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Old 10th June 2010, 23:39   #1
I really should get out more.......
75 tourer cdti, MG ZS 180, nissan terrano & 1.8t rover 25

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Default General car checks

After a recent thread asking what to look for on a car, and giving advice to a couple of members, I thought I'd post a basic list of what I check when I view a car, be it for me, a friend, fellow member etc. hopefully this will help a couple of people as I've been caught out before by my heart ruling my head

This is generic, so there maybe things that relate to specific models only, so enjoy before it moves down the pack

Information and documents
-service history
-previous MOT's, and look specifically for any advisories
-any receipts and that they coincide with the service history
-make sure it has both keys
-do a HPI check

-wheels and tyres, tyres aren't bald/damaged and wheels aren't buckled (may need to get under car to check inner rim) and uneven wear
-suspension components, springs aren't broken and car doesn't sit to one side, dampers work effectively (you will need to get under the car to check the springs)
-exhaust, not rusty or about to drop off
-bumpers + doors, all undamaged and gaps are small and consistent, doors open + close as they should, all doors unlock, boot unlocks with key + button (pre facelift) button in car and with fob (facelift)
-paintwork, check condition and all panels are the same colour
-bonnet, check it opens properly
-look at all windows for deep scratches / chips
-look under body/sills for clamp marks, as it is a tell tale sign of an accident damaged car
-check under the car for fluid spots

Engine bay
when inspecting the car, make sure the garage or owner doesnt turn the car on before you get there so you can check fluid levels
-fluid levels, oil, coolant, power steering, brake (under panel below windscreen)
-engine mountings
-radiator, check for damage or leak
-coolant staining, any pink / red / orange staining in the engine bay is coolant, may have leaked. On the v6 engined models (if possible) remove the engine cover and look between the vee for coolant, may suggest a damaged thermostat
- brake lines, corroded/damaged is an MOT failure
-check for mayo on dipstick or under oil filler cap
-check the plenums where the brake fluid is for water
now you can start the engine
-look for any lights that stay on (a bulb failure will show up now, so of there are no lights on, there are no bulbs out / problems)
-check it starts fine
-listen for any knocking noises/noises that it shouldn't be making
-check the engine runs smoothly
-check it revs freely
-check clutch, make sure bite is in the middle, not at the top of bottom
-check the gearbox, (manual) make sure each gear engages properly and doesn't jump out when the clutch is brought up to the bite in each gear (auto) make sure gear changes are smooth, not snappy or harsh, and make sure each mode can be engaged and that when each specific gear is selected, it changes down appropriately and goes no higher than the selected gear
-check the fan, press the demist button and the low speed fan should kick in
-check the engine idles properly, no fluctuation in revs

-when the engine is warm, make sure no coolant is coming out of the cap

-check all seats for wear/damage + feel supportive
-check all dash + steering wheel is clean ond undamaged
-check all buttons on dash work as they should
-check all seats adjust properly
-check all mirrors work
-check all windows work
-check that the handbrake holds the car properly (may need to do while driving)
-check the brakes, don't feel spongy
-check the radio works and has a code (if required)

Running checks
don't have the radio on at this time so you can listen for noises
-check steering feels OK, no knocks etc + turn fully lock to lock
-check that the car accelerates properly
-check that the breaks work properly
-drive over bumps to listen for rattles , knocks etc
-check that the steering wheel is straight when driving straight
-check the car drives straight and not to one side
-when the car is properly warm, or when you get back, turn the car off and restart it, camshaft sensor sometimes stops working when the engine is hot so wont start

Anything that you feel needs adding just shout up and I can add it. but remember, it is only generic to any 75/ZT and ensures the car is at least roadworthy, not that it is perfect . Please feel free to take a print out of this information next time you go to view a car, it may save you from wasting your money

Last edited by Dragrad; 21st July 2010 at 23:55.. Reason: Typos ;-)
rrobson is offline  
Old 4th May 2011, 09:49   #2
This is my second home
2000 Wedgey Blue 2.5V6 Beauty

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Bilston
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Exclamation Buying a Car - Your Rights

After reading the stories of some members who have been unfortunate to buy 2nd hand cars that have not been what they expected etc, I have decided to put some links up here:

Easy to read basic info here: DIRECT.GOV


Check if a Dealer is registered with the Retail Motor Industry HERE

Sales Of Goods Act 1979: HERE

Trading Standards have a consumer helpdesk called Consumer Direct, you can call them on 08454 04 05 06

The AA have a Car Buyers Guide HERE

If I find anymore useful links I shall post them above.


2.5V6 Auto:
Work carried out so far: Crankcase Breather Pipe replaced, O/S CV Joint replaced, Starter Motor Repair Kit Fitted, Front Suspension Overhauled.
carlpenn is offline  
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