Vehicle owners many not always know their recalled vehicle still requires repairs.
Follow this link to enter your vehicle's VIN to check for information.
SUGGESTIONS ON BUYING A USED CAR
NEW VEHICLE PURCHASING TIPS
- Check for predicted reliability for the model you want to purchase.
See chart here
- When buying an older used car, reliability is more important because used cars
need more repairs as they age. See chart here Japanese models are the most
reliable (Honda, Acura, Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Infiniti).
- When buying most of these models they will need extensive work between 90K
and 120K miles. Common problems will include spark plugs, timing belt, and
- Try to get any receipts for auto work from its previous owner - which should
include the names of the shops that performed the services.
- We suggest getting any car checked out before finalizing the sale. Spending
$100 on a diagnostic may save you thousands.
- When buying a car from a dealer you usually have three days to check out the
car. If buying from an individual check out the car first and use the repair cost
estimates to negotiate the price. If this is not possible write up an agreement
stating that you can return within a specified timeframe if repairs will exceed a
given dollar amount.
- Ask the owner how often the oil had been changed and how much oil the
vehicle uses between oil changes.
- It would be a good idea to call a repair shop even if you are planning on
purchasing a new vehicle. Some models have problems or costs you may not
be aware of.
- Places to look for used cars include newspaper ads, Craig's List, eBay, friends,
and various local sellers.
- We don't suggest looking too far from your local area - it may become more
hassle than it's worth!
Prior to shopping for any specific vehicle, we suggest checking the reliability
ratings and suggestions in Consumer Reports to best suit your needs. Though
Consumer Reports is a great resource, we highly recommend you check with us
before making a final decision. We feel that some vehicle brands are improperly
reflected on their reliability charts, such as Audi.
Do not buy an extended warranty. If you feel strongly about purchasing the
warranty, we'd recommend purchasing the plan when the 'New Vehicle Warranty'
period ends. Most companies end this initial warranty period at around 36,000 miles
but you should check the specific expiration on your vehicle brand in order to plan
When test driving new vehicles, dealerships must request your driver's license for
liability purposes. Be sure to request that they do not photocopy your license or
submit a credit check for financing purposes without your permission.
Do not buy the 'PermaPlate coating' offered as an upgrade option at most
dealerships. Washing and maintaining your new vehicle regularly will be more
than sufficient in keeping that "show room shine" that PermaPlate offers with
AUTO BRAND LIFESPAN PROJECTIONS
Federal law prohibits new car dealers from implying or denying
warranty service because routine scheduled maintenance was
performed at an independent facility.
Magnusen - Moss Act (1975) Title 15, Chapter 50,
Section 2301 - 2312, US Federal Code
A lot of our new clients have been changing their engine oil more frequently than
necessary and using poor quality oil from various express oil change facilities.
What we suggest Is changing the oil every 5000 miles on average. Automobiles
such as BMW and Mercedes Benz using synthetic oil normally have oil changes
at 7500 to 15000 mile intervals depending upon how often and how far the vehicles
are driven during a given year.
CHECK ENGINE LIGHT
The Check Engine Light (CEL) is a warning system that lets the driver know that
something isn't functioning correctly. The Engine Control Unit (ECU) is constantly
receiving data from its sensors and if any one of them malfunctions or gets
a reading that is out of the ordinary, the ECU immediately illuminates the CEL
and stores the relative code in its memory. Any number of problems could cause
the ECU to generate a code. Certain non-detrimental problems may cause a 'SOFT
CODE' meaning the car still drives normally, however the CEL is illuminated
indicating that there is still a problem of some kind such as a misfire, too rich
or lean mixture, etc. Usually it is all right to drive in this condition temporarily.
However if the car is not running normally it needs to come in for inspection
as soon as possible to prevent damage to parts such as the catalytic converter.
Other more potentially harmful problems that the ECU detect will throw the car into
what is called 'LIMP MODE' where the ECU instantly retards the timing and dumps
an overly abundant amount of fuel into the motor, robbing it of power so that one
can still 'limp' the car home under power but prevents the driver from causing any
more damage. Problems such as Manifold Absolute Pressure sensor (MAP)
malfunction, low oil or excess knock will send the ECU into Limp Mode. In either
case it would be helpful to know what the problem is that the ECU has detected
since a CEL in the dashboard doesn't tell you much. When you determine the
code that the ECU generated you can then tell how serious the problem is.