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Monthly Archives: July 2016

Things You Should Check Before Purchase Used Vehicle

There are 13 Major Things that should be taken a gander at first to figure out whether the auto merits purchasing. Obviously there are different things to consider, for example, Air Conditioning, Heater and Lights to give some examples.


When you are looking for a “GOOD” used vehicle, there are some quick tell tale signs to look for, to see if you are getting a “GOOD” used vehicle or a vehicle that is on its last legs. The main questions you have to ask yourself when inspecting this vehicle is, “How well maintained is it”? And “how well has it been taken care of”? Some people do their own maintenance; some take it to a professional. People that take their vehicle to a professional or shop/garage will have maintenance records. Chances are this vehicle was taken care of. People that do their own work on their vehicle won’t have maintenance records. Chances are this vehicle was not as well maintained. The following should help you determine the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY.

1) ENGINE OIL. OIL SHOULD BE CHANGED EVERY 3,000-MILES OR 3 MONTHS. Years ago when you took your car in for an oil change the mechanic would put a sticker in your door jam with information on when the next time you would need another oil change or service. Today, virtually everybody uses those clear static stickers you put in the upper left hand side of your windshield. Personally, I love them. Whoever thinks to check the sticker in the door when you’re stopped? I would always think about it going down the road, and then forget to check it when I got out of my vehicle. Now you just look up and can tell when you need an oil change. So you should check and see if there is a sticker in the windshield. This would tell you when the oil was changed last and when it should be changed again. If it is faded so bad you can’t see the writing on it, then it has been a while since it had an oil change. You should also check the oil level and how clean it is. This also tells a story. If it’s really black, maybe the oil wasn’t changed as often as it should have been or it’s been a long time since it was changed.

2) TRANSMISSION OIL. OIL SHOULD BE CHANGED EVERY 24,000 MILES. New transmission oil is a bright red color. The older it gets, the darker it will be. With today’s technologies, most shops now have a transmission flush machine that will basically give the transmission a “transfusion”. That will help prolong the life of the transmission. So if your prospective used vehicle has more than 24,000 miles on it, and has bright red transmission fluid, chances are the owner had a flush done, which tells you they are maintaining the vehicle. You can also smell the fluid, if it is dark and has a burnt smell, that transmission is ready to fail, very soon. Bright fluid should never smell burnt. If it does, the owner is trying to hide something.

3) POWER STEERING FLUID. Most people don’t even think about power steering until it doesn’t work, but it can cost a lot of money to fix, if it goes bad. If it’s low, you have a leak. Check the power steering hoses for oil seepage. Don’t see any leaks, then the steering rack seals could be the problem. Believe it or not, they can leak but you may not see it right away. You could leak up to a quart of fluid into the end boots, before the pressure breaks a boot, unless the boots are ripped or torn. When you check the fluid level, check the condition of the oil. If the fluid is light your fine. If it’s dark, it needs to be flushed. Most shops now have a power steering flush machine that replaces old dark fluid, with new light fluid. If an older vehicle has light fluid, the owner may have had it flushed, or a recent repair.


Anti-Freeze will break down over time, become rusty and cause different problems including water pump failure, leaking freeze plugs, engine overheating, head gasket and heater failure, to name a few. It is very important to keep fresh chemically balanced, (PH, Nitrite and Glycol), anti-freeze in your radiator. With all the different metals used in today’s vehicles, anti-freeze can break down and cause a lot of harm. The computer sensors can also get coated with rust and send the wrong signal to the computer. There are several different color anti-freezes in today’s vehicles. The most popular is green. Basically when you look at anti-freeze, you want to see if it’s been changed regularly. See if it looks “clean”. If you take the radiator cap off, the level should be right there below the cap, and clean. It should not have any rust or brown; build up in the neck or cap area. (Please make sure the vehicle is not hot when you take the cap off, the anti-freeze is under pressure and will explode and burn you if it is hot when you take the cap off). You should only take the cap off when the engine is cool. (NOTE: TOYOTA HAS A FACTORY INSTALLED DARK BROWN ANTI-FREEZE)

5) ANTI-FREEZE RECOVERY BOTTLE Recovery bottles can tell a story at a glance. Is the level where it is supposed to be? If not, there could be a leak, or nobody ever checks it. If the vehicle is getting regular maintenance, then that bottle should be checked at least every time it gets an oil change. Does it have a bunch of brown goo in the bottom of it? That’s an indication of rust in the cooling system. Chances are the radiator is just as bad. If this is a newer GM vehicle with Dex-cool, (Extended Life), then it is an indication of a leak, because Dex-cool coagulates when there is a leak in the system. By the way, Dex-cool is an orange color. GM also puts a sticker nearby, indicating that there is Dex-cool in the radiator.

6) BRAKE FLUID and LEVEL Check the brake fluid level. If it is low, there could be a leak somewhere or it may soon need a brake job. Normally brake fluid will be a little dark. Too dark could be a problem. If there is sludge on the bottom of the master cylinder, it could be on its way to need a new one soon. If the fluid is really clean, someone just put a new master cylinder on or flushed the system. Most shops will do brake system flushes.

7) BATTERY TERMINALS It is not good to see a lot of corrosion on the terminals. That means this vehicle was not taken care of. I think one of the best inventions were those little felt washers you put on the battery terminals. They work if you use the right ones. I have installed a lot of batteries and as a courtesy to my clients; I put those washers on. Now just any old washers won’t do, you need them to be impregnated with a special chemical. What causes corrosion is the vapors coming from the battery as the Alternator recharges it. Excessive corrosion will give you electrical problems, if it is not taken care of.

8) BELTS Not much to talk about here. If they are cracked, or frayed, they will need to be replaced.

9) TIRES Check for small cracks on the sidewall of the tire. That indicates old tires. Put a quarter on end, head down, in between the tire tread. If the tread does not come up to the top of the head, new tires are needed. If it goes beyond the top of the head, they should be good to go.

10) MAINTENANCE RECORDS If they have good maintenance records, that will tell the true story. You can see every repair that was done to the vehicle. Most people don’t do this.

11) SMOKE COMING OUT OF THE TAIL PIPE You will see some white smoke in the morning, or when it’s cold outside. This is normal. Rev the engine up a little and look at the tail pipe to see if smoke is coming out. You may see a little grey smoke which is normal.

There are 4 different types of smoke:

– Grey. You see this more on carbureted engines. It indicates a rich mixture of fuel when you rev the engine. It’s normal, but it should clear.

– White, which indicates water vapor, or a possible blown head gasket or cracked head.

– Blue smoke, indicating the engine is burning oil. Blue smoke is a little hard to see. It will look white, but you need to look through the smoke to see the blue most of the time. This sounds weird until you actually see the blue smoke, then you will understand what I am talking about.

– Black, indicating excessive fuel burning. Black smoke is actually unburned fuel, and indicates a problem with fuel delivery and should be addressed.

12) RUST This is an indicator that this vehicle came from the Snow Belt where salt is put on the road to melt ice for traction. You will find rust on the undercarriage, which will require you to get under the car. You can also find rust under the floor mat in the trunk, or under the hood of the car.

13) FLOODING DAMAGE This is something that is not real easy to detect, but is becoming a big problem with all the flooding occurring elsewhere. Expect to see vehicles coming from New Orleans and other Katrina and Rita flood zones. Silt and dirt get in the carpet and Upholstery, but worse it is in all the electronics. I have taken computers out of Vehicles and they are filled with silt or dirt. These vehicles are usually sold as the “Really Good deal”. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

The Essential of Brakes and Tires

brakes-and-tiresSqueeeeeeel. When you hear it alongside you from another auto, it’s irritating. When you hear it from your own auto, it’s startling.

The trap is to decide when it is only a characteristic mechanical sound of brakes doing their occupation, or when is it an indication of genuine mechanical disappointment? Somewhat criminologist chip away at your part, will prop you up or, for this situation, halting for innumerable miles to come.

Advanced semi-metallic brake cushions are no longer made of asbestos (on account of the EPA), however of modest metal shavings and different materials compacted firmly together. These have astounding halting force and long wear life, in any case, tragically, they regularly make clamor in light of the metal strands contained in them. Less expensive cushions are made of milder material and are some of the time calmer than premium quality cushions, yet don’t wear also. Picture an Oreo treat. The white filling is your brake rotor, and the treats are your brake cushions. The rotor is produced using a metal that has a smooth, smooth complete to it, and the cushions made up of the modest metal shavings likewise have a smooth, smooth wrap up. In the event that you rub, metal on metal, regardless of the possibility that it’s about minute metal filaments, you can envision how you’re going to hear some screeching. In such cases, it’s not a noteworthy issue and not worth agonizing over as a driver.

Changes in temperature or changes in the dampness substance of the environment additionally influence grinding attributes that can set off a round of squeaking and screeching. In these cases, mediation by your repairman isn’t essential. For instance, if your auto sits for some time or is not driven all the time, stormy or blanketed climate can bring about a thin film of rust to frame on your rotors. At the point when the brake cushions press against this rust, they will screech. Now and again a couple of harder-than-normal stops can “de-coat” the rust and the screeching will stop.

However, when should you consult a professional to look at your brakes?

Drip, drip, drip. First, look down where your car was parked after you moved out of a parking space. Are you leaking brake fluid? You’re checking for stains or small puddles of fluid that don’t look like oil or coolant. Motor oil will probably have a brown or black look and feel slimy to the touch. Coolant will appear green and more watery. Brake fluid can look like fresh motor oil, but it doesn’t have that slimy feel. You’ll need to get your hands dirty, but check those puddles. If you suspect you are leaking brake fluid, open the hood and check the reservoir (your owner’s manual will tell you where to find the reservoir) is it low? If you’re leaking brake fluid, consult a mechanic immediately. DO NOT DRIVE THE CAR! Without the proper amount of brake fluid in your brake lines, you will not have full stopping power. If you see a puddle of brake fluid, or your brake pedal feels spongy and low, tow it in to your favorite repair facility.

Squeal, squeal, squeal. If the noise from your brakes is constant, you probably have a problem. Consult a mechanic immediately. He or she will check the brake calipers, brake shoes, master cylinder, etc. The cost of the potential repair will vary according to the problem, make and model of your car.

Scrape, scrape, scrape. One sound you should hope never to hear from you brakes is the horrible scraping of metal on metal. In such cases, you have no brake pad left and are literally stopping your car by grinding your metal brake pad holder against your rotors or drums. After only a few instances of this metal on metal friction, you brakes parts will be absolutely ruined. As soon as you hear such metallic scraping, call a tow truck and get to a mechanic ASAP. The money you spend on the tow will be nothing compared to the money you’d spend on an entire new brake system if you keep using the car and scraping to a stop.

Brakes feel funny. What I mean when I say “feels funny” is when the brake pedal feels spongy or lower than normal, or when you have to step on the brakes harder to get the car to stop. Another “feels funny” is when you step on the brake pedal and the car pulls to one side. If you experience any of this when stopping your car, take it to your trusted mechanic to find out why this is happening, and what needs to be repaired.

If you have any doubts about your brakes, ask your mechanic to go for a ride with you to determine if your brakes are working properly and safely. I feel brakes should be at the top of your list of repairs never to be put off. If the car won’t start it is a great inconvenience, but if the car won’t stop, it can be deadly.

Your tires are the only parts of the car that physically touch the ground. For that reason, they are the essential factors affecting your vehicle’s handling while driving, and stopping while braking.

Replacing the Water Pumps

Similarly as with any repair or support, when you are supplanting the water pump on your vehicle, your wellbeing is of fundamental significance. Preceding you starting, make sure that you have the negative battery link from the battery, the start is off, and the motor is cool. You ought to likewise counsel your vehicle’s repair manual for any vehicle particular prerequisites. You can begin the procedure after are certain that you comprehend it.

Evacuating your old water pump is the initial phase in supplanting it. You are going to start by emptying the coolant out of the motor square and radiator into a trickle container that is spotless. Put this off to the other side where it won’t be spilled. At that point you will need to evacuate the fan grasp and the fan. You ought to check them for any breaks or twists or supplant them if required. Contingent upon the sort of vehicle, there may be different segments that could keep you from getting to the water pump. Much of the time, you won’t have expel these parts totally. After you have moved them out of your way you can begin confining the greater part of the fittings and hoses that string into the water pump. Once the jolts have been evacuated, wipe off the motor’s mounting surface and clean the strings.

You can now install your new water pump. Start by coating both sides of the gasket with sealer lightly and then position the gasket on the engine. Then, coat the threads of the bolts that will screw into a coolant passage. Then attach the new water pump. Spin the water pump shaft to make sure that it spins freely after hand tightening the bolts. Tighten the mounting bolts if it spins freely. While checking all the hoses for tightness, continue to replace all of the components that you removed. Shut the radiator drain, add coolant to the radiator, and reconnect the negative battery cable.

After starting the engine, check for any leaks. Ensure that all components that were moved while replacing your water pump are working properly. Turn your heater valve on the hottest setting. Run your vehicle’s engine until it reaches a normal operating temperature to help to purge any air from the system. After this is done, fill the radiator and replace the cap.

Then, take your vehicle for a test drive. This will help to confirm that everything’s working properly and that your coolant levels are staying in the required limits.