Most people usually buy their car from a dealership, while others search the world wide web of private sellers getting rid of their personal cars for various reasons. The dealerships that most people buy from go over the car to make sure it is fully updated on maintenance.
But on the other hand, private sellers, for the most part, don't really do what is needed to preserve this new-to-you car in any way, shape, or form. This list is here to guide those people who have bought a privately sold car or are going to buy a car off someone privately selling their car on what they need to do once they've made their purchase.
10 Replace The Engine Air Filter
Replacing the air filter helps keep the flow of air consistent. A dirty air filter will cause the engine of the car to run a little off and be generally inefficient. Not only that, but air filters keep dirt and debris from being sucked in the engine. It is an inexpensive and easy part to replace for those with basic tools.
Also, putting in a new air filter will help you keep track of when it should be replaced again. Prices can range anywhere between a few dollars to maybe a couple of tens of dollars, depending on the model of car that was bought. (Sidenote: Do this with the cabin air filter too. It helps keep things like pollen out of the cabin in the car.)
9 Oil And Oil Filter Change
Changing the oil and filter on almost every car is a procedure that usually is done in 3,000-mile intervals (or sometimes longer depending on the oil required for the engine) to ensure the life of the engine and keep it operational. The previous owner probably hasn't changed the oil and filter in a while, so it is best to change it right away.
Changing the oil and filter can easily be done at home. But, if one is not sure if they can take on the task, local mechanic shops can change it for a low cost, most even have specials on oil changes with filter replacement.
8 Coolant Flush
Coolant flushing has the same purpose as oil changes. Changing the coolant will make sure that it is clean of any debris or build-ups that happen within the cooling system. Flushing the system will ensure the longevity of the engine by making sure it does not over-heat.
Flushing the coolant is usually recommended to be done by a mechanic, but it can be done at home to save money. The only thing that is required is that the coolant needs to be disposed of properly.
7 Engine Tune-Up
An engine tune-up involves spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor and/or coils. Changing these parts will ensure the engine runs smoothly while getting the best fuel economy. Fouled spark plugs or ruined wires will cause the engine to run rough. And if a distributor goes off the deep end, the car won't even start.
Replacing these parts can be done easily depending on the car, or they can obviously just be replaced at a mechanic. Price varies depending on the car, and it can be a bit pricey as well. But it is completely worth it, because who knows when the last tune-up was.
6 Alignment Adjustment
Getting an alignment done on the car will make sure there is no uneven wear on tires. Uneven wear can give poor fuel economy, lead to constantly adjusting the steering wheel to stop drifting in lanes, or worse, a tire blowout if alignment goes unadjusted. If the previous owner never had an alignment done or the car has decently high mileage, it should be done.
Sadly, only a mechanic with an alignment machine can get the job done, but some places run specials to get alignments done. Get it done as soon as possible if it seems like the steering wheel is off or the tires are really worn where they shouldn't.
5 All New Tires
Tires are one of the most essential parts of how a car operates. They provide traction, stability, and are literally what keeps the car moving. A worn tire can lose air or worse, a blow out on the highway. Replacing the tires will make sure the car gets the best traction they can provide (depending on the brand) and the diminish the worry of having a blowout (unless running over a sharp object).
Sure, the previous owner could have replaced them a while ago or even recently, but the only way to avoid buying new tires is if the owner can provide legitimate proof that the tires are new. Clearly, getting new tires has to be done at a mechanic, but sometimes they run specials on tire sales with free installation.
4 Brakes and Rotors
Brakes and rotors are as essential to a car as the engine. Worn brakes won't help the car stop in time in a situation where new ones would have worked accordingly. And rotors can wear to the point of literally breaking. Unless the previous owner has proof that the brakes and rotors are new, get them done without any hesitation.
Changing both the brakes and rotors can be done at home to save money if needed, but just take the right precautions and follow directions. If not, go to the friendly neighborhood mechanic.
3 Detail and Wash
This one is not hard to do and it is the cheapest. Take the car to a car wash and pay to get the entire service. This will make sure that any dirt will be gone and wax will preserve the paint and stop the car from rusting. And of course, the price of the detail is determined by what the buyer wants.
A simple vacuum and cleaning of the entire car will void the car of the previous owner and their left-behind habits. Buy some disinfectant wipes and anything that is interior friendly, or pay to get the full detail from a shop. And obviously, a clean car will make any owner feel good about themselves and their new ride.
2 Replace Serpentine Belt(s)
The belt that is connected to the pulleys on the engine like the alternator (the part that recharges the battery) or the power steering pump will eventually wear and break if it gets to that point. IF it breaks, the power steering will pretty much go away instantly, the battery will eventually die out, and the car will shut off, and many other problems will happen.
But there are warning signs that can be easily seen without much of any expertise. Regardless, it is a cheap part to replace and it can be done at home. Just make sure it doesn't look worn or replace it soon.
1 Take it to the Local Mechanic
Taking the car to the local mechanic is the best thing to do, so do it first. Why? The mechanic can do an evaluation to see what needs replacing. Not only that, but the mechanic will also tell you which parts that need replacing are a higher priority.
Sure, they will probably charge for the look-over, or maybe they won't so they can keep business going. Regardless, getting the car looked over will give the owner a great idea of what is needed now or later that way they can save up for that new upcoming part that needs replacing.