Section 6b. Inspection/Test-drive

Since you already know how to drive a car, you probably feel your not going to need this information? If that is the case you are totally and completely, wrong and or misinformed?

We will discuss: Test-driving several different types of vehicles in this segment. First lets take the most prominent vehicle on the road today: Front wheel drive models. These are the most plentiful and in the highest demand. Front wheel drive vehicles operate exactly in a manner as described in the term “ Front wheel drive” The power source that propels the vehicle down the road, does so in the front section of the vehicle, rather then the older 50’s –80’s models that were “ Rear Wheel drive” models. Your everyday basic front wheel drive vehicles are Toyota’s, Honda’s, all Japanese models except trucks and SUV’s. Domestic models such as Ford’s, Chevrolet’s and Chryslers are the same except for a few select models. The European imports fall into the same categories exactly the same as the Japanese and domestic models.

Make note: We are interested in Noises of any kind: Knocks, clicks, clunks, bonks grinding and scraping? Jerks, skips, lagging and skipping in response to operations

Lets start with our Front wheel model: Remember to buckle up!

We should decide on several operations to test our front wheel model. First lets just pull out and use the turn signals. Notice the blinking indicator on the dash? If it is rapidly blinking this means a bulb or turn signal lamp is out. While you accelerate and go with the normal flow of traffic. Do this at normal driving speeds. As you make right and left hand turns: Listen for sounds, such as clicking, clunks, popping and grinding sounds. Clicking sounds might be the front axles or CV joints. CV joint replacement is an expensive repair and a further indication of other problems that may be due to lack of regular vehicle service and maintenance? Popping may mean defective motor or transmission mounts. Grinding sounds may be again axles and cv joints but usually brakes or the power steering pump! While you plan the remainder of your test drive make sure you include: City driving, Freeway driving. Turning in a complete circle to the left and right. Parallel parking. If there are hills or local mountains, make sure you include these as well. The point to all of this is to replicate All driving conditions without leaving anything to chance.

Test-drive Foul wheel drive:

For starters make sure you duplicate every driving suggestion. Most four-wheel drive vehicles today are actually all wheel drive although named four-wheel drive. All wheel drive means, all four wheels have traction. Most Trucks and SUV vehicles are Part-time four-wheel drive. These vehicles have locking hubs, and a transfer case that needs to be manually engaged before four-wheel operation can be available. Locking hubs have a manual function allowing for the four-wheel operation to be fully engaged. Make sure these adjustable locking hubs are easy to turn without the need to use a tool or anything to force them into position. After you have engaged a part-time four-wheel drive and are ready to continue with your test drive make sure you test each level or range. These vehicles have a low and high range. To properly test the four-wheel operation make sure you do this off the payment. A proper method for testing would always be off road. Make sure before you finish your test drive to execute hard left and right turns. I recommend you bury the steering wheel to a maximum turning ration to make sure there are no issues with the front axles. If you feel the vehicle ‘pitching’ meaning the vehicle is attempting to recover from the turn. The four-wheel operation is working correctly. Backing up a distance of twenty to thirty feet should easily complete and clearing the four-wheel action. After you have placed the vehicle in reverse and cleared the four wheel operation and gone back into Two wheel operation you should be able to accelerate without feeling any of the four wheel action being engaged or dragging.

4X4: Four Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive. Part-Time 4X4

These terms are all supposed to represent the same mechanical condition. However they are different, not only in name but in the way they operate. When shopping for a four-wheel drivel vehicle, make sure you are buying exactly the product you are seeking. Many passenger vehicles make a claim as being 4X4’s or four-wheel drive. In truth these vehicles operate with ONE wheel in the front and ONE in the back doing the work as apposed to all four working to power the vehicle. A good example of a true four wheel drive vehicle is a: Subaru, The entire line of Subaru vehicles are what is considered all wheel or true four wheel drive vehicles. Many manufacturers say their vehicles are four-wheel drive but truly are not. This is a buyer beware situation. Again the ultimate responsibility lies with the consumer or buyer. So the ball is in your court. Make sure you read the vehicle information. Do not in any situation rely on what the salesman is telling you. There is a pretty good chance you have more knowledge about the vehicle your interested in then your salesman.

Rear Wheel Drive: Operation and test-driving: Similar to the front wheel drive vehicles, only you need not be afraid of front axles issues. With a rear wheel drive vehicle the drive train goes from the engine to the transmission. Then to the ‘U’ joints or Universal joints. These can be an issue if they cluck or slam into operation. The universal joints connect the drive shaft directly to the rear-end or differential. Most people call it the rear end simply because it is in the rear of the vehicle. There are not too many vehicles on the road today that are rear-wheel drive except for, full size and small size trucks. Many SUV’s and utility Van’s are rear wheel drive as well. As for passenger vehicles the Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Mustang are the most obvious rear wheel drive models. All of the previous examples and recommendations for test-driving hold true for these vehicles. Pay close attention to any noises what ever they may be. Vehicle manufacturers pride themselves and boast about the quiet operation of their vehicles. The only vehicles that inherently make noise are of course diesels. These vehicles have different method of powering the vehicle but basic operation is exactly the same.

Our next segment will pay close attention to Repairs and correction to issues of faulty or improper operation.