[Writer Summer Fanous, right, grew up around cars thanks to her father, left in blue coat, and his experiences in the auto repair business. (Supplied)]
Ah…that distinct smell of car grease. It’s the scent that always lingered in my dad’s work clothes.
My dad would come home late from working a 14-hour day and still make time to talk shop. As a mechanic and business owner for over 30 years, my pops has a plethora of knowledge piled up in his brain, especially when it comes to automobiles. As a mechanic’s daughter, I’ve learned some valuable lessons throughout the years that are worth passing on to those who weren’t lucky enough to have a dad in the industry.
1. Your car is a machine
Driver’s permit in my purse, I sat behind the wheel, car in park while my dad explained to me that automobiles don’t have emotions. They rely on the driver to wisely operate and maneuver. In order to avoid accidents, one must always pay attention to the road and its conditions. Even in the current day and age where there are electric cars, fully capable of transporting passengers with the push of a button, they are still pretty new. There are lots of bugs that need to be fixed and manufacturers are still in the process of perfecting the electric vehicle.
2. Always test drive the vehicle and have it looked at
Before purchasing a car, signing documents or putting any money down, always take it for a test drive and get a thorough check done. Whenever anyone talked about wanting to purchase a used vehicle in front of him, he always advised having it checked out by a local mechanic. Find a trusted shop that will inspect the suspension, brakes, engine, transmission and all the fluids.
3. Beware of red flags
A car with a bad engine and/or transmission is pretty much a lemon. Unless you’re thinking about purchasing the car for the exterior and plan on rebuilding the insides, like in the case of muscle cars, it’s probably best to avoid buying a car with a bad engine. That and the transmission are the costliest things to repair in a car.
4. The art of the deal
Unless you’re extremely picky, cosmetic imperfections shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Scratches, minor dings, dents and missing hubcaps can be your friend and great bargaining chips, especially since they can be fixed later on for a little money. If you need a vehicle to move you from point A to point B, a less than perfect-looking ride might be your best bet. As long as the mechanical parts are functioning properly, you’re good to go.
5. Get everything in writing
Never rely on the “word” of a car salesman. If it’s not an AS-IS sale, inquire about potential warranties and make sure you get all your guarantees in writing.
Remember, cars don’t have emotions. Even if you’re in love with the red, two-door sports car, get it checked out first, avoid suspicious problems, negotiate a better rate for yourself and get it all in writing.