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Q: Potential 84 380sl will be at dealership for checkup tomorrow. Car has 95,000 miles, if sound I will purchase, what should I be m

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Car is being examined at dealership prior to my purchase, what should I be most concerned with?

My car has 95000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Look for corrosion, improperly repaired cra...

Look for corrosion, improperly repaired crash damage, of course particularly on the frame, and other physical damage that is costly and burdensome to repair as well as any missing original parts. When you drive the car, ideally it should track straight with your hands OFF the wheel for a "distance" (1/16 to 1/8 mile or more is good), if not it will need suspension and alignment work. All other stuff is easy to fix in comparison. If the brake and fuel lines are corroded, they will likely all have to be replaced, possibly including the gas tank (not a big deal, but just keep it in mind and use Ni-Copp, or comparable, in all retrofitting). If you want to get a basic indication of the mechanical condition of the engine, get compression test results for each cylinder and look for basic uniformity from cylinder to cylinder and, of course, sufficient pressure. Unless it has already been restored, on any old car, basically you are going to have worn out "parts", particularly rubber seals, pulley bearings, brakes, and so forth. All of that is replaceable but if the car has lots of corrosion or ANY crash damage, unless it is some rare model, it is really not worth anything (except as a base for a laborious and costly restoration) so, again, if no "significant corrosion or damage" I wouldn’t be excessively worried about the mundane items, excepting of course that during a professional inspection, of the kind that YourMechanic performs, all deficits, no matter how "minor", are still thoroughly documented for you in a pre-purchase report. If you desire such an inspection and evaluation, by all means let us know. Any other concerns, or more detailed questions regarding the vehicle, please let us know.

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