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Before Your Used Car Purchase, Have a Mechanic Inspect the Vehicle to Avoid Major Repairs

When you’re searching for a used car, it makes sense for you to do a basic check before taking it to a mechanic for a full inspection. You don’t want to take every single car to a mechanic until you’ve checked it out for yourself first because that could be incredibly expensive.

There are benefits of a mechanic checking out the vehicle before you purchase it. He’ll be able to find problems with the engine or transmission that might make you rethink the car purchase. While some problems could be a quick fix, you don’t want to be saddled with costly repairs on the car. An inspection will also tell you whether the previous owner stuck with a routine maintenance schedule, which can prolong the life of any vehicle.

Whether you are buying from a private seller or a used car dealership, you should do your homework on the vehicle. You can start with the make and model of the vehicle and see if it has a good record for reliability. Some makes and models have inherent issues too. You’ll want to know what you can expect with that particular manufacturer.

Things You Can Inspect

Before bringing the car to a mechanic, you should narrow down your choices to the best ones prior to spending the money. You might end up looking at a half dozen cars, which is a lot of inspections.

Smells and Leaks

When you start the engine, you’ll be able to smell if there are problems like burning smells coming from the car. You’ll be able to see whether the exhaust is blue or black, which indicates a serious issue. Before moving the vehicle, check under the engine for oil leaks too.

Repair Work

While a repair might not be a reason to dismiss a vehicle from the running, if you’re able to see the repair work that means it wasn’t done properly. Well-done repair work will be completely invisible to the naked eye. Check to see if the doors close properly. Misaligned doors can indicate a frame problem from a serious accident.

Mechanic Check List

The used car will be placed on a lift where the mechanic can thoroughly inspect the vehicle for issues. There are things that the mechanic can check that you wouldn’t be able to see during a test drive.

Hoses and Belts

The mechanic can check all the hoses and belts to be sure that none of them are frayed or cracked and hard. While it’s not a serious issue to replace a hose, some hoses and belts can break, which causes more serious issues and costly repairs.

Fluids, Transmission and Radiator

One of the most important things to check is the engine oil. It should be dark brown or black but not contain any grit. If the oil is light colored, it’s been recently changed, which could be an indication there’s a problem the owner doesn’t want you to know about. The transmission fluid will be checked as well as the coolant in the radiator. You may be wondering how often should I change my transmission fluid? Your vehicle owners manual will give you a guide based on normal driving, mileage and conditions. If you want extra peace of mind, a mechanic can take a deeper look to see whether there are issues based on the colors of these fluids.

Along with a visual inspection, the mechanic can check the vehicle with his diagnostic equipment. Once it’s been checked, you can request a printed report of any issues the mechanic finds during the inspection as well as his recommendations and pricing estimates on the cost of the repairs. From there, you can make a decision on whether you’d like to move forward with the purchase. Cars with minor flaws might be worth considering, and you can use the report to negotiate on the price of the vehicle. If the costs of the repairs seem too high, you can pass on the vehicle and search for another.

You want the reassurance that comes with a mechanic’s inspection before purchasing your next used vehicle though. Without an inspection, you’re trusting that the seller is being honest and truthful as well as believing that there won’t be trouble down the road with costly repairs. If you don’t have your own mechanic, before your car search, you should find a mechanic you trust to provide inspections and reports that will help you make a smart purchase.

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