Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grade That Used Car

You found the used car you have been shopping for and now you about to take it for that test drive. There are some very good reason’s you should be taking that test drive and not just to check out the sound system.  When you test drive that used car you will be have a better chance deciding whether it is going to be a reliable car for you or simply a car that you should not be buying in the first place.

When you go to test drive that used car you need to evaluate it in an objective manner and keep notes as to the positive’s or the negative’s that you find so that you can make sound judgement on the actual performance and needs for that particular car. More likely then not you’re going to be shopping around for awhile and this list will help you to refer back to any car you are encountering when shopping around.

Even if you have no idea what used car you want to purchase you do need to make sure that the car is thoroughly inspected. Make sure that there is an adequate amount of oil, coolant and transmission fluids along with the proper tire pressure are important basics.

Check under the hood and see if you can smell any over whelming odors, if you do then more then likely there is some trouble lurking in that engine. Check for any sign that the used car was not maintained properly. Check the oil filler cap; look for dark, sludge deposits on the interior. If you find any that means the oil was not frequently changed. Also, look at the hoses and fan belts for any cracking and then lie on the ground and actually look under the car for things like leaking chock absorbers and a dented skid plate and that’s important especially for SUV’s. Also look at the ground itself and check for any signs of fluid losses.

When you go to actually start the used car accelerate and decelerate all the while looking in that rearview mirror for any signs of smoking coming from the tail pipe area. Check the tires by running your hand on each of the tires treads. If you find any uneven wear to them it more then likely means worn suspension parts are involved. Also, check the depth of the tire treads make sure there is at least 10/32nds inch of tread on that car’s tires and if you are looking at a truck or SUV make sure it is at least 11/32nds. Check the tire pressure for proper or improper inflation because it will affect your test driving performance decision.

If you are able to look through to the wheels take a peak at the brake rotors for any cracking, grooving or discoloration. Some cars you can even see the brake pads as to what the thickness is.

When you are test driving that used car of course you’re going to make a noise about how the car actually feels when you are on the road. Make sure you note any noises that might be coming from the car as well as if the seat is comfortable which might be an important factor if you do a lot of driving. Remember these notes are going to come in handy when you are evaluating the choices on that used car.

Another very good tip is to drive it for at least ten miles or more to make sure you have ample time to assess the entire car. Also if you are going through a private owner it’s always nice to them a little money to make sure that you get enough time behind that wheel. Make sure that you not only get those surface streets but also that you are able to get that car onto the freeway. Ask the owner or sales person if it is ok to take the car up and down a couple of freeway ramps so you can get a better feel for the car and especially in a sports car.

That used car may indeed have an awesome sound system but now is not the time to be evaluating that. You need to turn your attention to things such as the air conditioner or the heater and don’t do this part of the test with the windows down. When flipping the switch back and forth from heater to the air conditioning listen for any noises that are not the usual. Also if the car is making any distressing type noises when you are changing speeds or switching pavements. To check for any steering issues like a velocity joint failure, turn the wheel slowly and fully one way and then the other. A failing velocity joint will make a clicking or whining noise.

If you think you’ve found a good used car and still can not make up your mind try getting a second opinion by having the car checked out by a licensed mechanic for yet another thorough inspection and test drive, you might have to spend a little bit of money but it will be money that is worth spending.

Let Manly Automotive Group help you in your new and previously owned vehicle choices today stop by our website today and drive away knowing that you made the right choice with us! Manly Auto Group http://www.manlyauto.com can also can be found on Twitter  https://twitter.com/ManlyAuto and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Santa-Rosa-CA/Manly-Auto-Group/103413126362572?v=wall&__a=3&amp ;  stop on over and visit us! 


  1. I usually bring someone along that has car knowledge but these tips help

  2. A good article with some good suggestions thanks

  3. When in doubt always get a mechanic to take a look at the car

  4. I'm a car mechanic and I'm always asked to go along with friends...maybe I should start charging!

  5. The first car I bought I wished later I had either looked up some tips or brought along someone who knew cars. So I'm glad this can help!

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