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Things to checkout before buying a used car
Derived from the debate/ideas grounds of VOCM (www.vocm.com.my) Forums
First contributor: Agus Vol940 of VOCM
Contributed, compiled, edited and added over time by: ampangbear




In the case that a fully able mechanic could not assist you, then try the following guidelines:

1. Look at the underneath or under carriage at the engine section , watch carefully. If there is a wet oil trace from engine block to pan oil sump ... then avoid the car.

2. Check the engine oil level and conditions by drawing the dipstick oil . If you find that there is an oil sludge sticked to the dipstick between min-max indicating level, means that the car doesn't have a good maintenance practice.

3. Open the oil filler cap . Watch carefully (use flashlight) to the internal components, it should be clean from sludge . If heavy sludge present, then avoid the car.

4. Check the air conditioning system . Start the engine, then switch on the A/C, try to check all the position of A/C control switch - knob - button.

5. Check the steering systems . From stop condition, turn the steering wheel to the maximum right, then move the car. Same procedure to maximum left. If there sounds generated by this activity is rather too loud, then avoid the car. Also check the power-steering tank for leaks, especially at the bracer hose (the hose with the metal U-shaped hose) right in front and below the PS tank.

6. Check for any leakage of engine cooling system . Start the engine at idle speed up to the operating temperature. Open the hood and watch carefully for the leakage of the cooling systems. If you have bypassed the heater-core (a wise thing to do if you are in a HOT country and may never seem to have any real use for it), check the bypass hose. Typically, get a U-hose for the Volvo 940 model. Its actually for oil, but it would last many years if you use it for water/coolant like this.

7. Checking the worn out piston rings . Start the engine at idle speed for about 10 minutes. Try to get a person (or owner) to help you to increase the engine speed up to 4000 RPM while you stay at the back of the car, then release the pedal gas. Watch the gas color out from the tail pipe. If there is Black or Blue Smoke coming out , then avoid the car.

8. Test Driving .

a. Check the gear engagement first for all positions (P-R-N-D- etc etc). If takes longer time to engage, avoid the car.

b. Check the stall speed . Under full load, the stall speed is between 2500 to 3000 RPM.

c. Move the car gently to 60 km/h (20% Open Throttle). Then press the pedal gas to 50%, the gear shall be shifted-down from 4th to 3rd, continue to press the pedal gas to 90%, the gear shall be shifted down from 3rd to 2nd and the car continue to accelerate - and shift-up according to the transmission control unit program at 90% Open Throttle.

If everything OK then you may consider the car.



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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's what I thought too.
That's why I thought nice to share with others.

The dude's main job is in the aviation engines. But with a twist of interest on Volvos...


The benefits are obviously to US!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Additionally, IF you have ALREADY bought a car that is suspicious, or IF you need to TEST a car out, over a day (i doubt any seller will allow this) try this:-

1) Pop the hood
2) Fill up everything to the recommended level.
= That includes, engine-oil (check dipstick after a 10-minute idle, with the engine off and a 2-minute cooling-off so gravity can pull the oil down to a stable level),usual colour is light gold, brown, dark brown or black (you're bad on maintainance practice, man!)
= automatic transmission oil (check dipstick after a 10-minute idle, while the engine is on) try a few readings. Usual color is red.
= power-steering oil (doesnt matter if engine on or off) Usual color is red.
= brake fluid (doesnt matter if engine on or off) Usually colorless.
= water-coolant mixture. Usual color is green, but many have tried the pink (Red-Line's Water-wetter) the red (like Toyota "Life-Long" Coolant, yeah right) the blue (Mercedes coolant) the yellow (i forgot who made that).
3) Make sure the battery is good.
4) At night, go for a HARD-drive but no need to go too far away. Say, 30 minutes?
5) Park car on a clean and DRY floor.
6) Call it a day.
7) Next morning, see what kind of residue or trace you find on the floor.
...and then work based on that.

Based on the colour that is dripping on the floor, you can start your trouble-shooting.

Cheers!
 
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