A new or used vehicle can be the second largest purchase of your life. Unfortunately, many people who buy a vehicle have little knowledge of the product and often make hasty decisions or purchase under pressure. This is why Universal Ford Lincoln, would like to offer you two informative tools to help you research your next vehicle: the ability to compare used vehicles online from your home or office and advice and tips on buying a new or used car.
If you have any questions or require any other assistance don't hesitate to contact or visit us at Universal Ford Lincoln.
Before Purchasing a Vehicle
Calculate your budget. This important step will set your limit and help you decide if you are in the market for a new or used vehicle. Research the vehicles you are interested in or ask friends for recommendations. If you have a mechanic ask which vehicles are good value or at least which ones in his or her experience are lemons or problematic. Consider the market. Vehicle salesman include New and Used Car Dealerships, Used Only Dealers, or Private Sales through newspapers or other resources.
Buying a New Vehicle:
Research the vehicles you are interested in. Items to research are engine, transmission, brakes, and safety features. Compare quality against price. Check the vehicle's handbook to find out the servicing requirements. A warranty and guarantee may be voided if the vehicle is not properly serviced. When purchasing an extended warranty understand exactly what's covered and what isn't. And find out what the procedure is for making warranty claims. Finally, make sure the following is listed on the price sticker of the vehicle: the serial number or vehicle identification number (VIN), make, model and selling price. The selling price must include all extras and optional equipment, transportation charges for delivery to the dealer and any pre-delivery service charged by the dealer.
The Better Business Bureau shows the used vehicle market as a major source of consumer complaints. Many buyers depend largely on a quick examination and what they are told by a private seller or by a salesperson who may have been unaware of defects not revealed by the previous owner. At Universal Ford Lincoln we have your best interests at heart and would like you to consider the following before buying a used vehicle from anyone:
Interior: The interior can be a good indicator of high mileage without looking at the odometer. A worn brake pedal or driver's seat can indicate high mileage even though the odometer displays a low reading. Look under the floor mats for water leaks. New floor mats are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to hide a worn interior or leak. The floor under the accelerator can be a key spot of excessive wear. Check the windshield for cracks and rock chips. Indications of a tampered odometer are fingerprints or scratches on the interior of the dash cover, misaligned odometer numbers, or scratch marks on the numbers. If the vehicle has a t-roof or sunroof check for water marks on the headliner or if possible test the roof by spraying it with a hose.
Suspension: Check the level of the vehicle from the front and back. An un-level vehicle may have worn springs. Test the shock absorbers by bouncing the vehicle - a vehicle with good shocks and struts will only bounce once. If the vehicle does bounce more than once inspect the shocks and struts for leaks. Air suspension is even more critical to check - these components can be very costly to repair. Tires that are worn on the outer edges can indicate a vehicle with a front-end that is not aligned. If the vehicle pulls to the left or right during a test-drive this could also indicate a front end that is out of alignment. When you approach highway speed a shaking steering wheel or front end that shimmys or vibrates can be a sign of un-balanced tires. Finally, the car should not bounce while driving or lean excessively during cornering, both can be a signs of worn shocks or struts.
Rear End / Drive Shaft: With the car started put the vehicle in gear. If you hear a loud clank it may mean the universal joints (a pair of hinges used in a drive-shaft for cornering) are worn. During the test drive, if you hear a whining or humming noise from the rear it can be a sign of worn gears. And bad universal joints can produce a vibrating floor or body at high speeds.
Front Wheel Drive Axles: Front wheel drive axles consist of (CV) constant velocity joints. These allow a smooth transfer of power to the front wheels through the wide range of angles they need to be turned. Test the CV joints by first turning the wheel all the way to the right and slowly accelerating. To test the other side, repeat the procedure. If the axles are bad you will hear a bad clicking noise from the axle. Grease thrown around the inside of the front tires will tell you that the CV joints need to be replaced.
Signs of Structural Repair: Do all of the vehicle's panels match? Is there paint over-spray or primer in the doorjambs, lights, trunk or engine compartment? Check the gaps between the body panels. Unequal gaps may indicate improper panel alignment or a bent frame. Do all the doors shut properly? Check the frame for severe rusting or repairs. Make sure the keys open all door and trunk locks. If not, the doors or trunk may be from different vehicles.
Engine: Is it clean or covered with oil and dirt and obviously neglected? Is the engine very clean but the rest of the compartment is dirty? This could be a sign that the engine was recently cleaned using degreasing fluid and may have been done to conceal some type of problem. Look for oil leaks around the valve cover, head-gasket, and oil pan. Check the inside of the oil cap and valve cover for sludge. A well-maintained engine will always be clean inside. Check the oil. If it is clean, tan, or brown, not black, ask when the last oil change was done. After test-driving the vehicle check the oil once more. If the oil has turned black the engine has serious wear. When you first start the engine check the exhaust fumes, blue indicates oil that is being burned. Once the engine has warmed up rev the engine and check the exhaust fumes again. Lastly, rev the engine a few more times and listen for knocking sounds or ticking sounds that increase with engine speed. These can indicate costly repairs.
Transmission: Check the fluid for colour, smell and level. Transmission fluid level should be checked while the vehicle is running and on level ground. The fluid should be pink to red in colour: not be brown or black. Brown or black fluid may have a burnt smell to it, indicating possible internal damage to the transmission. Next, check the transmission's engagement. Shift from park to drive, then from drive to reverse and observe the amount of time the transmission takes to engage. The transmission should engage firmly and not take very long to engage. While shifting, listen to any banging, grinding, whining and squeaking. Such noises indicate a worn or broken engine or transmission mount or possible internal problems. When road testing the vehicle, observe transmission shift points when the transmission shifts gears. The shift points should be smooth, yet positive and firm. You do not want the transmission to slip or slam into gear. Get the vehicle up to highway speed to ensure you have gone through all the gears. After the car is at highway speed depress the accelerator slightly to increase speed to ensure that the transmission is not slipping and that the transmission down-shifts properly.
Vehicle History: Finally, and most importantly check the vehicle's history for any accidents or liens. If you're purchasing the vehicle from a dealership directly they will be able to provide any history reports and lien checks you need. Otherwise, you will need the vehicle's ID (VIN) number. If you have a record of a lien search and no lien was registered when you took ownership, a lien holder will not be able to seize your vehicle.
Consider your options when you head out to purchase your next vehicle. Make an informed decision and you'll enjoy a satisfying experience and years of trouble-free driving.