Why should you go pay tens-of-thousands of dollars for a new vehicle when you can get the same vehicle with a few miles for a fraction? This is the exact thought process of shoppers looking to invest in a pre-owned vehicle (from an outlet such as Welsh Motors). While buying used is a logical choice financially, buying a used vehicle also means you should be a smart shopper. The last thing you want to do is go out and pick up a vehicle and inherit the previous owner's mechanical problems with the car or truck. There are three fluids that you should be checking under the hood before you make an investment in a used vehicle.
Take a good look at the radiator's plastic reservoir and the fluid inside.
The radiator and its functions are super important to the life of any motor. This component is responsible for radiating coolant or fluid throughout various parts of the engine to keep it cool while in operation. Therefore, if the radiator has been neglected, you could be buying a pre-owned vehicle which has already sustained hidden damages, such as a warped cam or heads. The radiator on most vehicles is a little hard to get to, but the reservoir tank used to house coolant is perfectly accessible. Take a good look at the inside of the reservoir and make sure it does not have a rusty or milky looking liquid inside. This is a sign that the vehicle has overheated or perhaps been allowed to run out of fluid.
Don't be shy about checking the oil.
Engine oil is often referred to as the "blood" of an engine. Just as a doctor can take a look at bloodwork and understand a lot about what is happening inside your body, you can understand a lot about what is going on inside an engine by taking a look at this vital fluid. For one, you should check the oil for adequate levels with the dipstick. If a motor is allowed to run with too little oil, it can definitely be hard on lifters and pistons, creating unnecessary friction and causing damage. The oil should be either honey colored, which means it has just recently been changed, or a rich brown color. If the oil appears milky or frothy, it means there is water in the oil and this points to severe engine issues.
Get a good look at the transmission fluid.
Transmission issues can be hard to spot on the fly, but you can spot some issues by looking at the transmission fluid. Pull up the dipstick for the transmission fluid and wipe the residue onto a clean, white cloth. You are looking for small metal particles in the fluid, which is a sign that the inner transmission is starting to deteriorate. Even though the vehicle may go for miles with a deteriorating tranny, you can be willing to bet there will need to be an overhaul at some point.