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How to Spot Problems After Buying a Used Car

By Mike Richards Updated: 04/13/2020 Posted: 11/12/2018

When buying a used car, you may feel obligated to buy a particular car because it fits your budget or because it did not seem to need many repairs. However, a used car does not give you the same guarantees as a new car. You will need to look out for any mechanical problems when driving it. Not every used car has problems. However, for your safety, you need to note the telltale signs that your car has issues after buying a used car.

Use an Expert After Buying a Used Car

One of the best ways of spotting some of the problems the used car you have bought has is by getting a mechanic to test drive it. Mechanics tend to have a keen ear. They will hear any abnormal sounds. Sometimes, it is easy to miss out something when making minor repairs. However, an expert will be able to identify some of the problems that you have missed, if there are any at all.

Climbing Tachometer without an Increase in Speed

If you notice noise coming from the engine of the car, and the tachometer is climbing without you accelerating, it is likely that the transmission is developing problems. It is usually easier to tell if the transmission has issues when dealing with a manual car. It is harder to notice problems in an automatic transmission car. However, if you have a keen eye and ear, you will be able to notice any sounds or movements that are out of place.

A Delayed Response in Gear Shifts

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If your car is not responding immediately to changing gears, you need to have it checked. All vehicles need to respond when the gears are changed. For example, changing the gear from P to D should be considered an order to be followed immediately. If it feels like your car is considering whether to obey your command or not, you need to have it checked.

Black Transmission Fluid

Look out for any leaking fluid. It is vital to do this since the engine could be adversely affected if it runs out of its essential fluids. If you don’t keep an eye on the transmission, your car may develop transmission issues in a very short time. The transmission fluid needs to be pink or red with a sweet smell. However, if you notice black fluid with a burnt smell, you need to get a mechanic to look at the car for a proper diagnosis.

Evenly Worn Tires

Driving a car with worn out tires is risky. One of the checks you need to do after buying a used car  is whether the tires need to be replaced. You can do this by checking the surface of the tires. If they are unevenly worn out, find out if the brands of tires are different. It is possible to find some tires are newer than others. You can also touch the tires to feel if the wear and tear are even or not. If some parts of the tires seem to be more worn, it shows that there is an alignment issue that will need to be addressed.

Further Reading

Place Your Finger in the Exhaust Pipe to See if it is Oily

If you do not want to get your hands dirty, you could ask your mechanic to do this. Make sure the pipe is not hot! If your finger is greasy after you carry out this test, it is an indication that the engine is burning oil. You need your mechanic to find out why.

Turn Everything On

You need to check everything. Are the automatic locks working? Find out if the windows are sliding with ease. Are all the indicators and lights working? Check the air conditioning to see if it is functioning well or if you need to have the gas refilled. Check if the seats are adjusting as they should, especially the driver’s seat. If all these are functioning well, you have no cause for worry. However, if some of them are not responding as expected, you need to have them fixed.

Drive in the Rain

Driving in the rain gives you the opportunity to check the traction of the tires. You need to remember that you may not have the luxury of great weather all the time you are driving. You will likely get stuck in a rainstorm at some point. When this happens, you need to be confident that you will be driving a safe car. You need to be sure the wipers work when you need them to. You also need to make sure the defroster works.

Service Your Car

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The ideal way to identify any problems with the used car you bought is by taking it to be serviced. The mechanic will locate any engine problems when servicing the car. If the issue can be fixed easily, he will be able to do it. Taking your car for service will take a load off your shoulders. You will be confident that the significant problems the vehicle had have been taken care of. If the car has many problems, you can work out a schedule with the mechanic so you can work on the riskiest issues first.

Look Out for Rusty Parts

Corrosion is common in cars, especially those that were once stuck in floods. If you see any rusty parts, especially in the engine, you need to have them replaced. It is important to note that the rusty piece will only get worse. It would be best if you did not take risks unless you have plans to replace the part soon. Get the opinion of the mechanic if you are considering driving with the part as it is for some time.

You need to have your car checked after you have purchased it. This will confirm if you bought the car at a bargain or not. More importantly, you need to be able to drive the car believing in its safety and efficiency. With all this taken care of, you can rest assured that you are aware of the condition of the car that you are driving.