Our 27 Point Vehicle Inspection: Major Systems
and Components - Engine, Transmission, Brakes, Steering, Starting and Charging,
Heating and Cooling, Lighting, Drive Cycle Test
Engine: Rough idling or poor performance may indicate a need for minor repairs only. Abnormal noises or smoke could be a sign of worn or damaged engine parts. Active fluid leaks or broken motor mounts, left un-repaired, can lead to further, more costly future repairs. Minor oil leaks are common on older vehicles, but any leak should be inspected and diagnosed.
Transmission: Transmissions or clutches that are slow to engage or shift very harshly generally indicate worn parts that may require repair or replacement. Fluid leaks may lead to premature transmission failure; broken transmission mounts can damage other components including drive shafts and exhaust systems.
Steering System: Loose or binding steering indicates worn parts that can cause poor alignment and premature tire wear. Cracked or broken grease boots can cause premature part failure.
Starting System: Slow cranking, hard starting or noisy starter operation can indicate a potential no-start condition that may leave you stranded down the road.
Heat/AC: Inadequate or misdirected airflow from the ventilation system not only affects passenger comfort, it also compromises defroster operation. Insufficient heat inside the passenger compartment often means there is a larger problem under the hood.
Interior/Exterior Lighting: Adequate lighting is a safety concern both outside and inside the vehicle. Inoperative turn signals or stop lamps are potential traffic hazards. Multiple burned-out bulbs may indicate an underlying electrical problem.
Under-the-Hood Items - Battery, Radiator, Water Pump, Air Filter, Belts and Hoses
Battery/Cables: Corroded battery terminals or cables rob your engine of starting power. Missing battery hold-downs or insulation may cause premature battery failure. A battery not meeting CCA (cold cranking amp) specifications may leave you stranded without warning.
Radiator: Corroded, clogged, or leaking radiators are a significant cause of vehicle breakdowns. Overheating often causes severe damage to today's modern engines.
Water Pump: Visible leakage or abnormal noises are usually a sign of internal pump damage. Poor coolant flow may damage the cooling system and other engine components.
Air Filter: Dirty air filters contribute to poor engine performance and lower fuel mileage. Missing or damaged filters allow dirt directly into the engine and may cause premature engine wear.
Belts (except Timing Belts): Badly cracked or frayed belts should always be replaced. Most modern vehicles use just one belt to operate the water pump, alternator, power steering pump, and A/C. Broken belts can cause overheating, electrical, and steering system failure, leading to roadside breakdowns.
Coolant Hoses: Hoses that are cracked, brittle, or spongy are likely to fail soon. Ruptured hoses cause leaks and engine overheating. Technicians are also trained to look for hoses that may be damaged, restricted, or misrouted.
Fluids - Engine Oil, Coolant, Transmission, Power Steering, Brake, Windshield Washer
Engine Oil: Regular oil changes are the best protection against internal engine damage. Clean, quality oil also helps reduce emissions and improve fuel mileage.
Coolant: Replacing engine coolant renews corrosion protections for the radiator, water pump, and coolant system gaskets while maintaining both freeze and boil-over protection.
Transmission Fluid: Regular replacement of transmission fluid protects the transmission the same way that oil changes help protect your vehicle's engine against costly repairs.
Power Steering Fluid: Power steering fluid replacement removes built-up deposits that can cause premature wear to rubber seals and metal power steering components.
Brake Fluid: Replacing the brake fluid helps maintain correct pedal pressure and prevent corrosion deposits from forming on Anti-lock Brake System pumps and other brake hydraulic parts.
Window Washer Fluid: Topped-off window washer fluid reservoirs are necessary for clear visibility in all types of driving conditions. For clearing bugs to road salt, washer fluid is a must-have.
Under-the-Vehicle Items - Shocks and Struts, Brake and Fuel Lines, Exhaust System, Driveline
Shocks & Struts: Worn or badly leaking shocks and struts can cause braking problems and premature suspension wear. A cracked or broken mount will cause noise over bumps.
Brake Line/Hoses: Road conditions and undercarriage corrosion can cause cracks or wear in the steel lines and rubber hoses that carry brake fluid underneath your vehicle. A leaking brake line may cause loss of brake pressure to the entire braking system.
Fuel Lines/Hoses: Road conditions and undercarriage corrosion can cause cracks or wear in the steel lines and rubber hoses that carry fuel underneath your vehicle. Leaking fuel lines are potential safety hazards.
Exhaust System: Leaks, rattles, broken clamps or hangers are all potential exhaust system conditions. The entire system from engine manifold to tailpipe should be inspected. Leaking exhaust fumes can enter the passenger compartment. Even a small exhaust leak can affect engine performance and result in higher pollution emissions.
Driveline: Un-lubricated, noisy CV joints or U-joints are likely to fail soon. A torn CV boot indicates probable CV joint damage. Cracked boots or missing clamps may be repairable. A broken driveline component will allow the engine to run, but the vehicle may not move.
Tires - Tread Depth, Wear Patterns, Inflation Pressure, Overall Condition
Tires: Proper inflation, regular rotation, and frequent evaluation are your best defense against premature tire failure. Worn, damaged, or improperly inflated tires may cause longer braking distances, decreased fuel mileage, and even alter your vehicle's ride and handling. Always follow your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations for proper tire size, inflation rates, and rotation intervals. Frequent tire evaluation can spot tire wear or damage caused by road debris, alignment conditions, or improper tire maintenance.