Here’s a short but concise checklist on the things that people usually forget to check when looking to buy a used car. Funnily enough, every one of these forgotten places is under the car. Out of sight, out of mind seems to be the catch cry, but in many cases these areas are the most expensive to get fixed.
The general consensus is 17-18psi. Some people have taken it higher, but I don’t recommend it if you don’t have the money for a turbo replacement/upgrade.
Finally, check the inside of the exhaust pipe. Use your finger to rub around the inside of it. There should always be a tiny bit of something in there but if you rub around in it and your finger comes out black, unless it is a diesel, that’s not a good sign. It usually means it hasn’t been running right and is burning way too much petrol. If it is a diesel, then lots of black stuff is normal.
The brake pads on light vehicles should only need to be replaced every 50,000 miles or more. Heavy SUVs, on the other hand, might need to have them replaced at 35,000 miles. The pads usually cost less than $80 and can be installed at home. However, if the rotors need to be machined, you’ll need the tools and expertise of a mechanic. Expect to pay up to $500 (and maybe more).
But analyze the liquid – if it’s clear and has no smell, it’s probably water and usually means that there’s nothing wrong. But blue, green, yellow, or black liquids probably mean there is some sort of leak – coolant, oil, or transmission fluid. This could mean a major issue, and may want to consider towing the vehicle to your nearest service center instead of driving it. You may have a problem with the engine, like a blown gasket, for example.
If you smell something that resembles rotten eggs, that usually signifies a problem with the catalytic converter recyclers. In this case, you may be safe to drive the mechanic to fix it and the repair bill won’t be too costly, but you’ll want to get it fixed. It will continue to smell awful and you won’t be able to get it certified. It also won’t pass an emissions test.
Routine tire rotations are important in order to prevent excess tread wear from developing on your front wheels. The majority of vehicles today are front-wheel drive. That means most of the pressure during operation is placed on the front wheels, causing the treads to suffer wear more quickly than those in the rear.
Wheelbase – The measurement between the car’s front and rear wheels – ie. long-wheel base versus short-wheel base. A longer base equates to a large car/more space. A short wheel base can sometimes make a car more nimble, but can deliver a less flat ride – for example, some short-wheel base 4x4s feel like they tip or sway around corners. This is because of combination of their height and the short wheel base.