I was recently asked by a fellow nurse to help her with a used car purchase because her car's transmission died and she couldn't afford to fix it. She knows I drive an old banger, but is always boasting about how reliable it is.
This is for any nurses or medical professionals who are in the same boat in these trying times, These are the things I look at when buying a used vehicle. Please feel free to add pointers if you want!
* Forget about looks or age!
* Buy Japanese or Korean!
* You immediately start the vehicle when you get there and it has to be done with a cold engine and allow it to idle and look for any exhaust smoke. There should be nothing but vapor, if any smoke, which should be white and quickly dissappear. A small amount of Water may sometimes come out but not to worry, should go away in a minute or so. Run a finger in the exhaust pipe to look for residue like oil etc. There should be NOTHING!
* Let the vehicle idle the entire time you are checking it out. There should be no idle changes at all. No going up or down, surging, when the vehicle has warmed up. The RPMs should go up to around 12-1500 when you first start the vehicle, but should go down to around 600-800 in a couple of minutes.
* Look at the tyres. They should all be of the same make and model with good tread depth.
* The interior should be clean with appropriate age wear.
* Open the hood and look under the oil cap. It should be clean and the oil as well. Smell the oil and dipstick. Shouldn't smell burnt. Look at the transmission and brake fluid levels. Look under the radiator cap, it should also be clean. Look for oil leaks on the engine and under the vehicle.
* After five minutes of idling, look at the temp Guage. It has to be in the middle or lower.
*Check the headlights, wipers, washer, brake lights, reverse light, high beam, defogger, electric windows, side mirrors, indicators, horn etc. Check the A/C out now. Should be cold and no belt squealing. Turn the steering wheel hard to both sides. Should be no squealing or noises.
*Now you test drive the car after it's warmed up and everything has checked out above. A parking lot would be great.
* Drive it to 30 mph and press the brake pedal hard and let the steering wheel go. No pulling to sides and the brake pedal must remain firm and not go to the floor etc.
* You have to drive it above 60 mph. Make sure that the transmission shifts smoothly. No steering wheel shimmy or pulling to one side etc. Engage the cruise control now. Check how the suspension responds during driving.
If this all checks out and if you have a mechanic, let them check it out also.
Hopefully this is helpful if anyone needs to get a used vehicle. Remember this is just advice and not a guarantee!