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    pre-purchase inspection

    i didnt write this but acclude on did all credit to him.

    Items to bring with you:
    A rag or two
    Some latex gloves if you don't want to dirty up your girly hands
    Phillips head screw driver
    Flat head screw driver
    8mm socket
    10mm socket
    A 3/8" ratchet
    A 3/8" extensions
    A 1/2 ratchet
    Spark plug socket (5/8")
    Jack & Stands
    19mm 1/2" drive socket
    21mm 1/2" drive socket
    1/2" drive breaker bar
    Maybe some other things if you want to get more involved but that's the basics

    First of all, look the car over quickly and decide if you would even consider buying it or not. If so, then take it on drive and see how it does and listen carefully for all noises and pay attention to the feedback it gives throught the steering wheels, floorboard, pedals, shifter (manual trans), & seats.

    What you or your mechanic should be checking:

    Body Damage - look at not only the panels, but the lines of the car and how body parts meet up. Most reapirs aren't done right or parts don't fit well so it's obvious if something has been replace or repaired. Dings and dents happen regularly but more serious damage should be weighed out.

    Rust - Particulary on the rear fenderwells. They are notorius for rusting out. Also look for rust under the hood especially on the front crossmember & near the ABS parts (if equipped). The rear trunk/hatch lids occassionally get rust but that is not so common. Also check the spare tire area in the trunk/hatch. They are notorious for collecting the water from leaks and eventually rust through but in the meantime look and smell like shit. Usual trunk leaks are from the taillights, antenna, rusted out fenderwells & sunroof drainage lines.

    Suspension Play - Raise the vehicle and try to move the wheel side to side & up and down. Do this on all 4 wheels. You are looking for any kind of play in the wheels. It will either be from a tie rod (inner or outer), and ball joint (upper or lower), the wheel bearing, or if it has any kind of aftermarket alignment parts they could cause it if broken or not installed right. Also look for broken boots on the axles and steering rack. These repairs usually run about $100-300 each including parts & labor so take that into consideration. ALso check the anti-sway bar bushings since these are usually the first to go bad.

    Brakes - If you can take the wheel off do so. You may not be able to take a wheel off and look at them, so use the flashlight to shine through the wheel and behind the wheel to look for grooves in the rotors, glazing, hotspots, or rust. Also check out pad life. Look for any brake line leaks as well. Drums are not as easy to check. You have to pull a wheel to do it properly so you may or may not be able to check them. Pulling up the e-brake can give you an idea of how they are set, but it will not give you any indication of pad life or condition.

    Tires - Tires can be expensive so look at them. Look for mismatched tires (dif. brands/models). That's usually a sign that the car has not been maintained properly. Look at the tread depths and tread wear. If they tires are wearing unevenly you have some alignment issue or tire pressure issue (also signs of bad maintenance). If it has 4 new tires on it, make sure they are not $30 crappy tires cause that's almost worse than bald tires. ALso make sure the wheels are not bent and that each wheel has all the lugnuts.

    Engine - Look for any kind of leak above and below. Leaks can be a bad thing and usually a sign of poor maintenance. They can be costly to repair depending on location. Don't buy a car with massive leaks unless the selling price reflects that issue and you are prepared to fix it immediately. Check the oil level, color and consistency. Thick, black oil and a low level is a sign of poor maintanence. Fresh oil and a good level is usually what you want to see.

    Check the belts for cracking, and amount of play. They shouldn't be too tight or too loose...hard to expalin, but you can feel for how much tension the belts have. Check the timing if belt if you can view it. If not, you can use the 10mm to take the upper timing cover off and look at it. It shouldn't be cracked or look extremely aged and shouldn't have much play at all. This can be a $500 job and much more than that if the belt breaks on you so it's worth popping the cover off to look at.

    Spark plugs, pull them out and look at the color, shape, and gap of them. No spark plug looks good after being used, but you can tell it if it is being cooked, run rich or lean, has bad rings/valve seals, and lots of other running characteristics. Look at how much crap is built up on the plugs. Usually a sign of oil leak or excessive carbon build up. Unevenly gapped plugs is a sign of poor maintenance. If you have a compression gauge you can test for compression to give you a better idea of the internal shape of the engine. While the plugs are out, you can shine the flashlight in the whole and look at the piston tops and cyl. walls. It requires you to manually turn the crank to adjust each cylinders piston height (19 or 21MM depending on year/model). This is optional but I like to do it.

    Transmission - Check the trans fluid level and color. For autos, just pull the dipstick and look. Shining the flashlight will let you see color and tiny particles better and always wipe the dipstick clean before reinserting. It should not be black and should not be thick (mercron atf). For manuals, it is more difficult. The fill plug is on the side of the trans housing and requires you to use a 1/2" drive ratchet to get it off. Once it's off, stick your pinky finger in there and measure the level and look at the color of it. It should also not be black or thick (10w30 oil). Look for scratches on the trans side and motor side of the frame rail. That's a sign that the motor/trans has been removed before. Not necessarily a bad thing, but you should find out the reason why it was pulled.

    Underhood - Check all other fluid levels and color. Do not forget to check the coolant level & color. Check for cut or blocked off vacuum lines. It's usually a sign that something has been removed (usually cause it stopped working). Look at how old the fuel filter looks and how rusted the bracket bolts are. If they are very rusted, chances are the filter has not been changed in a long time. Just do a good overall visual inspection under the hood.

    Interior - Check the dash lights. They should all come on when you put the key on and should all cut off after the engine is started (except e-brake of course). Some people remove bulbs to keep a light from coming on (like the check engine light) so average idiots would never know anything wasn't working normal. Also if the light stays on, it means there is something wrong with that system. Look for broken door handles. Very common and cheap so no big deal. Check headliner for any sunroof leaks (if equiped). Look for loose or misaligned panels (usually a sign that something's been messed with). Check the heat & A/C. Check turn signals and all lights. Check the horn (can be expensive to repair). Let the car warm up and idle normal and make sure the temp stays normal and the fans come on as usual. 5th gens particularly have a fuel level sending unit issue where the gauge tends to read a little higher than what is actuall in the tank so make sure you have plenty of gas when test driving or letting it idle. Check the pedal feel (not too much resistance but still ample spring-back).And also check the glovebox for any documentation about the vehicle (owners manual, receipts, maintenance log, etc). ALso ask the owner about documentation.

    Underneath - Check for dents or unusual bends in the frame rails. Check the exhaust for leaks (look for rust patches and black marks). A flashlight will help.

    There is still lots more you can check out. Some of what I listed may not be do-able for whatever reason, but the more thoroughly you check it out, the better decision you will make, and the more heat you put on the current owner which will help you bargain that asking price down a lot.

    I may add more if I think of other simple things to check for.
    Last edited by AccordWarrior; 10-20-2006, 10:42 AM.
    cant wait till im all done

    wow, this is a very different DIY, it's nice. Good for people that want to buy a new car already modded.


      bump for some good information
      -1992 Accord EX H22 234whp 185wtq
      -1993 Accord EX SOLD
      -1995 Accord EX Wagon Daily Driver
      -2012 GMC Canyon V8 4x4


        You can add a small magnet with some felt (to not scratch the paint) place the magnet in places to check for mady repairs. The magnet will not stick to bondo.


          Originally posted by 4thgenaccord
          You can add a small magnet with some felt (to not scratch the paint) place the magnet in places to check for mady repairs. The magnet will not stick to bondo.
          i heard bout that before but i think if u look at the body and it checks out then ur long as everything lines up with no gaps then im cool with it.
          cant wait till im all done


            Originally posted by 91accord2dr
            i heard bout that before but i think if u look at the body and it checks out then ur long as everything lines up with no gaps then im cool with it.

            Yeah, If the seller is honest abou tit. I once had a guy tell me the car had NEVER been in a wreck, and come to find out it had been rear ended.


              i hate dishonest ppl. the guy i bought my car from was and i will hurt him if i see him again.
              cant wait till im all done