Buyer be­ware…

Autocar - - USE CARS - SUS­PEN­SION, STEER­ING WHEELS, BRAKES

Ir­reg­u­lar oil changes af­fect chain ten­sioner re­li­a­bil­ity. Lis­ten for a noise like a diesel en­gine as the chain re­laxes. Also lis­ten for tick­ing cams and un­even idling when hot. Be vig­i­lant for rum­bling low down at the front from the bot­tom crank pul­ley and for a moo­ing noise caused by a worn air by­pass valve. With the car in sec­ond gear, pull away. If it stut­ters and mis­fires, the fly­wheel is on its way out. Once un­der way, feel for notchy changes. Clonk­ing and loose­ness at the front could be worn bot­tom arms, strut top mounts, drop links or shock absorbers. Lis­ten for clunk­ing or bang­ing at the rear caused by worn rear sub­frame bushes. Check the high-pres­sure power steer­ing hose near the bulk­head, where it can rub through. On the es­tate, look out for oil leaks from the self-lev­el­ling rear sus­pen­sion dampers. Lis­ten for worn wheel bear­ings hum­ming dur­ing the test drive. Re­lease the hand­brake and then raise it with your fin­ger­tips. If it rises with­out re­sis­tance, the ca­ble could be seized or on the way out. Check the un­der­side of the front bumper and the cor­ners at ei­ther end for cracks. Look for rust on the bot­tom of the doors, wheel arches and around

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