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      AUTOMOTIVE TIPS - MR. E can help


                    USED CAR PURCHASE TIPS


Read this article from a undercover salesman who tells you the other side of the story.


My daughter needed a bit of help so for her this inspired me to share this.


Today we benefit from better oil and gasoline additives that keep engines and transmissions clean. Cars today last at least 100k miles and routinely get 200k miles and 10 years on the road. 



  1. Decide on Engine size. 4, 6, 8 Cylinder

      (Towing, Load Hauling, Economy, Etc)

  2. Pick a price range and payment you can afford

  3. Narrow selection to two different manufacturers and two models

  4. Do research on the web and forums : Engine, Recalls, Transmission, reviews.  I call it personality.

  5. Review on the web selection and price range to see what is available.

  6. Obtain Owners manuals online and check out specs and service

  7. If there is a Timing belt for the selection then what is the change time frame and mileage requirement.

Narrow Selection

  1. Test drive and look at the selections locally at different dealers

  2. make sure it is within the price range Check Affordability!

  3. Narrow down selection to a single make and model

Finalize Selection

  1. Pick two dealers

  2. If the auto has a MD State Inspection this is a link to the list of what is checked. (notice no engine or transmission check.  See tips below:

  3. CERTIFIED what does it mean: In general 5 year/ 60k cutoff, Warranty transfer to 100 k, 150 point inspection. MD inspection is pretty good. ~ 60 point inspection.

  4. TEST DRIVE CYCLES and OBD code reading tip: For the Engine light to come on if the system has been reset, drive 2 test cycles up to 55 MPH for at least 5 mins and a total of 15 mins times 2 test drive cycles. then read and record codes if any.

  5. Test auto fluids for the following:

    Milky, super dirty, water , condensation can mean issues, bad maint.

    Oil color and fill line (new is golden honey)

    Transmission oil color and fill line (red)

    Power Steering oil color and fill line

    Brake Fluid oil color and fill line

    Coolant color. Avoid rust, clear or dirty. could be sign of over heating

  6. Transmission Tests:

    Stall Test: Automatic

    Parking Break ON, Left Foot on Break, right on gas.

    Pick a gear press gas normally and record RPM when engine bogs down, or does not increase speed. Return to park, idle a minute to cool then repeat for each gear. (2000 ~ 2500 RPM)

    Drive test: Automatic Does it shift from 1,2,3,4 OD as it should?

    If driving at 30 mph, go from D to 1 and does it engine brake?

  7. Engine:

    Listen to sounds

    Belts in good condition, use flashlight to inspect

    Check inside the oil filler hole with a flashlight and note condition

    Can you get a compression test done? remove all plugs, throttle open test each cylinder  lowest needs to be within 10% of the others. Rings and valve test.

  8. Get a Car Fax report.


LAST but NOT LEAST - Purchase.

Get insurance and loan info before you go to the Dealer.


If going through a dealer:

You will meet the Salesperson, maybe the Gen Mgr

Once you say you want XYZ the Sales person will fill out forms

Then the trip to the Finance Office. Even if paying cash or having a check from another finance company you will still go through this step.

The person will offer all these add on:


Under coating and 5 yr protection on body. etc. Cars really do not rust and all have under coating.


Warranty : Does the current one transfer? How much and what does it cover? Most do not cover maintenance. If the auto is at 40K or more and has a timing belt, it will need service at 60k at about 500 to 1000$


What does the add on warranty cover? Is it backed by the dealer?

This will be your choice.


GAP insurance: Guaranteed Auto Protection. The difference between what your car insurance pays in a total loss and what you owe to the finance company. If you put down less than 20% or are under in your auto loan you need this. Call around before you go to the dealer to get the best rate.



 Under the new law, no one under age 21 can get a credit card unless a parent, guardian or spouse is willing to co-sign or unless the young adult has proof of sufficient income to cover the credit obligations.


At least start an account that has real money backing the credit card. Search for secured credit card. Some can be found for 300$.  Only use real banks for your protection. Put in 300$ and get a Card. Make a small purchase each month and pay it off in full each time. Add more to your credit line by backing it up with money up to 600$. Make sure they report to credit agencies.


Go to your local bank, sit down and speak with them. Tell them about your job, the hours and the income. See if they can offer help.



Will need to arrange for insurance if  your auto is financed. Including collision. Best way to bring down insurance cost is to increase your deductable.


    Resources & Links:

Free Credit Report. No Strings, no fees.

Buying a used car

MD STATE Inspection




TSB Technical Service Bulletins

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