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  Used cars 7

Now it's about time we had a look at the interior. Let's begin with the luggage compartment. Wait a minute, if it's a car with a real key, let's quickly try out the driver's side- and the passenger doors. As soon as you enter spaces that are otherwise closed, sniff around and let your nose make a judgement. This could be important as far as the boot is concerned but even moreso in the interior.

Then we lift up all the foot-mats. Is it damp or is there even rust? If not, we'll move on to where the floor-paneling meets up with the tailboard. If the car has suffered a rear-impact accident, the floor-paneling is generally not replaced but simply pulled into shape. Unless the work was done by a real panelbeating artist, it can still be seen years later.

When checking for accident damage, we can also have a look under the bonnet. How do the longitudinal beams look? Can the typical marks, made by the welding tongs during production, still be seen? Compare the front right side with the front left side. The examining of the side-plating from the engine compartment, can also tell you a lot. In this case, the pocket torch would be useful again.

As soon as any seams appear to be different from the original factory work, you should keep up your search. Is there perhaps a colour difference between the mudguard and the door? Is there paint-spray on the inside of the mudguard? If not, we can assume that the car has not been in an accident. Let's turn back to the subject of possible repairs. First of all, all the fluid-levels should be meticulously checked. One of these by the way, is the nearly always neglected, reservoir for the servo oil pump.

Check the automatic gearbox oil while the engine is running.

Of course, we expect everything to be ok here, but if someone is selling a car and hasn't checked this, one can draw one's own conclusions. If you think that too little brake fluid can simply be topped up, forget it. If you have even a cheap multimeter with you, hold it on the battery terminals with the engine running and switch on, one after the other, all the consumers. The tension should slowly drop from way over 13 volts to distinctly still over 12 volts.

Brake lines test -> coolant hoses test

If the battery is held in a plastic casing, everything is ok. If however there is metal underneath, this should be examined, perhaps the battery has boiled over at some time and the acid has damaged the coachwork below. The same attention should be paid to the cooling system. Is the radiator battered in any way? How do the radiator fins look? Does everything seem to be sealed or is water dripping below the water pump? Is the engine losing oil from anywhere or has it perhaps just been wiped away? Sometimes it pays to be suspicious when an engine has been freshly washed. 07/13               Top of page               Index
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Translator: Don Leslie - Email:

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