What to Do After Buying a Used Carby Peter Drea
Check the Oil<p>Using a dipstick can help you determine if there’s a need to <a href="http://www.instituteofmaterials.com/engine-oil-database/">change the motor oil</a> in your new car. Look for these colors:</p>
Swap the Battery<p>Swapping is recommended because occasionally used cars are fitted with older or smaller batteries. To do this yourself:</p> <ol> <li>Put your vehicle in park, turn off the engine and set the emergency brake.</li> <li>Take care to avoid battery acid spilling on your clothes or car’s paint.</li> <li>Connect the red wire to the positive <strong>(+)</strong> terminal and the black one to the negative <strong>(-)</strong> terminal.</li> </ol>
- The chemical reaction of the electrolyte in older batteries is less efficient compared to newer ones, and leads to a lower reserve capacity. This can make it more difficult to start your engine.
- Avoid using a small battery are if you live in cold weather. Its lower amperage output -- called cold cranking amps -- may not be able to start an engine in cold conditions.
Flush and Bleed Brake Fluid<p>The owner's manual indicates when to <a href="http://www.secondchancegarage.com/public/bleeding-brakes.cfm">change the brake fluid</a> and should be your guide, but not many car owners follow the schedule. So don’t assume the previous owner replaced the brake fluid regularly -- or at all.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Flushing</strong> is important because, as a car moves on the road, dust particles that flake off filtrate into the brake fluid.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Water also finds its way into the braking system, as most brake fluids are <strong>too viscous and thick</strong> to withstand corrosion and heat in the wheel cylinders, rubber valves and calipers, which causes reduced stopping power. This compromises the effectiveness of the braking system -- and can lead to an accident. </li> </ul>
Even if the previous owner has followed the brake fluid maintenance schedule, don’t assume the vehicle is safe to drive, because as air finds its way into the brake fluid, the brake system will come to feel spongy and its efficiency will be reduced. Have a mechanic bleed out the air to ensure your safety.
Inspect the Tires<p>Even if the engine starts and the vehicle drives great, <a href="http://www.nhtsa.gov/Vehicle+Safety/Tires">inspect the tires</a> after taking ownership. A visual inspection of the tires can help you identify cracks and weak points. Wear protective gloves if you press the tires with your fingers, or press using blunt sticks that won't cause further damage.</p>
Tires are made up of oils and chemical compounds (found in rubber) that break down or evaporate under prolonged exposure to UV rays. This causes sidewall cracking and tread separation as rubber becomes brittle and loses flexibility. While some of these cracks can swallow a coin, others are as thin as a hair and are not easy to detect due to dust particles, so you need to clean the tires first.
- link Tim Gilles: Automotive chassis: brakes, suspension, and steering: Thomson Delmar Learning.
- link Barsukov; Beck: New promising electrochemical systems for rechargeable batteries: Kluwer.
- link Geoffrey; Ruth: Understanding Chemistry through Cars: CRC Press
- link National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (HTSA): Publications of tire safety.
- link Safari Books Online: Upgrade Your Car Battery
- link Second Chance Garage: Brake bleeding 101
- link Institute of Materials:The World's source for engine oil information
- link Illinois Department of Insurance: Filing an Auto Claim with Another's Insurance Company