Do These 7 Things After Driving A Used Car Home


Here are some recommendations to help you keep your car top-notch after you purchased it.

Used vehicles usually come with multiple unknown service histories, and you need to identify them as quickly as possible to prevent them from triggering further damage. The car may still shine brightly from the new layer of paint the old owner applies, but the filters and fluids may be nearing the end of their service life, and you must replace them fast. Many buyers state that they purchased used cars and found out that the cabin air filters were clogged with debris or missing filters.

Cases like these get you to think about what you need to do to ensure that the vehicle you purchase won’t break after you drive it home. This article presents some collective wisdom regarding the parts you need to replace once you purchase the vehicle.

1. Change the motor oil


Unless you’re sure the old owner changed the oil with a new golden one, it’s smart to change it immediately after you get home. The motor oil works as the engine’s lifeblood, which is the most expensive part in a car, and you should replace it with a new one after you bring the car home, so you can reset the change interval. Don’t forget to change the oil filter too. Check the owner’s manual to find out the change interval because now oils include additives that make them last longer. If you cannot find the information in the over’s manual, an article such as this one can help you figure out the car parts that wear out the fastest. Check:

2. Flush the engine coolant

Heat can easily damage the engine, so it requires a coolant to maintain its proper temperature. An overheated engine can trigger a catastrophic event because it can warp some parts beyond repair and destroy the gaskets. The engine in modern vehicles includes multiple metals, and the coolant isn’t changed in a long time; it can turn into an electrolyte that corrodes them. You should flush the coolant out and replace it with a new one every three years.

3. Replace the brake fluid


Brake fluids are usually glycol-based, and they can absorb water, which means they become hygroscopic. You must remove the moisture that contaminates the braking system to ensure it functions properly. The fluid in the braking system sops up moisture, and in time it thickens and becomes less able to fight corrosion and heat. As years pass it can overheat the callipers and cause damage to the braking system. Your used car is probably running on old brake fluid, so change it the moment you bring it home. Then it would help if you replaced it every three years to prevent it from boiling or causing corrosion.

4. Get a new battery

Everyone knows that batteries aren’t very robust nowadays because automakers prefer smaller batteries to boost fuel economy. This means that most of them die before the three-year warranty expires. You should check the battery’s date and replace it if it has passed more than a year since the old owner installed it. You can easily do it at home if you purchase it from a local parts store.

5. Change the air filters


Air is essential for a good combustion process, so after you bring the car home, check the engine’s filter and change it with a new one if it looks damaged. If the previous car owner changed the air filter less than a year ago, a tap on the ground will eject the dirt and debris and improve its functionality. If your car has permanent or long-life air filters made from cotton or foam gauze to trap the particles, you can clean them with a specially designed product. Check the user’s manual to find out what kind of air filters your vehicle has and how often you have to change it.

Some of the latest models of vehicles have a cabin air filter placed in the ventilation system behind the glove box, so you can easily reach it. Don’t be surprised by the amount of airborne particles these filters can capture; they sometimes even draw in insects and leaves. You can clean the filters or replace them with new ones from a local parts shop. It’s essential to change the filters regularly to maintain the engine and air conditioning system’s performance.

Changing the cabin air filter is one of the first things to do after bringing a used car home because who knows when the previous owner did it. And don’t go with the “if it looks clean, it’s fine” presupposition because sometimes air filters catch particles you cannot see with the bare eyes, but they can enter your respiratory system and cause health issues.

6. Change the transmission fluid

All mechanics recommend changing the transmission fluid after 10,000 km if you purchase a new car to remove the metallic debris produced during the manufacturing process. But when you buy a used vehicle, you need to replace the transmission fluid every 50,000 km. If you buy a car with a manual gearbox, change the lubricant every 80,000 km to maintain the parts in an optimal state.

Use the dipstick to check the fluid’s condition. If you notice foaming fluid, it can signal an overfilled case. However, when you feel a burnt smell, it can point out to high operating temperatures that can impact the autobox’s life.

7. Change the rotors and brakes


You want your car to stop when needed—replacing the rotors, brakes, and brake fluid guarantees that you drive in safe conditions. You don’t need mechanical skills to get the job done, but a visit to the local service shop can fix the problem if you don’t want to do it. It’s advisable to change the parts sooner than later because the last thing you need is the car not to stop when a kid or animal jumps in front of it.

And last but not least, you should also inspect the tires to determine if they are properly aligned and show signs of wear and tear. Mismatched tires are common in used vehicles, and you would want to know they don’t guarantee a safe ride before taking the car on the highway.