Sunday, October 15, 2006

Checking Your Car

By Kum Martin

Here’s the low down on checking out the used car that you have finally set your eyes on. Take a look at the following points before you decide to take it out on a test drive.

Lean down and look down the side of the car – check for dents and dimples.
Check the bumper cars for scratches and look at the wheel hubs for dents and scratches.

Is the car too shiny? This may mean that the car dealer or seller or trying to hide something. This also implies to the engine bay, an engine bay should be slightly dusty and have grime on it. If the engine is sparkling clean you can be sure that the car has oil or coolant leaks.

Take your hand and run it under every door panel, under the wheel-arches and check the bumper edges. These are the likely areas where rust will first appear.

Check the tires on the car. Check not only the thread, also check to see if the tires are original or retreads. Uneven wear is a telltale sign of suspension problems.

Does the interior smell? Smoke smell will have smoke stains on the fabrics and the smell will be embedded in the ventilation filters. A musty smell may indicate water leakage.

How does the seat upholstery, pedals and console wear look? Does it look appropriate to the car’s mileage?

Press every button on the console and make sure the function works. Listen for any rattles in the console and ventilation fans. Turn off the engine then switch it to AC to check the engine and onboard computer warning lamps are working properly.

Turn on the hazard lamps, headlamps and press the brake pedal. Ask your friend to inspect the exterior lighting to ensure that all are working properly – especially the brake lamps.

Now take the car on a test drive. Listen intently, look at the warning lamps, feel the steering and handling, sniff for any smells – open the window and listen for engines ticks, rattles or fluid smells that may come for the warming engine bay.

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