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Buying A Used Car Advice

By Mel Green

Buying a used car can be a daunting task for the non-mechanically minded. Use the checks suggested in this article to weed out the bad cars and find those that are probably OK to buy. When you have done that, get the car you finally settle on buying checked by a mechanic.

First look in the radiator, if the water in there is a muddy brown be cautious, this indicates rust or that an additive has been used to seal a leak. Check the oil level with the engine switched off. If it is low this can indicate an engine problem or that the vehicle has been poorly maintained. Smell the oil cap if it smells of burning this is another sign of poor maintenance.

For an automatic car look at the transmission fluid, if it is pinkish or red that is OK. If it is a brownish red colour, this is a sign of poor maintenance. Flecks of metal in the transmission fluid are an indication of a serious problem.

Look around the engine for signs of oil leaks. Allow the car to warm up before test driving it. Check the temperature gauge during the test drive and at the end of the test drive. Whilst you wait for the engine to warm up check the exhaust, listen for any rattles or other unusual noises. Exhaust smoke should be clear once the car has warmed up, if it is not this can indicate problems with the engine.

Check any belts that are visible in the engine compartment for signs of wear or slackness. If they are cracked or too slack this indicates poor maintenance.

Check the steering during the test drive, make sure it responds properly and does not make any unusual noises. When safe to do so, and whilst travelling in a straight line remove your hands from the steering wheel. If the car drifts this can indicate suspension or alignment problems. Test the brakes too, if you hear unusual noises when braking this indicates problems, usually brakes do not cost much to repair.

Finally, check that the lights and things like electric windows are all working correctly. Electrical problems are notoriously hard and expensive to fix, especially central locking or air-conditioning problems.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Green, Mel "Buying A Used Car Advice." Buying A Used Car Advice. 4 Jul. 2010. 7 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Green, M (2010, July 4). Buying A Used Car Advice. Retrieved August 7, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Green, Mel "Buying A Used Car Advice"

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