DIY | How to do your own pre-purchase car inspection

DIY | How to do your own pre-purchase car inspection


Hi, Randy Klaus here with Hagerty today
we’re going to give you a few pointers a few tips on what to look for while
purchasing a classic car so today we’re looking at a 1950 Willy’s Jeepster the
first thing I’m going to look at is I’m just going to walk around the car do a
quick visual I’m gonna look for chips scratches any rust just the general
condition of the body so let’s take a walk first thing I’m noticing is we got
a few minor scratches no big deal chrome looks good bumper you know
nothing’s really bent or really messed up at all I’m looking at the body seams
looking at the fenders looking at the door gaps just kinda in general looking
at the chrome looking to see if there’s anything missing anything that’s not
supposed to be there I’m noticing one thing right away here is the tires we
have one kind of tire on the ground and we have a different spare tire and the
spare tire is flat so that may be a concern really doesn’t look too bad
oh look at this see a big ol chip here in the door now typically metal doesn’t
chip typically metal will Bend if it opens up so let’s open the door and you
can see that there’s a great big chip out of this so that’s most likely means
there’s a bunch of bondo or plastic filler in the door so I’m going to go
ahead right now and I’m going to open the hood and let’s do a little quick
inspection under there just to make sure that everything looks in order one of
the first things I’m going to look for under the hood because I want to see
what kind of oil extension has does it is the oil running out of the key valve
covers it all over everything what kind of condition everything’s in in this
particular case somebody looks like they’ve done a very good job of
maintaining the car though I don’t see any real significant oil leaks on the
motor everything is nice and clean coolant hoses are in good shape
they’re pliable it’s got a newer battery in it with a newer cables on it battery
hold-down a good shape firewall looks good it’s got a new fuel
filter on it the air cleaner is is an original air
cleaner but it’s it’s nice and clean also I want to take a look at the engine
oil engine oil was nice and clean so what we don’t want to see is we don’t
want to see black thick oil in it we’d like to see nice clean oil
we’re from northern Michigan so rubber items stay pretty pretty pliable but in
the southern states and into the deserts the the heat really takes its toll on it
so what we’re really looking for on all the rubber hoses and the belts and
everything is just to look to see if they’re pliable squeeze them twist them
a little bit you know what you don’t want to feel is you don’t want to feel
hard hoses and you don’t want to see any cracking in them you know other than
that you know if there is hardness or cracking then a good indication that we
have to go ahead and change them up at some point another thing to look at in
the radiator is on the back side you want to make sure that the the radiator
fins themselves are in good order sometimes water pumps go bad and what
will happen is the fan will start wobbling and it’ll actually do damage to
the radiator so you just want to make sure that the radiator looks to be in
good order so let’s go ahead and start it up and see how it sounds so right off the bat I can see the fuel
coming into the fuel filter the fuel filters nice and clean
motor Riedel is pretty smooth they’re not all gonna idle perfect no real
dilute net noises or ticks snacks belts belts got a little bit of squeak but
they all do a little so just go around here and check one more thing inside the
car I can see that the oil pressure is running about 40 pounds at an idle which
is really good you know it’s charging so that kind of tells me the alternator is
good generator is good the other thing I want to do what sitting here is just
check the clutch so I put it in gear and I just want to see what it takes to make
the car move so really it’s about two inches off the floor it’s coming in
that’s about right so I don’t want to feel where there’s just a ton of play or
it’s a super hard clutch because either one of those could indicate it’s getting
time to either one of those could indicate it’s time to replace the clutch
but my next inspection is going to be jack up the front tire and check the
ball joint in the suspension very easy check to do and this particular card has
a leaf spring on the front end so I’m able to jack up on that and by jacking
up on that leaf spring what I’m going to do is I’m going to take any tension off
of the off the suspension components so now since I’m not gonna be under the car
I’m not gonna worry too much about a jack stand at this point so basically
all I’m really gonna do now is just taking that to tap in the bottom of the
tire I’m just gonna look for looseness and I can actually feel looseness and I
hear a clunk a little bit side to side but there’s more top and bottom
this car has kingpins in it so I’m going to assume it’s either a kingpin or a
wheel bearing issue again I don’t know that much about the cars right now to do
the diagnosis I’m just looking to see that there is somewhere so let’s go
ahead and check the other if you can’t do that yourself my
recommendation would be you’re probably going to want to find a mechanic that’s
gonna work on it I would try to get the car inspected by that mechanic that way
you have a good idea if anything’s wrong in the car just to be safe okay this
site actually has a little more movement so basically what that’s telling me is
knowing I’m going to be looking at investing some money into the front end
that’s got some worn parts so just you have to keep an open mind on the
purchase price that as we keep finding these things it obviously takes away
from the value of the car so along with doing a front suspension check we also
should do a light check check the headlights check the dimmer switch check
the turn signals check the brake lights just make sure all the lighting is good
working order so turn the light switch on okay I’ve got two headlights now in
this model of the parking lights this don’t work unless it’s in the parking
mode got tail lights good check the dimmer switch yup I have dim lights
that’s good I’ll turn these off to one notch and that should give me parking
lights up front yep those work so turn signals they are flashing very fast so
basically what that indicates to me is this probably got the wrong flasher in
it as time goes on a lot of a lot of folks will put the wrong flashers in and
they don’t have the right resistance so that means that the reef flasher will
flash too fast so what I asked here is a brake prop rod so I don’t have to have a
buddy come and hold my brake pedal for me I can just manually apply the brakes
and I have brake lights so all the lights pass test and on this car we have
something extra special we have a spotlight so this would have probably
been an option in a car so let’s see look at that it even works it’s functional so that’s that’s good
news so different options in the cars also are worth different values so if
you’re looking to buy something that’s that’s a really special car anything
that has four options always increases a value so this is the part where I’m not
totally scared of the car so mate I’m gonna probably want to go do a little
deeper look at it I happen to have a hoist here available to me but probably
those of you that don’t either you’re gonna need to get on the ground crawl
around underneath the car and do this inspection or drive it if you can to a
local repair shop and have them put it up in the air and do the under car
inspection for you so right now I’ve got it up about eye level and I’m already
starting to see some telltale signs of bodywork if we come up this fender and
we come across this body line right here you can see that it’s fading away it’s
got a kind of a hump here it’s got kind of and you can actually see right there
where the bondo is or the filler is inside so it what obviously the car’s
been repainted but at some point they’ve put a lot of bondo into this fender so
that’s not looking good for the home team here it’s going to be I have a
feeling that we’re gonna find a lot of bodywork in this car okay so I can see
right from here how we got a pretty decent line here and and all of a sudden
it just fades away a lot of a lot of body guys or a lot of people don’t do
any more repair than they have to when they’re doing these jobs they just do
the bare minimum up on top where you can see it but as you look down you can see
where there’s kinks there’s actually pieces of the fender missing lots of
bondo here and then I can see back here where they’ve actually replaced some of
the rocker panel that rocker panel should come through so this thing has
really had an extensive amount of bodywork done on it so another good
trick to use as the magnet now be really careful because obviously if you drag
magnets on the paint you can actually do damage to the paint but let’s we’ll
start right here go around this magnet is barely sticking to any of this metal
and this is a good strong magnet so it should take a lot to pull it off this door see it doesn’t even hardly
stick it all to the door so that means this doors probably full of bondo and
you can see the door fit see how it’s got a great big gap here and it’s real
thick so obviously that’s kept on doing it so let’s go around so look at that
there’s an absolutely no stick to this magnet whatsoever right there we’ve got
a little bit there none there none there you can hear the difference so
definitely a lot of bondo right here in this area no they did a pretty good job
of sanding it I don’t really see it in the paint a lot of times you can see
deformity I guess you’d say or you could see it but and this one they did a
pretty good job let’s take a peek underneath
oh my so we actually have rust holes we actually have great big gaping holes
under here so you can actually see the rocker panel or the repair they did you
can see the new metal on one side this is the old metal that’s where this this
panel should have ended and then it would look just above it and there’s a
great big rust holes just holes all the way through this whole side so in fact I
need some rust anyone also I’m seeing up here where they’ve actually used some
foam some spray foam to plug some holes so obviously there was a hole up there
and they were running through water puddles or something and the water was
actually running inside the car so how they repaired that was they just put
some spray foam in there not really the best in repairs look around in the back
it’s not looking too bad under here oh wow this is all bondo here in this
corner as well you can actually see the bondo where they brought that bond or
the plastic filler around the edge and there’s actually a line of it they never
even bothered to sand it off or flatten it off or anything so let’s go through
here and do some check-in magnet doesn’t stick it all up there and knot it all
down here at all so look at nothing there let’s just start sticking up here
a little bit so this whole area is been repaired bondo as well and then we’re
seeing the same on this side this this panel has been remade same rust on this
side so doors have been so from our from a body inspection the body is I would
say in pretty poor shape so depending on what you’re buying if you’re if you’re
buying a car thinking it’s a number one car this is probably a number four car
number one being a really super nice car showroom condition versus a number five
car which is a parts car I would label this is a four four and a half maybe a
five where because of all the body work that’s been done on it so the car
definitely has has less value than one that was properly repaired so just make
sure that that you you know what you’re buying so one more thing I’m going to
look at under here is just take a quick peek at the exhaust the exhaust out
looks good the shocks look good I mean they’re not seeing any leaking the no
bushings are worn out looking at the leaf springs I want what you don’t want
to see on the leaf spring is you don’t want to see a bunch of separation in the
springs you I want to be nice and tight you don’t want to see any cracking gas
tank has been repaired which isn’t uncommon no it’s dry there’s no fuel
leakage coming out of it also looking at the fuel lines the fuel lines are all
soft and pliable in fact this one’s just been replaced it looks like with new
clamps also I’m looking at brake lines while we’re under here just to make sure
that all our brake lines are in good working order they’re not
rusty so they look good as well general inspection underneath the front no real
signs of oil leaks so I would say this car has probably been maintained really
well it’s it’s just had because of Michigan it’s probably hid lived a rough
life with the weather so another thing we want to look at as long as we
especially since we have it in the air as the tires all the tires look like
they have pretty decent tread on all the tires from after 1980 they actually have
a date code stamped on them there’s going to be a d-o-t number some numbers
in a date code a three-digit date code means that they were produced before the
year 2000 if there’s a three-digit code like this one is to 9ol so that means
this tire was made the 29th week of 1980 there’s no if it was the 29th week of
1990 there should be a little diamond after the number which we don’t have
so typically tires they like to say six years six years to ten years on a tire
so these tires although there’d look in good condition
I would say they’re probably not safe for highway use anymore they should be
replaced so that’s another consideration just to look at the tires look at the
dates on the tires verify how old they are a newer tire after 2000 will have a
four-digit code the first two digits will be the week of the year it’s made
the second two digits will be the year so like if it said 4208 that would mean
it would be the 42nd week of 2008 that the tire was produced also on tires
along with the date we’d want to also look at a lot of times around the beat
area we’re gonna start seeing some cracking anything that’s been out in the
Sun and sun-baked you’re probably gonna see cracking going on any time you see
that they’re probably due to be replaced so another thing I’m going to inspect on
this is the convertible top some of these cars are just open cars some of
them have taps that come up so this one like
looking and it does have a convertible top so let’s uh let’s see what it’s
going to take to get at it really so basically when I ran into is the snap
itself did one on snap so I’m taking a screwdriver and I’m going on the back
side so I don’t rip the material and I was able to get a ton Hut on snap Wow bunch of them giving me a problem so you can slide that boot forward and
these usually just typically pick out well we can see that to the top is
actually looks like it’s in really good condition so with the top coming down
this this should actually be going clear out to the windshield so it needs to
grow about two inches or stretch two inches a lot of times these taps relax
after they’ve sat for a long period of time and it takes like sunlight and heat
to actually stretch them back out so but fabric wise it looks pretty good the
other thing I’m looking at is the bows all the material inside here it’s all
been freshly painted so at some point somebody’s done some work on the top so
that can be a very expensive piece to repair so that’s encouraging for the for
the tap another thing I noticed that it that it has is it’s got a universal car
cover so that’s a nice nice touch you know so that again tells me they must
care somewhat for the car if they’re willing to put a car cover on it
something else I’m noticing on the interior now is that the seats let’s put
this boot back down out of the way the seats are decent
they’ve got decent upholstery going on in it both front and rear but the side
panels are fiberglass and they should be a a cardboard with a vinyl over it so at
some point somebody has actually changed out these side panels – they’re just
fiberglass like bathroom enclosure pieces that they’ve cut out you know –
wise all the gauges are matching gauges all the knobs the choke the lights all
the knobs are there the dash is painted well so that part of the this part of
the car is I’m looking in really good shape
this car is showing a 94 352 so ninety four thousand three hundred and
fifty-two miles it’s been it’s been driven a lot keep in mind that with
odometers they can be switched from car to car so it’s a good thing to look at
them but you can’t always often trust them to be actual mileage another thing
to look at or think about is the tap is in good shape
but there should be some window glass and some door glass in the owner states
that they’re no longer with the car so that’s something that I’m gonna have to
find if I’m really seriously interested in the car
could be a very expensive find so we’ve done our walk-around we’ve done our
inspection of the interior and the motor we’ve heard it run that all seems to be
pretty good I think my next step now is is I want to see the title I want to see
that the title is in the seller’s name I want to see the title has no lien
against it and then I want to verify the the vehicle identification number on the
tag wherever it may be on the car to the VIN number on the title a lot of times
we run into where the either somebody has jumped title they’re selling it for
somebody else that can really become a problem when you go to register the car
if it’s not in the person that’s selling it to you if it’s not in their name or
if they don’t have a power of attorney to be selling the car for somebody else
a very important piece is to make sure the title is a good clean title thanks
for watching guys hope you found it informative if you have any comments
leave it on the section below

About the Author: Michael Flood

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