Used cars can sometimes be bought quite cheaply, especially when it comes to older cars. And you know what the most surprising thing is? Many older used cars are sold with a “like new” description in the ad. And many buyers believe it. Yes, it is possible to find normal old cars on the market, which look good and are technically still good and reliable. But, unfortunately, the condition of the majority of used cars is garbage. Therefore the process of purchase of an old car is not so simple as it can seem at first sight.
You won’t believe it, but there are a huge number of used vehicles on the market today whose owners don’t even know or mistakenly believe that regular oil change in the engine is a useless waste of money. Also, for many owners of old cars, smoky or black smoke from the exhaust pipe is quite normal. But you have to understand that by buying such a car, you are essentially throwing your money away since there is a risk of damaging the engine.
The second problem in the used cars market is the used old cars, which have undergone rough and low-quality repair. And, as is often the case, externally such cars are not so easy to identify, especially for dilettantes in car repair.
So, buying a car after a major repair, you not only condemn yourself to constant problems with the car, but the main thing is you become the owner of a dangerous car, which will not be able to protect you in case of an accident. It is not a secret that a car after low-quality and cheap body repair has no body rigidity, which was initially set by the car manufacturer. Also, during cheap repair after an accident, masters often do not install new airbags. You understand what it is worth for a new car owner.
But not all old cars are bad. Yes, of course, it’s almost impossible to find the perfect one. After all, who will sell an old car in perfection? It really is a rarity, and such cars leave the market in a few hours. So when looking for a used old car be prepared that all the cars will be in not the very good technical condition. But it doesn’t mean that there is no sense to buy an old car.
The whole point is that all old cars for sale on the market are different and naturally have a different technical condition. After all, it’s just like people who have different attitudes to their health. Someone already has a whole bunch of chronic diseases by the age of 40, and someone has never been to the local clinic. It’s true that part of our health depends on genetic factors, etc. But nevertheless, our attitude to health and our way of life play an important role.
Likewise with cars, not all cars released from the factory are reliable and of good quality. That is, some cars are initially stronger and of higher quality, while others come off the assembly line with various design errors made by engineers during the design process.
All the same, the main thing for the condition of any automobile is the human factor. That is how this or that owner treats the car. First of all, the condition of any car during operation is influenced by the style of driving, conditions of car use, annual mileage, quality of roads, fuel, oil, etc. The regularity of planned maintenance and quality of spare parts at repair is also important. And, of course, the condition of the car is influenced by the quality of repair work. We mean who repairs the car. You understand that the auto mechanic is not the same as the auto mechanic. In fact, in our country, there is a great number of unfair and not absolutely competent mechanics, which often become the reason for not absolutely old car’s technical condition, which reminds 50 years old.
So it is quite a difficult task to choose a used old car. But it is quite solvable. The main thing is to understand that the majority of old cars are not in very good technical condition. And you should be prepared for frequent problems with the car and periodic repairs.
It is important that this repair is reasonable and not global, which does not make sense. After all, sometimes, because of the poor technical condition of the old car, the cost of repairs can exceed the amount needed to purchase a fresher car. In such a case, such a car is not worth taking. If you already own such an old junk car, in this case, the best solution is to get rid of the problematic car, add money and buy a fresher car.
But how not run into a problem car on the market? After all, the risk of buying a “killed” old car is very high. You do understand that most owners of old cars decided to sell them for a reason. Yes, not always the owners of old cars sell them to get rid of the “hassle” associated with constant breakdowns and repairs. But still, more often, the owners of old cars put them for sale exactly because of their technical condition.
To make it easier for you to navigate the risky car market, we’ve gathered for you the Top 10 repair problems that make most car owners get rid of old cars (and not just old ones).
Thanks to this Top, you will know which cars on the market are worth avoiding in order to avoid the danger and risk of facing constant repairs and endless spending of huge sums of money. Once you know the most frequent repair problems that force car owners to sell their cars, you will know which cars you should never get involved with.
Road salt and chemicals are the main carcinogens for cars
When looking for an old car, you will face a big problem: where to get a car without any signs of body corrosion. All older cars have a tendency to rust, especially in areas where there is a lot of snow and sub-zero temperatures in winter. And the more the car was operated in such harsh conditions, the more likely that its body has signs of corrosion, which are often skillfully concealed from buyers with the help of pre-sale preparation.
First of all, corrosion of the car body is associated with road salt and de-icing agents that are used to treat the roads in winter. The more northern the region, the more often roads are treated with various anti-icing compounds. Correspondingly, cars used in winter regions begin to rot faster than cars used in southern regions with mild winters.
Sills of the car, underbody, arches, fenders, trunk, hood, and body gaps are most prone to corrosion. It is very expensive and often impractical to restore a rusted car, especially when it comes to corroded body parts that need to be cut off and then welded in new body components.
There is also no point in repairing a frame car if the frame has rotted away. Repair, in this case, can cost a lot of money. Also, with through car bottom corrosion, sometimes the repair is impossible. But corrosion is not like rust. If the old car has small spots of rust, it is still possible to fix it by stopping its spreading. So when choosing an old car, carefully examine its body. And if it has many signs of rust, we advise you not to mess with that car.
If when inspecting a used car you hear a knock in the engine (for example, as in the video above), then by no means buy this vehicle, because there is a possibility of serious problems with the power unit, for the elimination of which will require a lot of expenses. And this amount may even be more than the cost of the entire vehicle, especially when the engine problems cause the connecting rod to puncture the block. In this case, you will have to buy another engine.
After an accident, the geometry of the body is altered, or a frame is bent
If a car is involved in a serious accident with another car or flipped at speed into a ditch, the body geometry is likely to be altered as a result of a severe impact. That is, in fact, the impact will make the car body move. In this case, many car owners prefer to sell the car at once. More often, such cars are sold after reconditioning. Remember, even if the car, after a serious accident, returned to its original appearance, it does not mean the body geometry was restored. In any case, the rigidity of bodywork was already damaged after the serious accident, and even after quality bodywork repairs, the car may not be safe from the point of view of the automaker. So we always advise avoiding cars which were in serious accidents even if the car looks perfect on the outside.
New cars are generally not prone to electrical problems. Unless, of course, the wizards who installed the audio equipment and alarm system got into it. But it doesn’t mean that modern, fresh cars can’t have problems with wiring. It doesn’t matter what kind of car you want to buy – fresh or aged. In any case, before you buy a used car, always thoroughly check all the electrics.
When inspecting the car, be sure to carefully inspect the under-hood, where wiring problems are often caused by mice and rats that like to crawl under the hood and chew through the braided wires.
In this case, the car can start having huge wiring problems, ranging from various shorts to melting wiring.
If you see such problems with the car, do not purchase it under any circumstances. This is the risk of getting a long-term electrical wiring hassle and becoming a regular customer of an auto electrician. Yes, of course, if you only need to change a few wires in your old car, that’s one thing. But when we are talking about a whole bundle of damaged wires, it is better not to mess with such an auto.
The car starts to smoke a lot
Have you noticed many old cars on the road that smoke a lot? Do you know what their problem is? It clearly indicates a problem with the engine, which because of the high mileage, already shows signs of wear. Yes, of course, the smoke does not mean any serious engine breakdowns. But it all depends on what kind of smoke is coming from the chimney. To read how to find out which problems your car has, you can use the color of the smoke from the exhaust pipe, click here.
Naturally, according to the color of the smoke, you can conclude whether it is possible to buy such a car. For example, if the color of the smoke indicates a problem with the head block gasket, that’s still half the trouble. It is simple enough and not very expensive to replace the gasket. But if the color of the smoke indicates problems with piston rings or other components of the engine block, the cost of repair can be huge. So, in this case, buying such a car is out of the question.
Problems with the battery of a hybrid car
Today, the market for hybrid cars is replenished every year, including in our country, where slowly but surely the number of hybrid models is growing. In the near future, the number of offers for the sale of used hybrid cars will also increase. What is the first thing to pay attention to? What are the reasons why hybrid car owners get rid of the most often?
Of course, we can’t judge from our market, which is not yet so developed in the field of hybrid vehicles. But in the West, hybrid cars have already almost replaced dirty diesel cars. And according to global statistics, more often than not, owners of such vehicles sell cars because of problems with the main hybrid battery that powers the electric motor that works in tandem with the internal combustion engine.
Do you know why? The reason is that it costs a lot of money to replace the battery in a hybrid car because usually, the battery is located in a place where you have to dismantle half the car to get to it. Sometimes to get the old battery out of a hybrid car, you have to dismantle the entire interior. Do you have any idea how much that job costs? Not to mention the incredible cost of the battery itself. That’s why old Toyota Prius hybrids are depreciating so quickly in the used car market. Including in our country, where there cars are also quite a few. That’s why we don’t advise you to buy an old hybrid car unless you want to face an expensive battery replacement.
Problems with the gearbox
Remember that after the engine, the transmission is the second most important component of the car, which in case of problems can empty your wallet and deprive your savings. Therefore, when choosing a car on the market, pay close attention to the state of the transmission. After all, a transmission failure while driving is not only dangerous. Besides problems with transportation of the car with a broken gearbox (spending money for a tow truck), you risk investing big money to repair the gearbox, especially if we are talking about an automatic transmission and a more recent car that has a complex transmission with a lot of electronics.
So if you are going to buy an older car, give preference to simpler transmissions—for example, mechanics, which will be cheaper to rebuild.
Problems with the engine control module
The vehicle control module, or ECU, is the vehicle’s main onboard computer, consisting of the engine control unit (ECU) and the transmission control unit (TCU). The ECU also monitors the operation of all of the vehicle’s electrical and electronic systems.
Unfortunately, the risk of problems with this critical electronic device increases with time in older vehicles. And if it fails, your car will no longer be able to drive on the road. In that case, you need to buy a new unit.
However, installing a new unit is not an easy task. After all, after replacing the PCM unit, expensive adjustment of the new electronics is required, requiring extensive reprogramming of many systems. All in all, this is a global technical problem that will cost you a lot of money. This is why a thorough computer diagnostic is necessary before buying any used car.
Problem with the engine control unit wiring harness
Unlike the car wiring problems we mentioned above, a malfunction related to the engine control unit wiring harness is much more serious and can be a huge headache for the owner, and at the same time, lead to a lot of expenses.
A typical engine control unit wiring harness is made up of a huge number of small wires that are closely connected to each other. Typically, this wiring harness runs throughout the car in order for all of the car’s systems to work. The worst part is that if one little wire inside the harness gets damaged, it will be very, very hard to find the damage. Unless, of course, you can disassemble the whole car by pulling out the wiring harness. But this is unrealistic. Therefore, usually, when a wire inside the harness is broken or damaged, the whole harness is replaced. You understand that this is very expensive. Remember, this process is not cheap or easy. So a car with these problems should never be purchased.
The horrible smell inside the car
Often on the used car market, old cars are sold with a horrible, incomprehensible smell inside the interior. Usually, their owners convince salespeople that an inexpensive interior dry-cleaning at the nearest car wash is enough to remove the smell from the interior. But keep in mind that not all cabin odors can be easily removed. Sometimes in order to get rid of the unpleasant odor inside the car, you need an expensive dry cleaning. And not just one. It also happens that in order to get the smell out of the cabin, you must first disassemble the entire cabin, pulling out even the floor covering. You understand what such super cleaning can cost you. Or, for example, imagine that the smell in the cabin is due to the fact that a mouse crawled into the car vent from the street and died there. Guess what you have to do to get rid of the horrible smell in the cabin? Yes, yes, you have to disassemble half the car not only to get the mouse out but also to then clean all the interior trim materials from the horrible smell that has penetrated the fabrics, plastics, and flooring.