You’ve heard everyone talk about them at one time or another. We’ve even see a few come into our Superior Automotive service departments and we hope you never have the misfortune of owing one. The Lemon. They are rare, but they do exist. A lemon is that car, truck or SUV that you just can’t get running right. When you fix one problem, another rears its ugly head. The sad part is that it may look gorgeous on the outside, but it’s what’s under the hood that determines whether, or not the car will be a money pit. Here are a few tips that I look for when taking that potential used car for a test drive:
1) Pull out the oil dipstick while the engine is running – DO NOT rev the engine! Watch the dipstick’s hole as the engine idles; if you hear or see any air, gas or oil escaping the dipstick holder it means the rings are worn. A slight escape of air from the dipstick is the first stage of ring failure which is not a serious problem but will get worse until gas and oil start escaping the dipstick holder. The result is less power and leaking oil in the pump.
2) Look at the exhaust pipe while the car is running. White smoke from the exhaust indicates there’s engine oil remaining on the bore that the rings haven’t scraped off, which means oil could be leaking. Black smoke means the fuel injectors are dirty on a diesel engine.
3) Remove the radiator cap and check for oil. Oil in the water also means a cracked cylinder head.
4) Have a pre-purchase inspection performed! A compression test should also be done for failing rings on any used vehicle. This test requires a trained mechanic because of the equipment used and the test is complicated. The readings must be done ‘dry’ and ‘wet’, and it even depends on if you are above or below sea level.
The bottom line is, “Do your Homework!”
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to see and Superior Automotive Group location and take a look at our great selection of pre-owned.