Car Buying Checklist: Vehicle Mechanical Problems

Most common mechanical problems to check for when buying a car or truck. When you are buying a car or truck, there are many different mechanical problems which can occur. Knowing the most common mechanical problems to check for when buying a new car will help you avoid lemons.

If you're going to spend thousands of dollars on a car or truck, you want it to work, right? You don't want to realize that the car is a piece of crap as the previous owner runs away with your freshly inked check. (Good thing it's going to bounce, huh?) Instead of crossing your fingers when buying a car, you can check a few things on your own without a mechanic present. And while you might miss a few things, you will be able to detect major mechanical problems.

Check the Oil and Engine

Get under the hood after the car has cooled down and check the oil level. If you pull out the dipstick and see that the oil is low or that the oil is very dirty and dark, chances are good this is a car that hasn't gotten a lot of oil changes. Shame on the owner. If the owner says otherwise, ask for the oil change reports. Which they will not have, of course. The oil level does matter because dirty oil can affect the performance of the engine - not good.

Check the Heater and AC

Start the car to see if the heater and the AC work. Too often, people don't think to do this, but it's pretty important as fixes can be pricey. Just turn on the car and see how it takes for each of the systems to start. Then see how well they run at different temperatures.

Check the Transmission

Okay, so you can't really check the transmission as the usual first sign of trouble is when it breaks. But you can check the transmission fluid to see if there's enough and if it's fairly clear. Then, you can check to see how well the gears shift when you drive it. If they don't shift well or quickly, it's time to look for another car.

Check the Power Steering

Power steering comes in handy when you want to turn, so check that out too on a test drive. If it's hard to turn the wheel, stop the car, and then check the power steering fluid. If that's empty, ask the owner to fill it up and test the steering again to see if that's the problem.

Check the Windows

There's nothing more frustrating than starting up for a long car ride and realizing the windows don't roll down. Check this too when you're inspecting the car. It sounds silly, but the repair involves taking the door apart = pricey.

Choose Your State

Q:What is considered a mechanical problem on a vehicle?

A:A mechanical problem in a vehicle can be related to the engine. When buying a car, it is advised that you get the vehicle suspected by a professional. He or she will be able to check if the fuel system is functional, if the spark plugs are working or not, and more. There are all kinds of mechanical issues that a car may have. Take a look at our page for more information.