the Dreaded Lemon! Cartoons warn against the nightmares of buying what looks to be a souped up vintage beauty only to find the car has no working clutch. While this doesn’t ALWAYS happen, there are so many run down vehicles out there that buyers need to be careful. Auto mechanics share their secrets for a no-fail approach when looking for
your next car.The first decision is based on budget. How much are you willing to spend on a vehicle, and where will you find the funding? Be sure to consider the trade-in value of your current vehicle. Once your budget is set, stick to it and be honest; $ 6000 isn’t going to get you a brand new SUV. One of the biggest challenges shoppers make is having eyes bigger than their wallets, so to speak.After setting a budget, start doing some online comparisons. Both classified sites (like gumtree) and car dealerships have a wide selection of cars, trucks, vans, etc. for every need and every budget. Car lots are usually more expensive , but also more likely to move on the sticker price. Private sellers are more personally attached to their vehicles and less likely
to budge on the price, unless they are desperate! Also, be aware that if you decide to look at privately owned vehicles, you will not be able to use your vehicle for trade-in and you will need the total amount in cash.Once you know which make of vehicle you have your eye on, look for the average selling price of the vehicle on the web. You can go through the Kelly Blue Book, and then start looking at the prices of vehicles to compare if they are around the average price listed.When you have found a vehicle you are interested in, don’t hesitate to inspect every inch of it! First compare the price to the overall package. Does the vehicle you’re looking at appear to be worth the asking price ? Start by inspecting body damage. Rust is a huge factor in the general “health” of the vehicle. Rust, corrosion, and major body damage are generally not worth the effort or the dollars it takes to repair the issue. Also, if there is any rust under the hood, walk away quickly! Inspect the boot for damage as well – a normally used vehicle shouldn’t have damage in the boot. Next check the odometer; what is the mileage, and how does it relate to the age and condition of the vehicle?
The average mileage driven in a year is about 10-15,000km. If this seems to be out of whack, it may be due to hard, highway driving or odometer tampering – both of which are deal breakers. (you can check for odometer tampering by searching for damage to the outer plastic of the instrument; scratches are a good warning, as are improperly lined up numbers).Take a look under the bonnet and check for rust and corrosion. What colour is the oil – it should be thick and brown. What colour is the coolant? It should not be rust coloured. Are the hoses and pipes cracked? Next, get into the car and check out the interior. Check for damage to the upholstery on the seats and the floor mats. Family vehicles will show more signs of wear, obviously. Also, make sure you make note of any strange odours – sometimes smells are impossible to get rid of! Also, check the windows, sunroof and locks for any stickiness or impaired function. Does the stereo work properly? Are the speakers in good condition? Turn the heater and air-conditioning dials up and down to test them.You should always take a test drive – when you start it, listen for strange sounds. Rattling, cracking, clunking and backfiring are not good noises to hear. When driving, make sure you test the brakes thoroughly and listen for squealing, grinding, etc.
If the owner allows, you should take the prospective car to your auto mechanic and have a checkup done. This will ensure that all of the most important functions of the engine and clutch are in great working order. If you are buying a car from a dealership, they may have their own certified mechanic ready to check things out for you.Ask the owner what work has been done in the past on this car. Also, ask for any receipts they have received from the car repair and service shop. Has there been any major service done – if yes, then what? When was the last tune-up? The last oil change? Has the car been involved in any major accidents? If everything checks out with the car’s history, the seller’s or dealers price, the auto mechanic’s check up and your own gut feeling, it’s time to buy that used vehicle!
Atlas Auto wants everyone to have a quality long-lasting vehicle. They love the car repair business, but would rather
see you have a well-maintained car in your driveway. They offer a mechanics service to those of us who need the routine maintanence as well as help for those bigger car problems. Visit them online today for more information.