Our network

Examine a Pre-owned Vehicle Closely Before Buying | Business

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Examine a Pre-owned Vehicle Closely Before Buying
Examine a Pre-owned Vehicle Closely Before Buying

By Tom Torbjornsen

Tom Torbjornsen, Western New York’s automotive guru here, hoping you and your family had a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday! Well, we had our first snow this weekend and as usual, people had to be re-educated on how to drive in the snow! Slow down and give yourself ample time to stop. Keep a safe following distance from the car in front of you and get those snow tires on if you haven’t already.

Following up to last week’s post about flood cars entering the market, here are some in-depth tips on what to look for when going over a pre-owned vehicle before buying:

Water damage: Look for water lines in the engine compartment, trunk and doorjambs. Next, check electrical connections for excessive corrosion, which usually takes the form of a green, crusty substance in the electrical plugs and junction blocks. Then look at the seat mounting bolts where the seat fastens to the floorboards to see if they rusty. If so, why? Was the vehicle under water?

Also check the carpet for proper fit. If it’s loose or wrinkled, it’s possible that the carpet was removed to repair water damage and then re-installed sloppily. Check the oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid and differential fluid for a milky color, which can be caused by water mixing with these fluids. Reach up under the dash and seats to check for mud, fine dirt and silt. The only way dirt of this nature can get into these areas is if the vehicle was submerged in dirty floodwater.

Odometer tampering: Look at the odometer closely for smudging or slight misalignment. These conditions could be an indication of odometer tampering or rollback while the flood car was being refurbished for resale in an effort to get a higher price at auction.

Conflicts with the model’s equipment list: If the vehicle is supposed to have a specific type of engine or set of equipment, and it does not, you want to know why. Missing turbo charger? Engine block heater? Disparities such as this are indications that the vehicle may have been rebuilt. Make sure you are educated on the model you are seeking to buy. Know what equipment should be in place and if it is not, find out why.

Check the VIN: Check the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) closely for any discrepancies between the title, ID tag at the base of the windshield and the tag on the driver’s door. Any differences could be an indication that the vehicle was given a new VIN.

Engine oil dipstick: This is checked for heavy varnish or black deposits. The presence of these may indicate the engine has been habitually run low on oil and/or the oil has not been changed or the engine was run in an overheated condition. In addition, emulsified (milky) oil could be an indication that the vehicle was under water.

Power steering fluid: The fluid is checked for color and the presence of metal flakes. Blackened fluid impregnated with metal flakes is an indication of wear in the system. A milky color indicates water is/was mixed with the fluid and the vehicle was possibly submerged.

Automatic transmission fluid: This should be red (or whatever the color the fluid is, as there are other colors used these days) and clean. A brown color with a burned smell can be an indication of a worn transmission. A strawberry milkshake or frothy color indicates water is or was mixed with the fluid.

Engine coolant: This should be “Clean-n-Green” (or orange in some cases). The presence of dirt and a burnt smell may mean anything from neglect to serious engine damage.

Differential and transfer case fluids: These fluids are checked for metal flakes and color. Also look for frothy consistency. Froth indicates that water is present in the gear box. Metal indicates mechanical wear. A dark or black color is usually accompanied by a burnt smell indicating that the unit was overheated. Check closer for mechanical wear.

It’s the end of the month and as statistics show, the best time to buy your new or pre-owned vehicle as dealers are looking to end the month on a positive note! I ask all my friends to look me up at Towne Hyundai/Autochoice on the corner of Southwestern Boulevard and Milestrip Road in Orchard Park. At Towne Auto, we scour every pre-owned vehicle with our 115-point inspection before it goes on the lot for sale. We’ve been doing this for a long time with a stellar track record of happy customers, so you can rest assured that you’re buying a solid, safe vehicle for you and your family. 

When you come in, just ask for Tom T. You can also e-mail me at TomT@TowneAuto.Com or give me a call at 662-7400, ext. 534. I’ll help you find the exact vehicle you are looking for. Having been in the car business going on 30 years now, there’s not much I haven’t seen, so e-mail, give me a call or stop by to take advantage of my expertise and the great Hyundai incentives for the holiday season! I’ll put you into the right vehicle for you, your family and your budget.

Keep rollin’!

Tom Torbjornsen

Tom Torbjornsen is an automotive journalist in good standing with the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) and the Motor Press Guild (MPG), Tom has been the repair and maintenance editor for AOL Autos, At Home Portals and many other websites. You can hear his radio show, “America’s Car Show,”  locally on WKSN 1340 AM via the SSI Radio Network at 8 a.m. Saturday. Tom’s television show, “America’s Car Show,” can be seen on Buffalo’s WBBZ-TV. The show airs at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and is re-aired at 9 a.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Saturday. 

For more information, visit www.americascarshow.com, follow America’s Car Show on Facebook for frequent updates, or email Tom at tomt@towneauto.com. You can find Tom’s latest book, “How To Make Your Car Last Forever,” at Barnes & Nobel and Amazon.com.



East Aurora Businesses