when you bring a used car to a mechanic to have it check, what should you expect the mechanic to check? ?

There was one time I bring a used to a mechanic and all he did was scan for codes and visually check for damages. I'm not satisfied with that. I mean, I have a scan too. I can easily scan for codes check for damages myself. 

10 Answers

  • Jay P
    Lv 7
    2 months ago
    Favourite answer

    They will check whatever you ask them to check.  

    For example, if you have an alignment issue, they will check the steering and suspension components that affect alignment.  If you have a noisy exhaust, they will check the exhaust system...

    If you ask for a general check, they'll give the vehicle an overall inspection such as making sure the fluids are clean and proper levels, the brakes are still good, the tires have enough tread remaining, all the bulbs works, etc.  What you won't get is a detailed inspection of the entire vehicle as that would be far too time consuming.

  • 2 months ago

    Everything that you see on the checklist of a used car window sticker at a dealer.

    Little hint about dealers if all the check marks are in a row and the same color pen then say hummm... I've been to dealers where the smell of shampoo is fresh and the oil dipstick is still brown, a good old wash and turn. I asked a salesman why a used car that had just been thru the shop had 4 different brands of tires on it, he almost fainted.

  • Basically like a used car check over. Scan for DTCs, read readiness monitors to see if DTCs were possibly cleared before. Check fluid levels and condition. Put the car on the lift and check out the tires, brakes, steering and suspension, leaks, etc. Look for Jerry-rigged **** and fix it proper. Take it for a test drive and make sure everything works like the door locks, radio, air conditioning, windows, transmission shifts fine, noises, if it tracks straight.. Basic stuff. They don't get too crazy with it. 

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Basically everything - but, keep in mind he can't drive it for an extended period of time so if it burns oil or gets terrible gas mileage don't be mad at him.

    One thing many don't check and they should, is the readiness monitors in the computer. Some sellers may clear a check engine light right before they sell a car knowing full well the light will come back on a few days later. If you scan the computer you can check to see if the light has been recently cleared as the monitors won't be set yet.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Then, do it. You also want maintenance records. Some people will drive a year before changing the oil. Pull the wheels & look at the brakes. Pop the hood, Look at the belt & hoses. Oil on motor? Why? Run a refrig magnet across the doors & fenders. If it does not stick, why? Dents are just filled in with putty. If the interior is clean & the paint doesn't have problems, then the car has been cared for.

  • 2 months ago

    If that's what you asked him to do, that's what he'll do. If you want him to go deeper ask him.  It will of course cost you more. Simple. 

    Anyone can use a scanner and it will tell you what the fault codes are, if any.  Knowing what that means ,what the implications are and how to fix them is a different matter.

  • Barry
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    A mechanic will check what you ask him to check. A 'check' can mean many things.

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    You get it checked when something is broken on it or the CEL is on.  If you have a charging problem, he will check the alternator and battery.  He will NOT check the cooling system.  If it is not showing any symptoms, you leave it alone.

    If you are getting the mechanic when you buy a car, mechanic will have a checklist that he follows.

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    the mechanic should check the condition

    of the engine

    he should look for smoke from the exhaust

    to indicate engine burning oil, thats means

    piston rings are worn out

    he should listen to the engine at idle running

    for worn tappet noises

    then drive it around the block

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    That depends on what you want it checked for as well as the competence of the person you have taken it to. Also, not all code scanners are equal. You have a cheap generic scanner that only tells you what system is affected. Most qualified shops use very expensive, sophisticated scanners and other diagnostic tools that can determine far more things than your little cheapo scanner can do. But, the bottom line is usually how well you can articulate the problems you're having. If you cannot describe them knowledgeably and accurately, that leaves a lot of guesswork for the mechanic. It's also best to take your vehicle to someone with a lot of experience with that particular brand of car. 

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