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I just bought my car from a private owner and want to go get the car checked out, I just do not know what to check or ask for, plus I am limited on money being a single mother. The car sounds like it runs fine but at times it feels like it is skipping gears and the brakes shake the car slightly when I press down on them.

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Greetings Athena Rose, I'm glad to hear you are taking a pro-active approach to your car and getting a thorough inspection on it so you will know what it needs to be safe and reliable. I wish you could go back in time and had this inspection done before you purchased the vehicle, then you might have been able to get the previous owner to pay for some of the work, or reduct the price of the vehicle for you to get the work done and stay in your budget. But that is water over the dam. You want to ask your auto repair shop to check the following: START OUT WITH A ROAD TEST CHECKING FOR NOISES, HANDLING, BRAKING, AND PERFORMANCE SERVICE CHECK: BATTERY: _______ ELECTROLYTE: ______ TERMINALS: _______ TEST BATTERY, STARTER, AND CHARGING SYSTEM: ______ CHECK BELTS: ____________ CHECK HOSES: _____________ FLUIDS: OIL:_____ COOLANT:_____ BRAKE:_____ P/S:_____ TRANS:_____ R-DIFF:_____ F-DIFF:_____ TRANSFER CASE:_________________ FRONT WASHER FLUID:_____ REAR WASHER FLUID: _____ TIRES:_______ BRAKES: FRONT:____________ BRAKES REAR:____________ E-BRAKE: ___________ CV BOOTS:________ STEERING:________ SUSP:________ EXHAUST:_______ LIGHTS: HEADLIGHTS:_______ TURN:_______ BRAKE:_______ TAIL:______ REVERSE:_______ LICENSE:_______ MARKER:_______ LUBE: DOORS:______ LATCHES:______ LOCKS:_______ SEATBELTS:_______ HEAT AND DEFROST:________________ WIPERS, FRNT: _____REAR: ______ . CHECK ALIGNMENT WITH CALIPER: FRONT: REAR: All My Best, Amy Mattinat

Amanda J. Pierce, MBA Athena, Sounds like you may need to have new brake pads, or the rotors simply resurfaced to repair the brake shutter. It also may be due for spark plugs as well. Most places will give a full inspection for a small free, so you can call around and get price quotes.

Amanda Wetherill Holmes, Parts and Service Director and Vice President of Operations at Devon Hill BMW Athena, You can have a technician check out the car for around $100 to $120 and it should take about an hour. They call this a point inspection. Some of them call it a 50 point others a 30 point but it will be able to tell you if anything is wrong with the car. When buying a car from a private owner it is always best to get it checked out from a technician before hand this way if anything is wrong with the car the current owner can take care of it before you purchase the car. Cheers, Amanda

Suzanne Grego, Technician at City of Philadelphia Fleet Management Athena Rose, I always suggest to have any vehicle checked out before you purchase it. Almost always, private sales are considered *as is*. A technician may have a small fee to look it over, but it can definitely save you money in the long run. If you do not already have a technician that you trust, Ask Patty has a list of female friendly shops. Simply tell the technician your situation and give them as much information as possible about your concerns. You can even have them look it over while they do an oil change. looking at it should be a minimal charge. Suzanne

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