If you've decided to buy a used car from a private party, you'll want to be sure the vehicle you buy is not going to end up costing you more in the long run than if you would buy a used vehicle from a car dealership. Since it's difficult to know the complete history of a used vehicle, it's crucial that you not only look over the vehicle and drive it before buying but also to perform routine maintenance on the vehicle once the vehicle is yours. Here's what you should do.
Change the Engine Oil & Filter
While most people do have the engine oil and filter changed in their vehicles, they sometimes neglect this important task when they know they will sell the vehicle soon. In regards to the entire vehicle but especially the engine oil, treat the vehicle as if it has never had an oil change before. Also, getting the oil changed and a new filter installed will start you off on the right track for continuing maintenance of your new-to-you vehicle.
Have the Radiator Flushed
A problem with the engine's cooling system can easily leave you stranded along the roadside with smoke billowing out from under the hood. If the cooling system has never been serviced or hasn't been serviced for a long time, the coolant could easily have corrosive contaminants in it, which can cause the gaskets and other important components of your engine and cooling system to fail. Have the radiator flushed. This process involves adding a cleaning agent to the cooling system to remove the sediment or rust in the fluid. Then, new coolant is flushed through until all of the cleaner, sediment, and rust is removed.
Service the Transmission
Transmissions should be serviced every 30,000 to 60,000 miles depending on the make and model of the vehicles. Typically, this service involves either a complete flush of the transmission fluid or a transmission fluid change. There are several reasons servicing a transmission is important. The fluid may contain particles of dirt and contaminants that will cause the transmission to be sluggish. Also, the transmission may have overheated at some point, which causes the fluid to be burnt, which would mean the fluid is no longer able to protect the components of the transmission from damage caused by continued overheating. Take your new-to-you vehicle to a transmission repair shop for servicing as soon as possible after purchase.
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