Buying a ""new to you"" used vehicle can save you lots of money over purchasing a new car off the showroom floor. But if the previous owner didn't stay in front of recommended maintenance or make repairs when the car needed attention, your savings could quickly vanish.
Below are some general items that are often in need of repair or maintenance:
- Brake Fluid - Most manufacturers recommend a fluid flush every 2-4 years Check the owner's manual for specifics on your model.
- Coolant System Flush - Check your owner's manual for recommended service interval.
- Engine Air Filter
- Cabin Filter
- Check Tire Pressure and Wear - unusual wear may indicate an alignment issue or worn suspension components. Don't forget to check the spare tire pressure too!
- Brake Linings - with most modern wheels and disc brakes you can usually take a peak at the brake pads through the spokes of the wheels.
- Worn Drive Belts
- Timing belt - often the water pump will be replaced as part of this service.
- Spark Plugs
- Ball Joints / Control Arms - Worn suspension components can make a used vehicle handle poorly and create vibrations and unwanted noises. They also can make a vehicle unsafe if severely worn.
- Transmission Fluid and Filter - many late model cars have lifetime fluid but depending on the model, filter and fluid might be recommended periodically. Check your owner's manual for details.
- Oxygen Sensor - some manufacturers list a recommended replacement interval for oxygen sensors to maintain performance and fuel mileage. Check your owner's manual for details.
Checking the components above will provide you with a good start to making sure that your new-to-you car is kept in great running condition. Since all vehicles can vary, check with the vehicle manufacturer or your owner's manual for specific maintenance items and intervals.