If you are looking at a car that a private party has put up for sale, then you want to know what warning signs to look for. If you don't know what they are, then you can end up buying a car only to find out that you are dealing with mechanical issues shortly after purchasing it. Sometimes these issues can be ones that leave you out of a car and out of the money that you spent in order to buy that car. Here are some of the red flags you want to watch for when you go to check a car out:
The gears don't shift smoothly
If you notice that the car doesn't want to shift gears smoothly then you may be looking at transmission problems. A transmission can end up costing you a lot of money if it needs to be repaired or replaced. You should never buy a car that you fear may be showing any signs of transmission problems without first making absolutely sure that you have it checked out by a mechanic.
The car has a burning smell coming from it
If you notice any type of burning or smoke smell coming from the car while you are driving it then it can mean a number of things. It may simply be that the owner had recently put oil in the car and some of it got on the motor. Once the oil burns off the motor the problem will be solved. However, it may also indicate problems. There may be an oil leak that can be an easy fix or one that can be a bit more involved and expensive. If the valve cover gasket needs to be replaced, there can be quite a bit involved with getting to it, depending on the make and model of the car.
There are problems with the clutch
If you have difficulties with the clutch, then you want this checked out by a professional before buying the car. Clutches can be a costly repair and one that you may decide you would rather avoid altogether.
The car clunks when putting it into drive or reverse
If you go to put the car into drive or reverse and there is a big clunk that sounds and maybe even feels like the motor shifted, then it may have. This can indicate that one or more of the motor mounts are broken and need to be replaced. The time and cost involved in this depends on the model and make of the car, as well as how many of the motor mounts are actually damaged. A professional mechanic will need to look at it to let you know what's going on ad what kind of work and price you would be looking at.
Any time you fear there may be anything wrong with a car you are looking at, it's always best to make sure a mechanic goes over it before you commit to the purchase. It's also a good idea to take it into a mechanic anyways, they may be able to find something wrong with it even if you think the car seems fine.