Buying a new vehicle?
Make sure you: Research + Test Drive + Inspection By An ASE Certified Shop + Know The Warranty
Know your new maintenance costs:
Simple fluid servicing at regular intervals are integral to the longevity of your vehicle (manufacturer recommendations are not always in your best interest). Engine oil (no more than 5,000 miles); transmission fluid (every 30,000 if towing or 50,000 miles); All other fluids should be every five years or 100,000 miles; ignition components every 60,000-90,000 miles. Not all vehicles are created equal or used for the same purposes. Always consult a professional.
Test Driving With Red Flag Phrases To Know:
- Delayed shifting — hesitating more than 1-2 seconds between gears
- Hard shifting — rough engagement with a “slam” feeling
- Shift “flare”/slipping — a momentary neutral feeling, followed by an upshift
- Front pump noise — humming/whining when accelerating
- Shuttering — vibrations can be excessive and erratic feeling, usually felt when accelerating can apply to engine or transmission issues
- Running rough — especially at idle, typically will set a check engine light, but not always rotational grinding, typically caused by failed wheel bearings
- Popping or clicking when turning — possible CV axle issue if front wheel drive squealing — belts or belt-driven components have reached their service limit
- Sweet smells — coolant leaks
- Loose steering — excessive play with steering components or misalignment
- Codes/lights on dash — symptoms of problems that need remedy before you can smog and transfer title. Many “tricks” of used vehicle sales are to clear the engine light. This will also reset a series of “monitors” in the computer system. A simple hand-held scanner can quickly tell you if there are any codes or if the engine light has been recently cleared.
Make The Call:
You’ll need to do some extra research before you buy a used car with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) or an 8-, 9-, & 10-speed transmission; simply because of the expense and common need for replacements at or before 100,000 miles. Many manufacturers have extended their powertrain warranty to as much as 10 years or 100,000 miles. When looking to purchase, call your local dealer of the type of vehicle you are looking at; provide the full VIN number and ask about its extended powertrain warranty.
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