- Tips for Buying Your First Motorcycle
- Tips for Buying a Used Car from a Private Seller
- 4 Tips on Choosing the Right Auto Insurance Coverage
- Tips on Buying a Performance Vehicle
- Driver Guide To A Car Engine Operation
27th January 2010
3 Types Of Used Vehicles To Avoid Buying
When buying a new car isn’t a feasible option, purchasing a pre-owned model may be the next best thing. There are plenty of bargains out there. Unfortunately, a lot of buyers are tempted to cut corners in order to save money, even if that means taking home somebody else’s problem.
The good news is that purchasing a used vehicle doesn’t have to represent a minefield. You can uncover enormous value by using a little shopping savvy. Part of the battle is being able to identify the telltale signs of an automotive money pit. To that end, here are three types of used cars you should avoid buying:
#1 – The Enigma
Before computers, automotive maintenance records were difficult to find. You were forced to trust the seller about his or her vehicle’s service history – and roll the dice and hope for the best. Today, every trip to a repair garage is recorded electronically. The “paper trail” is archived on computers. That means if a used car lacks maintenance records, assume it hasn’t been maintained. Avoid buying it. With the number of bargains on the market, there’s little reason to throw caution to the wind.
#2 – The Leaker
Fluids are critical to the smooth operation of your automobile. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid… each of these play a key role in how your car performs. When you’re considering a used model, peek under the body and look for leaks. A couple of drops may not pose a serious problem, but any leak can potentially represent expensive repairs down the road. At the very least, have an experienced mechanic identify the leak’s source to determine its root cause and the cost of fixing it.
#3 – The Retired Rental
You may be tempted to buy a used vehicle that has been recently retired from the rental lot. Be wary. Rental cars may look like new on the surface, but can be hiding mechanical and structural problems. A lot of would-be buyers figure that the rentals must be in good shape. After all, the automobiles are generally retired after a few years; how much damage could there possible be?
Consider how people treat rentals. They don’t own them, so they’re less likely to drive them with care. Instead, hard stops, quick acceleration, and sharp turns are common. These things can be rough on the engine and brakes. What’s more, shenanigans such as burnouts and curb-jumping can cause wear and tear on the alignment. And that’s not always noticeable when you’re doing a casual inspection. Avoid retired rentals and save yourself the expense of future repairs.
When you purchase a used vehicle, plan to eventually replace miscellaneous parts and have minor repairs performed. These things are par for the course. However, by avoiding vehicles that lack a service history, those with leaks, and past rentals, you’ll sidestep potential automotive headaches.
20th November 2009
An Overview Of Your Vehicle’s Exhaust System
As the result of your engine’s 4-stroke combustion process, your car produces poisonous gases. Those gases are potentially deadly to humans and harmful to the environment. They are removed from the combustion chamber and guided through your exhaust system (ES) before coming out of your car’s tailpipe. There are a number of parts that contribute to this process. If any of these parts malfunctions or fails, you might experience a reduction in performance from your engine. Even worse, the gases can enter your vehicle’s cabin and affect your perception.
In this article, we’ll provide a brief inventory of the components that help ensure the poisonous exhaust generated in each combustion chamber is transferred out through your car’s tailpipe. We’ll also describe a few problems that can hamper the ES’s effectiveness.
A Brief Inventory Of Parts
Your vehicle’s exhaust system is comprised of an exhaust manifold, oxygen sensor, catalytic converter, muffler, and the exhaust pipe through which everything travels. The manifold’s job is to collect the gases that come from each piston’s combustion chamber and to filter them through a single pathway. It sits atop the cylinder head.
The oxygen sensor’s job is to measure the amount of oxygen contained within the exhaust. It then sends that information to your vehicle’s computer. The computer will use the data it receives from the sensor to make adjustments to your car’s fuel injection system. Those adjustments affect the air-fuel mixture that enters each piston’s combustion chamber.
The catalytic converter converts hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide into less harmful – or completely harmless – elements (specifically, water and carbon dioxide). It also reduces the level of nitrogen oxides, which are produced as the result of fuel not burning cleanly within the combustion chamber. The catalytic converter is equipped with a ceramic honeycomb structure that attracts these harmful elements for conversion.
The muffler’s job is to limit the noise coming from the engine’s combustion process. The air-fuel mixture within the combustion chamber is compressed and ignited by the piston’s spark plug. That sets off an explosion thousands of times while you’re driving. The muffler dampens the noise.
The exhaust pipe is the bridge that forms the connection to all the other parts of your ES. The gases travel through this pipe from the engine on their way to the catalytic converter until they are finally released through your vehicle’s tailpipe.
Potential Problems That Can Occur
All of the components throughout your ES are vulnerable to rust and corrosion. This is due to the moisture present in the gases that come from each piston’s combustion chamber. As they flow through the system, the moisture reacts with the iron and creates iron oxide. That begins the corrosion process.
Your exhaust system is particularly vulnerable to rust and corrosion if you normally drive short distances. This is because the water vapor traveling throughout the ES converts back into liquid form when you turn your vehicle off. Eventually, the continuous presence of moisture leads to rust.
Given that rust and corrosion are the most significant problems faced by your vehicle’s ES, you should have a mechanic perform routine inspections. When parts become corroded, replace them as soon as possible.