Used Vehicle Inspection

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The average car purchase is a big investment, possibly one of the largest single purchases we as consumers make is a car, For most of us that means borrowing money, and committing to keep it insured, fueled up maintained and as needed repaired. So it's a good idea to shop around for the best interest rates before you purchase. And very important to shop around for the right automobile.

Car purchase comes with some built-in expenses that should also be included in your total cost calculations. In addition to sales tax, registration and insurance costs, put aside some funds for a mechanical inspection. budget for on going maintenance like fluid changes, tires, wipers, brakes, just to name a few. The average car needs a maintenance budget of about $800 to $1500 a year.

A hasty purchase can be a future headache when buying a used car. To avoid the lemons you have to do some research. There's lots of good auto consumer information available on the Internet and publications like Consumer Reports are excellent.

Armed with all this information you should be able to draw up a short list of cars in your price range that you expect will meet your needs. Now you're ready to go "kick tires" and shop around for the right one. If you're buying a car, it's wise to do a lien and accident search.

Keep in mind that almost every used car will have some flaws. What you want to avoid is a big costly surprises, a vehicle with major mechanical or body problems can cost you more than the purchase price. Ask the seller about the car's accident record, history of ownership and regular maintenance service records. Most cars should have a oil change service record every 5000 km.


What to look for:

Does the odometer reading correspond with the general condition? Excessive wear on the pedal rubbers, upholstery and carpeting could indicate a great deal of driving.

Inspect the car body by scanning along the side of it for dents, ripples or signs of repainting which might indicate recent bodywork.

Check the body for rusting. Bottom of all doors, wheel openings and lower body panels are prime locations. Paint blisters or cracking can be signs of rusting under paint or worse - rust perforation from the other side of the panel.

Check the tire treads for excessive wear. Four new tires would be an expensive start. Is there a spare wheel, jack and wheel wrench? Are they in good condition?

Do the doors, trunk and hood fit and close snugly? Try the door lock mechanism and window regulator to see if they work. Do the windows close completely.

Check for damp carpets or a musty, damp smell inside the car, which could indicate a leak of some sort.


Road testing:

If the car looks promising, take it for a road test. A quiet, residential area or an open space is the best testing environment.

Turn the key on without starting the car, check engine lamp ,oil pressure lamp, abs lamp and air bag lamps, and others should all come on to do a self test, all these lamps should cycle off after car is started

Does the car start immediately and idle smoothly once warm?

Are the engine gauges and warning lights operating? Check again while driving.

Try all the accessories, buttons and switches. Be fussy the high beam lamp should come on when the lights are switched to hi beam, the horn should work,the wiper washers front and rear

Try the park brake and see if the brake warning light comes on. The parking brake should hold the car on a hill facing forward and backward.

On both smooth and rough surfaces, start and stop the car, drive forward and backward, make several turns in both directions. Listen for unusual noises.

Make several sharp turns at low speed. The steering shouldn't stiffen up and bind. If there is power steering, no squeaks, moans clunks or sudden increase of steering effort should occur.

Either descend a long hill with your foot off the accelerator, or in a flat area, decelerate from 80km/h to about 25km/h without using the brake. Then step hard on the accelerator. If there is heavy blue exhaust smoke, the engine may need an overhaul.

Try several emergency style stops to check the brakes. They should feel firm, not spongy and should not grab, shake or swerve the car.

Try the transmission in all gears. Automatic transmissions that allow excessive engine speed to rev up between gears may need major repairs.

List any concerns, bring them up with the seller and the mechanic who will check your car out..

If you make an agreed upon offer, make this offer subject to:

Financing if needed

Lien check

Accident report

A mechanics pre-purchase inspection


I always advise to create the understanding that if there are issues with the car that those issues will either cancel the purchase or lower the purchase price

I firmly believe and safety issues should be estimated and the cost of these repairs should come directly off the value of the vehicle

Undone maintenance can also add up to a lot of money, catching up on these items also changes the value of the vehicle

Up coming maintenance like timing belts can also be expensive, and range from $500 to $2000, these items also change the value of a vehicle. If the owner claims it has been done ask for the invoice copy of the repair. Check the date and mileage, Timing belt failure often causes catastrophic engine failure and multi thousand dollar damage to your engine, taking someones word that it has been done could cost you thousands later...

Rust also changes the life span value and resale of a car or truck, rust also complicates future maintenance and repairs.

Accident damage can really make a used car have problems ranging from noises and moisture leaks or other problems up to vehicles being unsafe to drive.

Please note we do not recommend buying a rebuilt vehicle, we won't want to do a pre-purchase inspection or out of province safety inspection on rebuilt from salvage vehicle, and although some taxi fleets and car rentals and car co-ops use these cars to keep costs down, I myself would rather not drive or be a passenger in a rebuilt vehicle. Again please check the video...




Last but not least, before you buy any car, have it checked by a reputable auto mechanic. Like me..Alex 604-875-9988