maintaining the vehicle on time.
Ask the owner to see themaintenance records of the vehicle. If he/she cannot or will not produce this paperwork, then fuggedaboudit. This is a warning sign that the vehicle may have trouble that the owner is trying to hide from you.
Negotiatecarefully. Every private seller should expect to get less than they ask. Do not accept the first offer unless it is too good to be true (and in that case you want to be very careful). In the same respect, do not insult the seller either. Offer a fair price below what they are asking and work from there. If your inspection of the vehicle has revealed some minor problems, use them as bargaining chips to lower the price even further.
Another name for an unlicensed dealer is acurbstoner (they sell cars from the street-curb instead of from a car lot). Curbstoners are people who make money from buying a used car and reselling it. Here are some tips for identifying a curbstoner:
Buying from a curbstoner increases your risk of not being able to get the vehicle title transferred, or of getting a car which has been previously wrecked or which has a "rolled back" odometer.
QUESTIONS TOASK THE PERSON SELLING THE CAR:
TIPS FOR CHECKING OUT THE CAR:
Under the hood. Check all hoses. Examine the battery for leaks. Check the oil dipstick (if the oil is dark and dirty, the car may not have been properly maintained). If the car has an automatic transmission, check the transmission fluid to see if it is dark colored or has a burned odor (it should be a reddish color). Is the engine oil pressure too low at idle? Does it look very dirty under the oil cap? Does it smells with burnt oil under the hood? Any warning lights come on while the engine is running? "Check engine" light?
Mismatched colors? Painting over spray? Any other evidence of a body repair? Has the car beenrepainted? Why? Accident? Corrosion
Any previoustransmission repair? Was it rebuilt?
For manual: Is the clutch slipping?
The most reliable type of automatic transmission is rear-wheel drive.
! If the automatic transmission is already rebuilt, avoid buying such a car - rebuilt transmission usually doesn't last much longer than rebuilder's warranty.
Remove the automatic transmission dipstick and wipe it out with the tissue. Then pull it back and then take it out again. Wipe it with the clean white tissue or a paper and look at the paper (tissue) more closely. The fluid on the paper should be clean and transparent, without any metal filings or black flakes. The color of the fluid may vary from pinkish - red to brown but it shouldn't be black. It should not have a burnt smell.
!If there is any strong jerk or noise while shifting, avoid buying such a car.
Driving at a speed of 40-50 km/h or 25-30 mph, if you press down the
accelerator pedal for a few seconds, you should feel downshifting to the lower
gear, if the automatic transmission works properly.
The next step: check overdrive.
While driving at 60-70 km/h or 35-45 mph on a level road, without using the accelerator, switch overdrive ON. You should feel an upshifting to the next speed. Switch it to "OFF," and you should feel a downshifting.
Another thing that may indicate the transmission problem is the slipping. When the transmission is excessively worn it may slip - which means you press the accelerator, the engine rpm increases but the speed remains the same.
If you feel during the drive test any problem such as transmission seems to
slipping or shifts with a jerk or shudder or a speed seems to be missing, or if
the transmission got stuck in some gear, or has trouble shifting into a
particular gear (for example, from second to third), no matter the engine is
cold or hot, etc. avoid buying such a car.
Test drive the car as long as possible. Often the transmission may work well when it's cold but when it's warmed up it starts giving troubles. So, it's better to spend more time checking the transmission than later fixing it endlessly. Normally there should be no shudder, no noises or any kind of strong jerks at any speed and at any engine temperatures while any shiftings. If the salesperson tells you that the jerks or shudder or any other abnormal transmission behavior is "normal" for this car or it's just because the car is cold or anything alike, never trust them. Believe only to your eyes. You're the one who's going to drive this car. The warranty they give you doesn't mean that the transmission won't brake. It only means that may be dealer will take care of the car if it will break. Plus, a rebuilt transmission in many cases doesn't last too long.
Now, (with caution - safety first!), shift the transmission lever into
neutral. Apply the parking brake. With the engine idling, press the clutch pedal
all the way, hold it down, and listen for noises. Then release the pedal and
listen for noises again. There should be no loud noises at both positions.
The next step is the driving test.
Try to drive the vehicle at all speeds one by one. Every speed should shift smooth and easily without any noises or jerks. While driving at the second or third gear, press down suddenly on the accelerator pedal for a moment. The transmission should not slip.
If you feel any slipping (e.g. the engine rpm increases but the speed remains
the same), the clutch most likely has to be replaced.
Try to drive with acceleration and deceleration - there should be no whinning or humming noise under any condition. All the gears should shift easily and noiselessly
What to ask the dudes:
And finally, do you think there is any chance of negotiation on the price?
I found this information on the internet when I was looking for a travel van for my Mexico trip, which was the pilot test trip for my big world tour which I launched in my Europe travels.