Here’s How a Mechanic Checks and Buys a Car

Here’s How a Mechanic Checks and Buys a Car


rev up your engines today I’m gonna show
you how to totally check out a used car before you buy it
I’ll show you everything I do when I check it out now in this case the 2017
Jeep Compass 4-wheel Drive and anybody knows maybe I tell somebody not to buy
this thing in the first place but I’m an honest mechanic the guy has bought it
from one of these places where they give you a seven-day guarantee and if the
mechanics says that it’s got problems they give him their money back so he’s
already bought it but it’s still within the window or the seven days so I am
going to honestly check everything to see what kind of shape it’s enough even
though I myself would never personally buy such a car the first thing I look
for is wreck damage and that’s where this little paint gauge comes in handy
I can check various areas of the paint to see if it’s been repainted look for
colors and look for thickness changes now just by looking I can tell that this
is slightly a different color than this so I know it’s been wrecked here for
sure because when I measure the paint on this side it’s 6.15 mils but measuring
on this backside here it’s a point two five mils this is been repainted and if
you look closer you see then a crappy job right here paints already starting
to chip off and starting to rust and just overall you can see the sloppy work
that’s done on these cars this is 6.45 here 7.5 there 6.0 on the
other side here and down here it’s 4.6 here we’re probably talking mainly of
the sloppy job that Jeep does when they paint him in the first place
I’ve getting these new ones myself brand spanking new the customer buys them
bring them over here they got 20 miles on it and I can often find great
variations in the paint thickness in one area it just means that they painted
them like crap showing the low quality of fiat-chrysler
to begin with but after all it’s just paint if you don’t mind a little chip
here and there and that it’s thick in one part and thin in another and you
like the vehicle well that’s no reason to actually not buy something but it
does show that it wasn’t built that well and that it has been Canton painted on
that one corner at least when you get things in the sevens things in the sixes it really was either painted poorly in the back to begin with
or more often it was wrecked in the side in the back and they did a crappy job
painting both the side and the back but then again that’s cosmetic stuff I tell
the customer they can make a decision what they want to do on it maybe try to
get in to lower the price because they better act or something if they wouldn’t
tell it was wrecked but the main thing is checking it electronically and
mechanically with my giant scan tool we’re just open the door and plug it in
then turn the key on so it has power and click diagnosis
click the automatic selection read the VIN
there’s the VIN ok got all the information right and we’ll do a full
diagnosis of Auto scan it takes a while but it checks an awful lot of stuff now
so far I found two problems one in the central gateway there’s a fault and
another one in the tire pressure monitoring system and in this case it’s
a mild problem c1,000 brake pedal switch circuit performance I often see
these things when they said awhile so I’m gonna race this one got turn the
engine off there yes not gonna erase the code so i one point I’m at at low tire
pressure will reset that to when we road test that we’ll see if any other codes
come back and now I’m gonna do a big test that I do when I check out these
cars I’m gonna look at all the live data there’s a lot of debt a lot of
information this is where you need a mechanic like me why say I always pay
him to check out cuz there’s a lot of data and I’m going through an analyzing
as I look for it but luckily if it’s really bad this system is color coded so
if it’s got yellow or red that means that there’s a serious problem and it
will often make them bold in bold so you don’t miss them so here’s what I
have to analyze I look at all the stuff so far everything I see is pretty normal
but there is a lot of information on these things it can tell you if there’s
a problem or not you just have to look at all this data and a good mechanic
knows how to analyze it you can see minor cars are getting more
and more and more complex that’s why you need a machine like this and the
mechanic knows what he’s doing what he’s checking out a used car for you you
can’t trust anyone and you can’t trust anything except the live data and how
its analyzed by somebody who knows what they’re doing it has a machine like this
of course that will give you problems and they’ll be color coded so far
everything look fine and that as the engine control module now I’m going to
look at the transmission control module because these things are notorious is
the age to get transmission problems but coming really this thing only has 30,000
miles on it so we’re hoping there’s nothing else so we’ll go to the
transmission control module click OK and then we’re gonna analyze the live data
for that and here comes all the live data and as usual I have to look at it
and see if there’s any bad data this is where a mechanic who knows what he’s
doing it’s very important now it didn’t show any bad data that’s a good thing and when you are fixing the cars you also need a machine like that because you got
to do bidirectional testing of solenoids and switches and stuff so really modern
cars you need a good mechanic to check it out
either when you’re getting a checked out for purchase used or fixing that they’re
no longer my grandfather’s day where you got a hammer and a screwdriver and bash
things to fix them low stakes are pretty much gone of course you can’t trust
anybody so you gotta check all the windows make sure they all go up and
down front and back and then back on the other side and then go outside have the
headlights check all the turn signals make sure everything’s working because
stuff can be hidden that you’ll miss maybe it’s just a bulb that’s not
working but it could be even worse so always check everything and a wiper
blades and of course you want to make sure an air conditioning works get a
little thermometer turn the a/c on full blast recirculate it cause the door
maybe five minutes see how cold it gets make sure the fans are coming on
these are blond nice and fast who look for the air-conditioning hey here we go
inside now let’s see how cold it got about 40 degrees that’s pretty cold 99
degrees outside here in Houston so this got down to 40 the a/c is working
perfectly fine now I already know that this is been repainted hey maybe it was
just a little minor stuff so we’re gonna check is the distance between the tire
and the front that’s four fingers now we’ll check the other side four fingers
again so it hasn’t twisted the frame or anything
now changing off the owner just called me on the phone and said he was worried
about our shift it’s so we’re gonna take it for a ride and see how chips realize
that they weren’t on transmission close and the data looked okay but this is a
Jeep and they have notoriously crappy transmissions they don’t shift that well
I’ve rented them in the past and I’ve running them with four or five thousand
miles on when I started sure crappy even then so we’ll take it out on highway and
see how it’s shifted he said that when he let go of it at
certain speeds he kind of feel a little jiggle in it I can feel it right now
when it goes down and jiggles a little bit pretty much normal for these Jeeps
especially when you slow down and come to a stop you’ll often feel the
transmission go a little bit squirrelly on these jeeps we’ll see what it does
when we take off yeah a little bump there but nothing
outrageous these six-speed ZF automatic transmissions slip and slide when you’re
driving them around this one actually is less than most I mean you can feel a
little they’re kind of sloppy slippy shifts that they have but this one’s
working pretty much as it was designed and I say it’s nothing special and as
they age they can be really expensive pains but this particular one isn’t
falling apart yet yeah it’s got a little bit of a slip in a little clunk once in
a while but that’s pretty much normal for these things so that’s pretty much
up to the costumer I didn’t find anything serious wrong with it other
than a bent hip and repainted in a few spots but everything in it works pretty
good I tried the four-wheel drive that worked fine so if he wants to keep and
even go ahead and keep it like I said I wouldn’t a buy it myself but I checked
it out professionally and honestly and this one is this good shape as I’ve ever
seen one that had 30,000 miles on so if you never want to miss another one
of my new car repair videos, remember to ring that Bell

About the Author: Michael Flood

100 Comments

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  2. Scotty, how much would you charge to do an engine swap and reprogram in a 2002 Dodge ram 1500. I want to pull the stock engine and put a stroker in. AZ truck so no rust. It also has a new transmission in it as of 2000 miles ago. I need more torque for towing. I've done a lot of work on this truck and would hate to just throw it away and go put myself in debt on a new one.

  3. was that downtown Houston or Dallas ? Last time I was in dallas Obama was in town an they shut down the whole entire downtown an was stuck at the bus station a good 4 – 5 hours ….ugh  what a mess that was

  4. Scotty will tell the customer to return it because it's a Jeep and get a Toyota. Shortly after buying it, it will start to have problems and the 7 days money back guarantee is long gone.

  5. Scotty will tell the customer to return it because it's a Jeep and get a Toyota. Shortly after buying it, it will start to have problems and the 7 days money back guarantee is long gone.

  6. Another great video that's going to help us NOT get screwed.

    Scotty you provide a great service to us all, thank you!

  7. I bought my used car in April. It had the state inspection in March. I had a pre-purchase inspection done by Your Mechanic. A couple of weeks after I bought it, I was surprised to find out my horn doesn’t work. It checked out ok on the state inspection. A little annoyed with that. I noticed about a week ago that when I hit the horn, (just checking it again), the instrument panel lights go off for a second. Gonna have to research that.

  8. I also check few more things, like: lift each corner and check for any play with the wheel/suspension, look for any leakage in the engine/transmission/differential/steering rack/shocks, look for suspension and steering components wear, and tire uneven wear. It always boggles my mind people spend hard earned thousands, but don't want to spend $100 on a mechanic check.

  9. I love Scotty and he is such a honest and reliable mechanic but to be honest watching all his videos and advice on cars it actually makes me not want a car at all. My opinion is if I listened to every little thing he said than I could count on one hand which make and model of cars there are that are reliable and that I just do not agree with. No offence to Scotty just my honest opinion.

  10. Air Filter I usually don't bother with since they're usually cheap and easy to change yourself. Once I get it, if it isn't brand new I'll usually just throw a new one in anyway. Same with the engine oil, though I always check that before AND AFTER the test drive. Mainly checking for fuel or coolant in it. And on a test drive, always drive it with both the A/C on and off. I've seen sellers that leave the A/C on at full blast to mask problems.

  11. Hi Scotty, I know you don't have a soft spot for Jeeps or other Chrysler products (and really, neither do I), but what do you think of the old Jeep Cherokee XJ? I have one and love it. It doesn't have a bunch of fancy electronics on it to break and it's got the straight six engine. I've found it to be much tougher and better made than many modern cars. Generally the only problems I've had with my Cherokee are ones that I have caused by less-than-professional wrench turning. 🙂

  12. If you live in an emissions compliant area you need atleast an emissions monitor scanner like the autel AL319 when looking at used cars. its cheap, like $35, and it will tell you if someone tried to reset the computer codes and check engine light by disconnecting the battery (all of the tests will be "incomplete"). Leave the tablet scanner at home.

  13. I bought a used car where the owner pulled the fuse for the check engine light. It was a Toyota Camry. I was stupid, because with those cars as soon as you turn the key to the on position before starting all of the dash lights come one including the check engine light. You can't trust anybody always use a scan tool to check out used cars!

  14. Hey scotty I have a 2007 Honda Civic Si and the P0172 system too rich bank one code keeps coming on and off, my mechanic says it’s because i have no catalytic converter what do you think? The car has 170k miles, engine 110k, and trans around 100k you think this car will be reliable?

  15. I went check a car out at a car lot. The pictures looked nice but as soon as I got there there was so much that wasn’t shown. The quarter panels were rusted and fixed with a shitty bondo job that started to crack that they covered with duct tape. The patched some holes with duct tape. I asked the guy how much he wanted and he said $1,500 I told him it’s a bit expensive since it’s so beat and he told me that he didn’t want to sell me the car anymore and to go on the other side of the lot to the railroad track and hop on the first train to make belief land because there’s no way I’m getting a good car for under $1,500 even though it was junk.

  16. Basically what Scotty is trying to say is that this POS tranny is great shape for a FIat and has another 70,000 miles of life left in it.

  17. I used my cheap iobd2 scantool when i was shopping for a vehicle last time. I noticed one of them had a slight hickup at idle once a while. Plugged it in, boom, -17 LTFT. Left that thing instantly.

  18. At 8:41 that part was pretty fantastic actually. I've been having a rough week and that little tune 🎶 just made my life a little better. Tha k you Scotty for the longer videos!! Keep up the honest and honorable work!

  19. Every time my friend brought home a late-90s Jeep Grand Cherokee from auction, the first thing I'd ask him when he showed it to me: "does the rear windshield wiper work?"

  20. Scotty dont alot of vehicles have these scanners built into the electronics in the dash?
    i had a 2003 dodge truck and a 1997 ford f150 and i cant remmeber which but one could check which codes were going off by turning on the key 3 times and holding the dash info button or some crazy thing like that.
    i tried it and it worked….

  21. Forgot to also list Check the Cabin Air filter and spare tire plus accessories need to do change of tire/tow and if it had Key for lug nut if they have antitheft lug nut. When I got 2014 Scion tC which I bought used they forgot to put a new cabin air filter and missing the tow adapter.

  22. This vehicle was a former rental car. What gives it away:

    1. Rental car companies get rid of their vehicles at 30,000 – 40,000 miles, even earlier if the resale value is crappy for the vehicle. This one is right at 30,000.

    2. The Enterprise/National/Alamo sticker in the windshield, which is just a repeat of the VIN with a barcode added.

    And I know this from experience. I've worked in the rental car industry for many years. Including the aforementioned dirty bitches…

  23. Scottie’s daughter is about to marry some guy and Scottie says WAIT let me hook up my $5000 scan tool to see if he’s got any bad codes in his past. 😀

  24. I know 2 separate people that have jeep compass, both have over 200000 miles on them only ever needed water pumps and fron cv joints besides that they r still running great.

  25. It puzzles me that people actually buy a vehicle like this with all the cool amazing choices out there, some people are just lame as hell..

  26. Scotty, I have a 2015 F-150 v8 flex fuel. I get the best mpg with 91 octane but it costs .15cents a mile. Worst mpg with E-85 but it only costs .12cents a mile and my truck loves it. Will E-85 reduce my engine life or cause any long term issues?

  27. Haha…it isn't just Jeep with crappy paint jobs.Try almost any large panel shop aligned with insurance companies that isn't a family owned/operated outfit that prides itself on excellent work.Speaking from experience on several cars/repair jobs.

  28. Scotty finally got to use his $5000 scan tool. Lol. It's only got 30k miles but I bet by the time it's 80k the owner will be replacing his first transmission amd wishing he never bought this Jeep/Chrysler/Fiat crap. Future job security for Scotty fixing this jeep. Haha!

  29. I'm sure it's been covered by now in comments, but…Leaks/seeps for engine, coolant, trans and diffs, brake pads/rotors, bushings, ticks/knocks, checking for physical damages both external and internal, etc? Could have 30wt oil in it to hide issues, lol.

  30. Fiat and Chrysler were crap before they even merged. Should you not put it up on the lift and look under it for any fluid, or oil leaks? Cracked CV boots and check the front end for any joints which may be worn out? I always look at the air cleaner if its really dirty that indicates someone didn't' maintain it very well. Same with the brake fluid if it looks like old pot of tea same thing poor maintenance.

  31. picking up my current car in may, I got myself an 06 ford falcon (about 170,000 miles) with dedicated LPG. first thing I checked was oil and coolant, then I jumped inside, tested all the windows and ran the diagnostics tests / checked for codes with forscan on my phone and my $20 obd tool before test driving and checking for new codes. all was good, I bought it, and I freakin love this car!
    but hey, I wouldn't have had a clue where to start if not for your videos over the years scotty

    surprisingly my forscan / obd tool combination is better than some mechanics, as a friend of mine took her 03 focus to a mechanic regarding the trans being a bit weird (suspected solenoid fault) and they told her that it was definitely a solenoid but couldn't tell her which one… 20 seconds later, "hey look, it's solenoids C and D" which I myself thought was unusual as its A and/or B that seem to usually crap out. luckily for my friend it's an easy fix when she gets the trans serviced next

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