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How To Make A Used Car Feel Like A New One

How To Make A Used Car Feel Like A New One

Everybody knows that as time goes on, our cars get older and start to loose their “shine” so to speak. As they get older, they require more maintenance, more time for care, more money for older parts etc. Most manufacturers don’t carry parts forever, so they discontinue parts for their older models. This leaves the gate wide open for after market companies to monopolize the used car part industry. Sometimes the only place you can find a part is at your local junkyard, either the part is too expensive to buy new or the cost just doesn’t justify the need to keep the used car.

For this example we will use a 95 Toyota MR2 as an example, it is a small sports car that Toyota had built in the mid 80’s and lasted all the up to 95 here in the states, but didn’t stop production until 99 in Japan. The MR2 is a 2 seater, rear-wheel drive, 5-speed manual, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that sits behind the driver. Yes, the MR2 is a mid-engined sports car…much like Ferrari’s and other exotic vehicles that cost literally 10 times the price of one MR2. It doesn’t need to be said that this vehicle is rather rare since it was discontinued only 5 years after its second generation chassis was introduced, making parts and servicing harder to find.

A better used car than the MR2 is hard to come by, coupled with Toyota’s long lasting dependability and durability this vehicle can withstand the test of time very well, if it is taken care of. Which leads to some points I should make about checking your used car age and making sure it is road worthy and safe:

– Check your brakes. Get them inspected, this doesn’t mean go get your brake pads and shoes replaced (even though its a big part of it) it means get EVERYTHING inspected, brake lines, calipers, valves, master cylinder etc etc. There are too many parts to list, the braking system of a vehicle is more complicated than people make it out to be, these are wear and tear items and should be checked regularly.

– Check your tires. I could not stress this enough, tires have everything to do with your vehicles braking ability, ride smoothness, traction, and your gas consumption. Yes, if you have your tires inflated to the incorrect settings then you could be wasting more gas than you normally would. Get them checked at least 5 times a year for maximum performance, sometimes you may have gotten a bad tire and not know it until it blows up on the freeway.

– Check your steering. Get inside your MR2 or vehicle and turn your car to the ON position but don’t turn the engine on. Feel the steering wheel turn and pay attention…make sure its smooth, if it gets harder to maneuver it your steering rack maybe showing its age. This is also a wear and tear item, lots of parts contribute to your cars steering response like bearings, rack and pinion, electronic computers, tie rods etc. This is VERY important to get check out while you take your used car in for a check up.

– Check your motor. Luckily the MR2 is a used car that comes equipped with a later model ECU, or computer. Some other used cars don’t have the luxury of having a plug-n-play type of computer, so to speak. Have regular compression tests done after long trips, or modifications. You don’t want to modify an unhealthy motor, always be on top of your car’s maintenance.

– Log EVERYTHING. A used car with no records is just that, a used car with no records. Nobody will want to buy a used car with no proof that work was ever done to it, that is if you decide to sell your MR2 (I wouldn’t). If your used car goes in for an oil change, log it and keep the receipt, if you replace a switch or a piece of carpet or some glass…LOG IT. A small notebook goes a long way in terms of a used car’s worth. If you can prove that your MR2 has had a engine rebuild and paint job done recently, then selling it should be no problem as the new owner will want to know when it was done and who did the work.

I hope this small guide can help those looking to take care of their used car more, in the case of an MR2 it is a little more expensive to maintain than a Ford Escort of the same year simply because of the small after market support for it. The used car market is getting bigger and bigger, more and more people can’t afford $4-$500 car payments, so they save to buy a used car for cheap. I don’t intend to plug the MR2 here, but if you can find one in the 91 to 95 year range that is priced under $3000, buy it. Just like any other Toyota, this used car holds is value very well…and it looks cool too.