Watch Out For Problem Vehicles At The Used Car Dealerships In Orange County

In Orange County, people go used car shopping every day, and there are plenty of dealerships that will be happy to compete for your business. You should have some idea of the make and model of car you want before you take any test drives. Apart from that, though, you should know what to look for which could be a potential warning that the car you’re considering isn’t worth the price tag because it’s likely to need repairs soon. Here are some of those warning signs.


Coolant Leaks

If the bottom of the radiator is wet from coolant, then that probably means some repair work will be needed soon, Orange County residents, so you’re going to want to look at a different option. Any leaks are indicative of trouble, but coolant leaks mean your radiator may need to be replaced, and that’s not a cheap fix.

Has the Timing or Serpentine Belt Been Replaced?

If you have a car for long enough and you drive it a lot then probably at some point the timing or the serpentine belt will need to be replaced. However, if a vehicle at the used car dealerships is less than four years old but either of those has already been switched out for a new one then you should proceed with caution. It’s good that a worn out timing or serpentine belt has been replaced before you buy the car, but if that was necessary after only four years or less, then it means the previous owner was putting in a lot of hard miles in a short amount of time.

Warning Lights

You probably have noticed that the warning lights always come on when you turn the key in the ignition. They’re visible for a couple of seconds, and then they blink out, or at least they ought to unless there is something wrong with the car. If those warning lights are not momentarily visible when you turn the car on, then that could mean something is wrong with it.

The other issue you might see with warning lights on used cars in Orange County is that when you start the ignition, then one or more of the warning lights might stay on to let you know about a specific problem happening with the vehicle. Each of those lights means something different, but you could be looking at engine trouble, one or more of the tires being deflated, or something else. If you don’t know what the lights mean, then you’ll need to check the manual, but this is certainly something to which you should be paying attention when you go car shopping.

Rough Engine Idling

If you’ve gotten to the point where you’re ready to take the vehicle for a test drive, you should first start it up and sit in it for a couple of minutes to listen to it idle. There are going to be occasions when you’re waiting at a red light, or you’re sitting in the car on a cold day waiting for the engine to warm up, and a smoothly idling engine has a particular sound to it. Conversely, an engine that needs attention will idle roughly. If you hear a rough idle before you’ve even driven the car off the lot, then it has not had the necessary maintenance done on it for you to seriously consider buying it.

Automatic Transmission Problems

At the used car dealerships in Orange County, you are likely to find many more vehicles with automatic transmissions than those with stick shifts. You should be able to shift smoothly between gears. If you hear a clunking noise when you’re shifting into drive, reverse, etc., then it could mean that the gear shift is worn out and will soon need to be replaced.

If you’re looking at a car with a manual transmission, you should be able to transition smoothly between gears there as well. If the car jerks when you’re changing gears then it’s probably going to be due for some costly repairs soon.


If smoke comes out of the exhaust pipe when the car accelerates, then it could mean one of several things, but none of them are good news for you. You should see a minimum of exhaust fumes coming from your car when the engine is running.

No Service Records

If there is no service record or no repair records for a car you are considering, it does not always mean that the vehicle is not suitable for purchase, but you should proceed with caution. Even if there were extensive service records then presumably you would have taken it to get inspected before you signed any paperwork, but a complete lack of service and repair records means that the previous owner was probably careless with other aspects of vehicle maintenance as well.

Cracked or Fading Paint

If the paint is cracked in different spots or there is general fading throughout the car, then that likely means it was kept out in the elements a lot. Maybe the previous owner didn’t have a garage to keep the car in, or they never bothered to put it in there. If you see the beginning of problems with the paint, then those are likely to get worse over time. The aesthetics of a car are more important to some people than to others, but driving a shabby-looking vehicle shouldn’t be necessary when there are so many other options available at other car lots.

In Orange County, the used car dealerships are bound to reveal the perfect vehicle for you if you are a little patient, so don’t feel like a vehicle that fits some of your requirements but not all of them is the one you have to get. If you find the make and model of car you want, but you’re encountering one of the problems we mentioned, or more than one, do yourself a favor and keep looking. A better option is sure to present itself before long.

Categories: Car Dealerships
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