Tip & How-To about Toyota Corolla

How to inspect a used car

Most used cars come "as-is" or with a limited warranty. Evaluate the price against the cost of needed repairs.A car should start easily and idle reasonably smoothly. Check that all warning lights come on when you turn the ignition and after completely starting the car, go off. Test drive the car for at least 10 miles show any warm-running problems.
Reject a car if:

  1. You hear the engine knocking.
  2. The oil or coolant warning lights come on or gauge readings are abnormal.
  3. An automatic transmission slips on acceleration, grinds or whines, or does not shift smoothly up and down.
  4. The clutch shudders or the manual transmission grinds, squeals, or jumps out of gear.
  5. There is more than 2 inches of steering wheel free play, roughness when you turn the wheel, or car wandering on smooth roads.
  6. The body shakes objectionably at speeds under 55 m.p.h. on decent roads.
  7. The exhaust blows blue smoke (oil) or it blows white smoke (water vapor) on a warm, dry day or for more than a few minutes on a cool day. black smoke is usually a minor fuel problem.
Checking out a car:
Brake hard at 25 m.p.h; the car should come to a straight stop. A car that rides poorly on bad roads is because of worn shock absorbers or that has poor braking will need work, but this may be normal for it's age. With the engine still running, look underneath the car/truck for an oil leak. Have a trustworthy mechanic evaluate any such leaks you find (prior to purchase). Check all accessories. Look for lubrication stickers on the door or under the hood for evidence of regular maintenance. Take the car to a professional mechanic, he can detect some problems, evaluate your road-test report, and tell you the cost of necessary repairs. If your state mandates an emissions test, he will be able to tell you if the car will pass or not.

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Hi, My SIL was driving our 2003 Taurus SW when it started smoking & the power steering quit working. We were advised that the vehicle needed a new PS (serpentine) belt but hours later were told that it also required a new AC compressor (or the belts would keep rubbing against the compresso & continue to break). Does this sound right and if so, can you give me a rough estmate of the cost? Thx

Hello, This problem can happen and whoever told you it needed a different compressor was correct.
Your A/C must have made noise or stopped worked for some length of time. There are a couple of ways to fix this, depending on how you fix it, will greatly affect the cost.

Brand new compressors are running from $190-$270. If you go online to Advance Autoparts, they are having a 25% off sale on them until Nov. 30th,2011. This would include free shipping or pickup locally. Used parts can be priced at Car-parts.com, an online used Salvage site that lists the prices upfront. They operate Nationally and ship to your door.

There are some other things that need to be done, supplemental damage costs, which include a new dryer (needed to get a warranty) and compressor oil, and recovery or replacement of Freon. I would guess the additional costs at another $300.

It is not impossible to find a Repair shop which will install the Compressor you bought separately. But it may be difficult because the Repair shops make money on what THEY BUY to install. You could specify that you want a used compressor installed and let them get it, knowing from your research of what a used compressor should cost.

Winter is coming and a company called Dorman makes a compressor bypass kit that Advance sells for $40. You could remove your broken compressor and save for the repair over Winter. I would estimate replacing the A/C Compressor for a total of $700-$800 if you have to pay someone to do everything. Less if using used parts.

I hope my solution is very helpful to you.

Sep 17, 2011 | 2003 Ford Taurus

1 Answer

Buyin car, guy says car has no reverse. How much should this cost

Trans repairs , if done properly, will cost from 2000-3500 dollars. Always ask for at least a 3yr/50k warranty. If they do not offer a real good warranty, try to find a trans shop that carries one. If not, please get back to me, and I will get you in touch with a vendor that does.

Jan 07, 2010 | 2005 Infiniti G35

1 Answer


Most repairs only carry a 30-day warranty. After that the monitor is subject to going out at any time. Then again, if the repair is done correctly, it could last for years. Check the cost of repair against the cost of a replacement monitor. Prices have come down drastically in the last 2-3 years, and you can pick up some real bargains. I just purchased an as-new 21-inch LCD for for $86 on eBay.

Dec 16, 2009 | Cars & Trucks

2 Answers

is replacing the power steering pump exspensive

Hello there:
no it is more cost efficient if you do it your self the cost of the pump for this car i have listed below to show you the price it would be more expensive if a shop had to do this
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Part No.
20497 spaclear.gif Cardone Power Steering Pump Power Steering Pump: Remanufactured; Without Reservoir Warranty: Limited Lifetime*

  • Ships in 1 day
spaclear.gif $42.99 spaclear.gif
$15.00 core spaclear.gif

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Dec 11, 2009 | 1996 Ford Taurus

2 Answers

I have a 2003 Ford Focus. It died on me last

HI here is a place you can get price for a used one www.car-parts.com a new one is from 360to 700 dollars

Sep 25, 2009 | 2003 Ford Focus

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