How to Check the Running Gear When Buying a Car

Car specialist better than anyone know how to check the running gear when buying a used car. But you can also detect the most serious problems yourself.

Let's figure out how to check the running gear when buying a used car, going through the all stages in the form of an easy-to-understand algorithm. However, we note that the suspension is one of those systems, the evaluation of which even for a new car will be largely subjective. It's all about the driver's personal preferences: how much he likes smooth driving, how much the acoustic comfort inside the car is necessary and what his handling requirements are.

The running gear of most mass-produced models is simple and generally serves for a long time today The running gear of most mass-produced models is simple and generally serves for a long time today

In some cars, the running gear is essentially so rigid that every bump can be felt. Such cars as Seats, some Citroens, and almost all coupes are equipped with such rigid running gear. The Daewoo Lanos, Renault Logan and Duster have a soft suspension which silently absorbs pits and asphalt dips. But these cars may seem badly-run on high-speed roads.

In general, what may seem convenient and smooth to one, may be assessed to others as a malfunction of shock absorbers and rubber-metal joints.

Therefore, we will try to tell only about those «symptoms» of the running gear that clearly indicate malfunctions or wear of parts. Finally, when you figure out how to check the running gear when buying a used car, you should remember that your main tools in this test are your own ears, feet on the pedals and hands on the steering wheel.

How to check the running gear

1. When preparing for a trial test drive, plan your route in advance. It should have sections with turns and bumps; it would be good to ride on paving stones, tram tracks. The asphalt road is less desirable, since there are no rough holes on it, and smoothed waves and ruts do not show most of the faults.

All together, consumables parts in the suspension rarely wear out. There are usually one or two details that are replaced more often than others All together, consumables parts in the suspension rarely wear out. There are usually one or two details that are replaced more often than others

2. On a flat road, the car should not diverge from a straight line, even if you do not hold the steering wheel. If the car pulls to the side, then at least the angles of the wheels are badly calibrated. But it can also be unevenly worn tires, worn parts of driving gear or the worst thing – skewed after the former accident body. In general, if the car diverges, then it definitely has to be checked in a car service center.

3. When the car is slowly rolling, gently press the brake and listen: at the moment of braking, there are sometimes backlashes in the form of clicks or light knocks in the suspension joints.

4. Slow down a little harder and pay attention to the steering wheel at higher speed. If the car diverges, then there are problems with the hydraulic braking mechanisms, or rather, with wheel cylinders or with the main cylinder. There should be no vibration on the steering wheel and brake pedal. If there is, then this may indicate deformation of the brake discs. A metal rattle indicates wear of the brake pads.

5. While in standstill with the running engine, press the brake pedal several times, it should have the same stop force each time. The pedal stroke should also not change.

6. On a rough road, a serviceable car makes only muffled sounds. Clanging, ringing, hard bumps and vibrations indicate that the car must be shown to the car service (however, this must be done with any purchased car).

Visual inspection of the running gear when choosing a used car makes sense only when there is a lift or observation pit. This way, as in the photo, it is difficult to notice something important Visual inspection of the running gear when choosing a used car makes sense only when there is a lift or observation pit. This way, as in the photo, it is difficult to notice something important

7. To test shock absorbers, the car needs to be shaken in a vertical plane, for example on a low curb or a speed bump. The car should not swing after this; the vibrations should immediately go out. Also, small tapping when driving on surface waves may speak of a loss in the effectiveness of shock absorbers, although this may also indicate wear on the suspension hinges— ball bearings, silent blocks, and bushings.

8. It is Important to check the condition of the wheel bearings, since they are replaced in many models only with the hub assembly. However, it is very difficult to do this by ear – their dull hum is difficult to distinguish from the noise of tires and transmission with an untrained ear.

In conclusion, it should be reminded that you need to show your new car to a car service center. At first glance, the configuration of the suspension is simpler than that of the engine or transmission. Repairing costs of the running gear can be quite expensive.

Related News

Sign up or log in to post a comment