10 Parts to Check Before Buying a Car

An aftermarket car is always a lottery. Even visually intact, an entire vehicle can surprise a new owner unpleasantly. To prevent this from happening, you need to follow simple procedures.

Auto check

This point is the most important when it comes to buying a car on the secondary market. No matter how ideal the car may be, before inspecting it (and at the same time the owner for whom the car is registered), you need to check all the bases – from insurance to the bases of bailiffs. Many cars on the “secondary housing” are sold with restrictions on registration actions, with arrests due to debts.

Dealers and unscrupulous owners keep silent about these problems, and after registration, they change phone numbers – and all the difficulties fall on the new owner. If a car with minimum mileage makes its way into the database like a car after an accident, then it is better to refuse such a purchase right away. If everything is in order with the legal purity of the car, then you need to deal with its technical condition.

Changing the engine oil and flushing

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The first and most important step before which you need to find out what kind of oil the owner poured in before the sale. What the owner says, you need to check with the data of the plant – if they differ, then before changing the oil, you will have to fill the engine with flushing.

It will remove traces of old engine oil from cylinder walls and other parts before refilling with engine oil. You should not save on the brand and quality – the better the engine feels, the calmer the new owner will drive.

Changing the oil in the gearbox

It is believed that the factory recommendation for changing the oil in an automatic or manual transmission is 100 thousand kilometers. Conscientious owners violate this rule and change the oil in the automatic transmission or manual transmission every 50 thousand kilometers.

Transmission oil often needs to be changed if the car is subjected to frequent loads or has undergone major tuning. For sharp and fast driving, it is recommended to change the engine oil every 40 thousand kilometers.

Repair and replacement of automatic transmission

The golden rule of buying a car in the secondary market is to budget for the purchase either more money in order to find a car that is younger and with low mileage, or the same amount, but for repairs. By the way, about the latter: if everything is in order with the engine, then the automatic transmission (the vast majority of cars are sold with it) may fail literally the next day.

If, after starting the car in the passenger compartment, there are incomprehensible vibrations, and when the Drive mode is turned on, the car starts off with a barely perceptible shock, then you need to urgently go to the service. The price of the issue is from several thousand to several $160 Dollars. Replacing an automatic transmission is not a cheap pleasure, but a contract transmission can be cheaper than repairing an original one.

Conversion collapse and the cost of safety

After each repair of the suspension or steering system, wheel alignment must be done. Much depends on how correctly the wheels are adjusted to the position of the body, first of all – the safety of the car.

The correctness of the camber-convergence is checked on a special computer stand, but you need to keep in mind one important detail right away: unscrupulous drivers are trying to save money and often do not carry out this procedure after repairing the suspension or replacing rubber. The price of the issue is not high – depending on the region, it can cost from $20 to $34.34 dollars.

Generator repair

It is easy to identify this malfunction even at the stage of buying a car. If a characteristic metallic hum (which appears mainly during a cold snap) is heard from under the hood after starting, it means that the generator requires attention. The most common malfunctions are wear of the alternator belt, wear of bearings or diode bridge, failure of the winding. Repairing a generator is simple and inexpensive – from $20, depending on the car model.

Repair and refueling of air conditioners

Checking the climate system is the first thing to do, and preferably before buying a car. If the air conditioner does not cool the passenger compartment as needed, it may be necessary to refuel the air conditioner. It is filled with freon, a gas that, during a chemical reaction, takes heat from the air. The procedure is inexpensive – from $7 Dollars, depending on the type of freon and its amount. If after refueling the problem persists, then it may be necessary to repair the evaporator or electromagnetic clutch, as well as the air conditioner roller. The latter breaks down unpredictably and is not cheap – from $70 for budget cars to $700 for luxury foreign cars.

Replacing the radiator


The cooling system is one of the weak points of most modern cars. The ingress of dirt, dust, and stones will lead to cracks in the radiator and leakage of antifreeze. If there are spots of an unknown liquid under the front bumper of the car early in the morning and these spots do not exactly look like oil, then most likely this is antifreeze leaving the radiator or a branch pipe that is cracked nearby. When replacing this part, it is better not to pull – if the motor overheats, metal parts can change geometry, then the engine will have to be thrown away.

Catalyst removal

If the car suddenly stopped driving and accelerates noticeably worse than the passport data, then the problem may lie in the catalyst. It is expensive to buy a new “filter” for engine exhaust gases – just a manufactured catalyst for a budget KIA Rio costs about $400 Dollars. Removing it costs less – just three to five thousand and a couple of hours of work. In return, the car service technician will install a “snag”, or a flame arrester. You can look for a car service in which the removal of the catalyst is done for free – the servicemen usually keep the spare part for themselves. Inside the catalyst, there are many expensive metals, on the processing of which decent money is earned. If you hand over the catalyst to the collection point after removal, you can earn $40-$210.

Firmware, chip tuning, oxygen sensor, and lambda probe

Reprogramming the engine control unit (this procedure is also called “firmware” change, chip tuning) is the next step after removing the catalyst. Usually, along with this procedure, one of the oxygen sensors is turned off, the so-called. Lambda probe. If the previous owner of the car has already gone through this procedure, congratulations. The car has become less environmentally friendly, but it is guaranteed to emit exhaust gases without delay, and therefore, “breathes” much easier.

Windshield replacement

Cracks in the windshield are a reason for a good bargain. For budget cars like the KIA Rio, there is a chance to find aftermarket parts, but more expensive cars may only need the original. The price of the issue reaches $200 dollars, and in the case of expensive SUVs or sedans – up to a couple of $14 dollars. An attempt to save money on replacing the windshield will not lead to anything good – it will either burst completely, or it will not be possible to pass the inspection.

Replacing engine gaskets

If traces of fogging are visible on the engine, then this is another reason for bargaining. Replacing the valve cover gasket or the valve cover itself can cost a lot of money, especially when it comes to German cars. For Audi and Mercedes sedans, the bill can go for $60 for a spare part and work on its replacement.

7 simple ways to increase the power of the car, available to everyone

Not all of them are considered budgetary, but some car owners resort to such life hacks.

Updating the software is the first step towards making the cargo noticeably faster, become more powerful, or more fuel-efficient. In specialized technical centers, this service is relatively inexpensive – from three to five thousand rubles. On cars with a large engine capacity or a turbocharger, the service is more expensive – a competent “firmware” will cost seven to eight thousand rubles. It should be noted that all responsibility for the technical consequences of the flashing lies with the owner.

Master tuners usually pre-take a receipt that there can be no complaints against them. Legal chip tuning in Russia is done by few car brands, and before thinking about increasing power, you need to consult with a dealer about maintaining the warranty.

What kind of oil should be poured into the engine

Usually, timely service is sufficient for stable engine operation. But to add power, regular maintenance will not be enough. If chip tuning has already been carried out, then the oil recommended by the plant should be changed twice as often, because the characteristics of the engine and the load on it have changed.

It is better to move away from the factory service parameters and change the oil not every ten thousand kilometers, but more often – every three to five thousand kilometers. The constant presence of fresh oil in the engine will allow the car to operate in optimal conditions for longer.

Engine and fuel additives


The need to pour additional chemistry into the engine and the fuel tank has been arguing for several years in automotive forums. The main thing you need to know about additives in engine oil is that they are most often used on used cars, when not only the engine but also the car, in general, is worn out. Some of them allow you to slightly increase the compression, others reduce the friction of the pistons against the cylinder walls and partially reduce the likelihood of scoring.

But such additives are produced only by large companies and are not cheap – about six to nine thousand rubles. There is no point in buying cheaper antifriction compounds – they not only change the chemical properties of the fresh original oil, but also often negatively affect the engine’s ability to quickly spin up to maximum speed.

Fuel additives work in much the same way. Some consider them to be a means to remove contaminants in the fuel system, but the cleaning effect is mediocre and it is impossible to clean the gas tank with an additive. But it is possible to increase the octane number of the filled fuel. True, you need to remember that this is a one-time promotion – as soon as the fuel in the tank runs out, you will have to buy the additive again. Space acceleration after the additive is poured into the tank should not be expected, but the engine will run noticeably smoother.

Before using additives, and even more so on a new car, you should consult with any specialized authorized dealer or the hotline of the representative office of this car brand.

Flushing nozzles and replacing spark plugs

The first procedure is also necessary for everyday life if there are no guarantees that the fuel from your favorite gas station is the same as in Europe. Carbon deposits, which accumulate on the elements supplying fuel to the engine, not only reduce the engine thrust but also, getting into the cylinders, is deposited in the form of black soot and burning. If you do not follow this, then the overhaul of the fuel system and the engine is within easy reach. Regular flushing of the injectors guarantees an even supply of fuel and fuel consumption close to the factory.

Replacing spark plugs will not only help the engine run smoother but also behave more consistently under prolonged high loads. In addition, constant replacement of the spark plugs (for example, every 20-30 thousand kilometers or more often) will keep the ignition module in good working order – another expensive element.

Zero resistance filter

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The easier the car takes in air from the outside, the easier it is for the engine to “breathe”. Factory filter elements are packed in a plastic box, which serves as a kind of external protection against coarse dirt. Zero resistance filters, on the other hand, are installed without protective elements – this way more air enters the engine, but at the same time it is filtered worse.

Before installation in a regular place, the filter of zero resistance is impregnated with a special compound, the cost of which may exceed the cost of the filter element. Another danger of such filters is that if you do not regularly clean it with special chemicals, dirt and dust from the environment will get directly into the engine.

Speed ‚Äč‚Äčlimiter

The power of most modern cars is limited by software for the sake of the environment. This is done on purpose so that the engine works only in the parameters set at the factory. If the power or responsiveness of the motor is not enough, during chip tuning, you can ask the technician to erase the software speed and rpm limits.

After that, the car will go noticeably faster and will respond to the gas pedal a little faster than usual. We remind you that such changes are carried out by car owners at their own peril and risk. No one will be held responsible for the consequences of the technique and behavior of the machine.

Alternator belt and timing belt replacement

The lower the load on the generator and the engine as a whole, the easier it is for the car to accelerate. This rule is known in any car service, therefore, before increasing the power, the masters must study the condition of the car.

The generator, the compressor of the climate system, and other elements take on some of the engine power through special drives and rollers, so before chip tuning, it is worthwhile to conduct a full inspection of the engine compartment. The generator and the timing mechanism are the first on the list for study since the failure of one of the elements threatens the complete loss of the engine.

For your own peace of mind, before the programmed increase in power, you can change both the timing belt and the generator belt. In addition, after chip tuning, the engine, transmission, and other components begin to work under a completely different load, which affects their resource. That is why they need to be checked and serviced more often.