Checking out a used car...

Old 06-27-2017, 09:38 PM
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Default Checking out a used car...

Ideally before getting into a 10 yo used car you'd want to have a trusted garage check it out with all their fancy equipment. But say you've found what you're looking for in a city far far away and you aren't able to schedule for a professional mechanic to look at it when you get there...so it's all up to you.

Other than checking for the obvious things like button functions, what all systems/parts should a reasonably proficient DIY mechanic test/look at on the vehicle to be?

Off the top of my head I'd check for...

- test each cylinder for compression
- and look at each spark plug for build up
- look for rust underneath
- move tires when sitting still to look for shifting in the knuckle
- get under the front with a pry bar and check suspension for loose connections

The car i'll be looking to buy is a 2006-7 BMW 325i or 330i (non turbo) with the straight 6 3.0 N52 or N53 engines, if that helps with the recommendations.

Other than this short list above what else should I be looking at?
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Old 06-27-2017, 09:43 PM
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http://pop.h-cdn.co/assets/downloads...-checklist.pdf

If the dude has a Beemer and a Cherokee, run Forest, run...
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Old 06-27-2017, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by bradleyheathhays View Post
- test each cylinder for compression
- and look at each spark plug for build up
- get under the front with a pry bar and check suspension for loose connections
?
you know, I buy and sell cars frequently. Scavenge through Craigslist and Facebook pages for good deals on vehicles to fix up a bit and make some money.

in my area, you would be turned away if you wanted to start taking things apart and putting a pry bar on components haha. I know for sure I wouldn't let someone. A few vehicles I have gotten you have to take off a few guards and other things to get to the spark plugs so if you came to me and asked it would be a no go haha.

just thought it was a pretty interesting list you came up with just because it's not common in my area. Some people show up with "mechanics" but they just look at anything anyone else would, just with a "better eye". Some people ask if I could meet them at a shop, but I always decline because it just takes up time, and they always want to meet at their convenience haha.
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Old 06-27-2017, 10:45 PM
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I am with Martlor on this one. if someone showed up to check out a vehicle i have for sale they arent going to be permitted to pull all the plugs and crawl around underneath with a prybar. people want to nitpick so much about the smallest issues on a used car when half the time they dont know what they are looking at or talking about.


With that being said there are alot of things you can easily check without wasting time.

If I show up at the guys house and the owner already had the car running and warmed up thats a red flag for me right away. maybe it has issues starting? or starting cold? not to mention you cant open the radiator cap when the engine is hot. it could be full of head gasket sealant or some other BS like oily coolant. ALWAYS check the coolant first. personally rule #1 for me. #2 is check the oil.

I always want to be the one to start the car. turn the key on and make sure the check engine light bulb hasnt been pulled. then start the car.

listen for grinding or whatever other bad noises it might make.

check all tires the entire way across the tread.

push on the top of the tire with your foot and kinda rock it back and forth. bad wheel bearing damage can be found this way(if its really bad)

listen for exhaust leaks.

smell and look for coolant leaks

turn everything on, flip every switch, ect. to see what works and what doesnt work. the door locks might not work. a window might not go down that sorta thing.

plus about a million other things but in the end its a gamble buying any used car. oh and when you do buy the car check the title and make sure it and branded. some people wont tell you either hoping you dont see if before you sign or because they have no idea they got ripped off with a totaled car
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Old 06-27-2017, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by bradleyheathhays View Post

The car i'll be looking to buy is a 2006-7 BMW 325i or 330i (non turbo) with the straight 6 3.0 N52 or N53 engines, if that helps with the recommendations.
Give the BMW forums a try (like E90 or Bimmerforums). They will have a better idea and understanding of maintenance costs, overall reliabilty, or any little quirks a BMW may be known for. I can only assume that being a non turbo, it shouldnt be that bad on maintenance, or reliabilty, but ive never owned a BMW.

basic stuff:
does it have the owners manual?
mileage (is it still under warranty?)
service records (oil changes, tuneups, tires - that sort of thing)
maintenance costs (any major repairs? if so, what?)
does the a/c work?
vibration in the steering wheel?
does it pull left or right under braking?
any ticking from the engine?
does it shift well?
clunks, thuds, etc. from underneath while driving?
Carfax?
dont forget insurance costs

If it will make you feel better, have it looked over by an independent shop before buying it. If the seller says no, dont buy it. They may be hiding something.
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Old 06-27-2017, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by fb97xj1 View Post
If it will make you feel better, have it looked over by an independent shop before buying it. If the seller says no, dont buy it. They may be hiding something.
Just because they say no is a deterrent? Like I said in an previous post, taking a vehicle you have for sale to a mechanic for the buyer is an inconvenience. Most shops are closed by the time I get out of work. That means I'm hiding something? Plus, you could spend hours there while the shop looks over the vehicle even with an appointment. Bring a "mechanic" if you want, but I know what is and isn't wrong. I'll stick in close proximity to my asking price because I know it is fair.

I also get a kick when people come on the forum asking what they should look for when they go look at an xj and there's numerous responses about lifting the carpet to check for rust. Uh no, a potential buyer is not taking apart my interior haha... in my experience you not only have to take off the trim panels, but the seats as well to really get a clean look so that would be a no go for me haha. Don't like it? That's ok someone else is interested move along haha.
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Old 06-28-2017, 02:13 AM
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Thanks for the seller's perspective Martlor. I think in the end it'll probably help me negotiate better. Maybe I'm old school but I've always been taught to get a car checked out by a mechanic before I commit to it, and that just sort of makes sense to me. But I understand where you're coming from. As in anything, time is money.

But yeah right on about having both a bmer and a jeep. I'd have no problem taking the symbol right off the thing and driving it. It's just a real decent driving machine for the value. Above everything else I'm a driver.

And I appreciate all the advice on what to check on. this is exactly the info I was looking for.
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Old 06-28-2017, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Turbo X_J View Post
http://pop.h-cdn.co/assets/downloads...-checklist.pdf

If the dude has a Beemer and a Cherokee, run Forest, run...
LMAO, dear god. Run to the hills.
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Old 07-04-2017, 02:23 PM
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I gotta ask. What's with the beemer and the jeep thing?
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by bradleyheathhays View Post
Thanks for the seller's perspective Martlor. I think in the end it'll probably help me negotiate better. Maybe I'm old school but I've always been taught to get a car checked out by a mechanic before I commit to it, and that just sort of makes sense to me. But I understand where you're coming from. As in anything, time is money.

But yeah right on about having both a bmer and a jeep. I'd have no problem taking the symbol right off the thing and driving it. It's just a real decent driving machine for the value. Above everything else I'm a driver.

And I appreciate all the advice on what to check on. this is exactly the info I was looking for.
If you buy any car for under a couple grand you should be ready to work on it yourself... If not ALWAYS pay and take to a good shop and pay to have it checked, in your case a trip to the BMW dealership for a proper going over, parts for them aren't cheap either.
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