To continue on with used vehicle tips and
what to look for when shopping for another vehicle.
8. One last thing on the outside before we
move inside. Start the vehicle up to see how easy it starts
and don't listen to any BS. About it taking so long to start
"Because it hasn't run for a while." If it is a later model
fuel injected vehicle it should start in just a couple of turns
of the starter motor. Just let the vehicle sit and run, so it
can warm up and while it is doing that step back a few feet
to get a good overall look at the vehicle. (Move it out of it's
parking spot if necessary.) Walk all around it looking for possible
slight differences in the paint finish from one panel to another.
Look at it from the front and back to see if the vehicle sits
level or if it leans one way or the other. Now bend over and
"SMELL" the exhaust. If you get a real sulfur or rotten egg
smell, that could suggest a Fuel System problem.
OPINION: Mis-matched colors from panel to panel can mean it
has had body repairs done. A vehicle that does not sit level
may have a suspension problem.
9. "OPP'S I just about forgot. While the vehicle
is running, try and listen for any exhaust leaks too.
10. Now it's time to start looking inside
but before you get in, feel the carpets in the front, rear and
From both sides. If the vehicle has Mats, feel under the mats.
If the carpeting feels damp, it can be a sign that the interior
was shampooed and not dried properly. This can lead to, at the
least a musty smell in the vehicle and at worst, premature rusting
of the floor area.
Opinion: Many Clean-up shops use way too much water when trying
to clean a real dirty carpet. (Because water is cheaper than
cleaning chemicals.) However, if the underlay gets too wet the
only way to dry it is to take the WHOLE THING out of the vehicle
and let it air dry. (Usually takes a couple of days.)
11. Here is where you are going to need some
help. Ask someone to stand behind the vehicle so that you Can
check the lights on the rear. Do the brake lights FIRST and
pay attention to how far the brake pedal travels on the first
push. Now pump the pedal TWICE to see if it uses less travel
after the pedal was pumped. If so, this could be a sign of brake
problems. Now ask the person that is watching the lights if
both brake lights seem to be the same brightness. Keep you foot
on the brake and check the signals both ways and they also should
be the same brightness on each side. Put the vehicle into reverse
to check the back-up lights and if everything is OK, put the
vehicle into park or neutral and take your foot off of the brake.
Turn on the headlights and check for all lights being on, including
the License plate lights. But, now step on the brake AGAIN and
turn each signal light on again and have your friend tell you
if everything appears as it had before. Now have your friend
walk to the front to check the front lights and don't forget
to try the high beam lights.
Opinion: I won't try to explain why I was suggesting this method
of checking rear lights except to say that it can show problems
in the turn signal, ground problems and lights not connected
12. Now try EVER control switch in the vehicle,
wiper/washers, heater blower and controls, A/C if Equipped etc
and make notes of anything that doesn't work properly. The vehicle
will now also be warm enough to be able to read the gauges to
see if they APPEAR to work. If the vehicle has manual windows,
have your friend help by rolling each window down and back up
again, but if they are electric, check them from the drivers
switch PLUS the switch on each door.
If the vehicle has passed inspection this
far, it is time to go for a test drive and I will get into that
"TOOT" Rick "The Wrench" - September 5th,1999
Copyright of Rick The Wrench, 1999