What kind of problems should I look for
My car has 93500 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.
If the crankshaft position sensor has totally failed, the vehicle may not start which of course will make it very difficult to evaluate whether the car is a wise choice. The car should be running before you buy it, otherwise ask for a substantial discount in the price to cover the very real risk to you that the car has other problems which will have to be repaired at your expense if you buy the car. A "failing" sensor may still allow the car to operate but the engine may operate poorly, again making it difficult to evaluate the condition of the car. Crankshaft position sensors are not particularly costly to replace and thus one should be skeptical as to why the present owner hasn’t simply gotten that repair taken care of. Perhaps the car has other problems, of course, impossible for the new buyer to find if the engine is not even running.
A pre-purchase vehicle inspection is a good idea. That inspection, carried out by a certified Mechanic, dispatched to your location, will give you very specific data regarding any current problems that the car has. You have additional opportunities, too, to in evaluating particular used car models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a database of consumer complaints, official recalls and factory service bulletins for all makes and models, by year. I encourage you to go to the NHTSA website and enter the vehicle’s year, make and model and review the existing reports which will give you an excellent idea of what has been experienced by other owners insofar as faults in the particular make, model and year that you are interested in. I would post the text of the reports here, but they are detailed so it will be more practical for you to view them online (it is free). In addition, "Consumer Reports" publishes system by system vehicle reliability data for all years, makes, and models. This data is available free in the library or on-line if you are a paid subscriber. That reliability data will give you an excellent indication of the relative likelihood that key systems on the model (and year) of interest will fail at greater, or lesser, frequency compared to those rates reported for other vehicles. Obviously, what you want to be looking for in that database is an indication that the vehicle "make and model year" is not a "lemon" insofar as reliability. If you are unable to access any of these resources, or desire data of a different type, please do not hesitate for a moment to re-contact YourMechanic and we will assist you further in your attempts to make a wise used vehicle purchase.
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