Pre-Purchase Used Car Inspection

Check before you write that check.

Before you spend your hard-earned money on that used car, have it inspected by a certified mechanic. To protect yourself in a private party transaction, or even if you’re buying from a car dealership, experts agree that used cars must be inspected before final purchase negotiation. The ordinary car buyer really can’t do it to the degree that a certified, independent third party mechanic can. If the inspection is done right, a good mechanic can tell you if you’re buying a good, reliable car or an unsafe, bucket of bolts that will cost you even more money once you drive it away.

Where do I start and what do I do?Image of smiling AAMCO mechanic

First things first – do your research and be ready with knowledge.

Before setting an appointment with the seller, research vehicle safety reports for the different makes and models you’re interested in. Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds are established authorities that publish owner surveys and reviews. They are good sources of information on vehicles and their performance records. Before you ever go shopping, on the lot or online, decide what type of vehicle you want and what models you will look at.

Check for Recalls and Defects

You’ll need the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for this level of research. Check all four of the federal government’s databases (http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov) for recalls, service bulletins, safety investigations and owner complaints on the make and model of the vehicle you are interested in. Service bulletins are notices that automobile manufacturers send out to dealerships to warn them about problems that have been discovered in vehicles and how to fix them. The only way to know if your vehicle was repaired for the problem already is to check with your local dealer’s service department and get a vehicle repair history from them.

Get an online vehicle history report.

If you’ve found the specific car you want to buy, it’s easy to get some additional important information on it from online services like CarFax and AutoCheck.

Tell the seller you intend to have the car inspected.

With planning and foresight, the inspection process can go smoothly and quickly, setting the stage for a good purchase or save you a lot of time and trouble. You’re the one with the money, so it’s your call. Most sellers will let you take the car to a mechanic for an inspection. If they are hesitant, you can propose to have a mobile inspection done at their location. If the seller balks at the idea of an inspection altogether, then you should wonder what they are hiding and whether this whole purchase process is in your own best interest. Don’t be scared to walk away.

Set up a test drive route.

The car should be taken for a test-drive over a predetermined route that includes level stretches of highway, city and stop-and-go traffic, as well as hills to detect engine performance issues. Uneven bumpy roads, or even speedbumps, are good for detecting suspension problems.

Bring a copilot.

Take someone you trust with you, not just the seller. This person can lend a second set of eyes and ears, and even a nose, to not only help detect problems, but help filter any sales pitches or talk to gloss over potential problems with the car. This person should also be a notetaker during the test drive. Have them write down any and all observations – things that seem wrong, such as strange noises, odd behavior of the car such as pulling to one side, vibrations, shuddering, lag in acceleration. Beyond performance of the vehicle, are there any unusual smells? Is there cosmetic damage inside or outside the car? Basically, anything that seems odd to you should be noted so you can present your findings to the mechanic when you take the car for inspection.

Go to a trusted mechanic for the inspection.image - Mechanic and customer looking at exhaust system under car on lift

Have the inspection performed by a mechanic you’re familiar with – not just a relative or friend, but a professional mechanic who knows cars and works on them. A trained inspector will know what to look for and can perform the inspection in a defined amount of time, providing a comprehensive report for you on the key findings.

How much does a pre-purchase inspection cost?

A pre-purchase inspection is a small price to pay for the peace of mind you will get out of it. Do you really want to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a car you know nothing about? Add to that the risk of the car being a lemon and costing you a fortune in repairs after you buy it. When you finally hand over your money, you should be confident that you’re getting a good, reliable car at an honest price. AAMCO Minnesota shops are independently owned and operated, and may vary in their fees for pre-purchase inspection, but you can rest assured that AAMCO Minnesota’s multi-point diagnostics and inspection will get the job done.

Aside from a verified checklist, the benefits you experience from an AAMCO Minnesota used car pre-purchase inspection are nearly priceless.

  • Protecting yourself from buying a used vehicle that may need costly repairs
  • Ensuring the vehicle is safe and reliable for the safety of yourself and loved ones
  • Paying the right price
  • Knowing the vehicle won’t break down in the near future
  • Verification of the equipment and options on the vehicle

Other benefits of an inspection include:

  • Reveals hidden problems with the engine, frame, and body.
  • Alerts mechanic to engine codes that can indicate larger engine problems.
  • Reveals previous repair work done on the car.

What Does a Pre-Purchase Inspection Cover?

Inspection of a used car before you buy it – a pre-purchase inspection – includes important mechanical checks that should be performed by a professional mechanic. When you bring the car to your local AAMCO Minnesota auto mechanic, we’ll run our multi-point inspection diagnostics that include:

Vehicle Performance Multi-Point Inspection

  • Transmission & Clutch
  • Engine Performance
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Shock Absorbers
  • Heater & Air Conditioning
  • Instruments & Controls
  • Headlights & Foglights
  • Brake & Back-up Lights
  • Interior & Warning Lights
  • Turn Signals & Flashers

Under Hood Multi-Point Inspection

  • Fluid Level & Condition
  • Drive Belt
  • Battery
  • Starter
  • Charging System & Alternator
  • Idle Speed
  • Engine
  • Intake System
  • Fuel Delivery System
  • Ignition System
  • Computer Systems
  • Cooling System

Under Car Multi-Point Inspection

  • Steering & Front Suspension
  • Brakes
  • Rear Suspension
  • Engine Mounts
  • Transmission Mounts
  • Engine Seals
  • Transmission Seals
  • Clutch & Transmission Linkage
  • Driveshaft
  • U-Joints
  • Drive Axles
  • CV Joints
  • Exhaust System
  • Rear Axle

AAMCO Minnesota is Here for You

From auto inspection to repairs and maintenance, we’re here to help.

While no inspection is guaranteed to find every flaw in a used car, an experienced, trained mechanic can help you avoid serious and costly problems. An AAMCO pre-purchase inspection is good insurance and peace of mind when buying a used car.

AAMCO Minnesota is Here for You

From auto inspection to repairs and maintenance, we’re here to help.

While no inspection is guaranteed to find every flaw in a used car, an experienced, trained mechanic can help you avoid serious and costly problems. An AAMCO pre-purchase inspection is good insurance and peace of mind when buying a used car. Visit an AAMCO Minnesota transmission repair and total car care center near you. When issues arise and you need affordable, honest auto repair, schedule an appointment with your locally owned and operated AAMCO Minnesota transmission and auto repair center. If you have questions about your car’s road readiness, or about car repair and maintenance topics, AAMCO Minnesota is a great resource for expert automotive repair and maintenance information. Feel free to call or visit your local AAMCO Minnesota transmission and total car care center.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

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My Car Rolls When I Put it in Park

Reasons Your Ride is Bumpy and Rough

Dangerous Driving Habits To Avoid

10. Parking in Illegal Areas

Despite the fact that most parking areas are monitored fairly closely, drivers continue to park where they shouldn’t  This includes handicap parking spaces, red zones, along curbs outside of clearly-marked legal parking hours, and so on. Having your car towed can be expensive, so even if you’ve gotten away with illegal parking in the past, you should resist the urge to park “just for five minutes” in restricted areas.

9. Accelerating Through Yellow Lights

Sure, it might be exhilarating to speed up in order to make it through a light, but often you don’t quite make it, and you end up holding up other drivers who actually have the green light. This is a bad habit to have, as it could lead to major collisions. Some lights are longer than others, so you may think that you have time to make it when you really don’t. Do the responsible thing and slow down when the light turns yellow if you’ve got room to stop. This goes hand in hand with following the speed limit, if you are following the posted speed limits, you won’t need to smash the brake pedal to stop in time for a red light. 

8. Ignoring Traffic Signs

Do you blow through stop signs or fail to yield when it’s required of you?  Those signs are there for a reason, and even if no one’s around, you should obey them. You never know when a car or pedestrian might come out of nowhere, or even a cop. 

7. Not Checking Blind Spots

Blind spots are dangerous, but not even trying to check them is more dangerous. Drivers who don’t look have a tendency to start moving over into other lanes and nearly colliding with other cars; this can cause, at the very least, anxiety and distraction, and at the most, a serious car accident. Always be sure to not only check the appropriate mirror when switching lanes, but to glance over your shoulder too to make sure the coast is clear. 

6. Merging Improperly

How many times have you been on a freeway acceleration ramp and found yourself behind someone who doesn’t understand how to merge? They let car after car zoom past them, thinking they’re being polite, when really, they’re holding up the flow of traffic. On the other hand, There are motorists who don’t know how to be patient. They seem to think that racing to the front of a line of cars getting on the freeway, when they know that the lane merges, is acceptable behavior. This is wrong too, and shouldn’t be put into practice. Accelerate and get up to speed, look for an opportunity, and merge when you get the chance. 

5. Not Using Turn Signals

If you don’t tell other people where you’re going, how can you expect them to know? Changing lanes or turning without signaling throws others off, and it could put you in harm’s way. The worst is when drivers slow down to turn without putting their blinker on: this can catch the cars behind them off guard, and the offending individual could get rear-ended. If you are experiencing issues with your electrical system, schedule an appointment today with your local AAMCO Minnesota Location. 

4. Cutting Other Cars Off

When you’re in a hurry, you often wish that the roads were completely clear so that you could zoom right through. Weaving between lanes without regard for others is extremely hazardous. You run the risk of being hit from behind if the driver you’re cutting off isn’t paying attention, and if you’re going too fast and squeezing between two cars, you could end up slamming into the car ahead of you. Don’t put yourself in this situation. Be sure that you give yourself plenty of time for travel. 

3. Tailgating

Tailgating is irritating to both parties involved. The driver in front is annoyed that the person behind them won’t stay off their bumper, and the driver in back of him is annoyed that he can’t go faster. Why create this tension? Tailgating can lead to car accidents AND it can lead to intentional vindictive actions, like brake checking. If you want to go faster, pass the car ahead of you in another lane if it is safe to do so, but keep a safe distance if it is not. 

2. Speeding

We all do this once in a while. But that doesn’t make it okay! Driving above the speed limit is one of the biggest reasons car accidents happen, and it leads to many of the other behaviors on this list. Just think: how many bad incidents would be prevented if we all adhered to posted speed limits? Not only is speeding dangerous to drivers around you as well as yourself. It wears your vehicles components much quicker. It consumes more fuel, wears brakes, and is tough on your transmission when accelerating quickly. 

1. Using Your Cell Phone While Driving

This is the big one, and unfortunately it’s become common among most drivers out there nowadays. While talking on your cell phone may be legal in some states under certain circumstances, it’s still a bad habit to have. It can be tempting when that ringtone goes off while you’re behind the wheel, but it’s better to resist the urge to answer. Talking while on your cell phone is distracting, and distracted driving is dangerous driving; it puts you and others at risk. Don’t even get us started on texting while driving! 


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How Brakes Work

There are three principles of braking – leverage, hydraulics, and friction – that encompass the eight basic steps of how your car’s brakes work wonders every time you step on the brake pedal. [Read more…]

Anti-Lock Brakes – More Than Just a Better Way to Stop

Anti-lock brakes, also known as anti-lock braking system (ABS), have become a standard feature on cars, but they weren’t even originally invented for cars. They were invented in 1929 in France by Gabriel Voisin to help planes more smoothly apply brakes on landing and shorten the distance needed to come to a stop. Today it is an automobile safety system that is mandatory on all new passenger vehicles. [Read more…]

Reasons Why Your Ride is Bumpy and Rough

Sometimes your car does not ride as smoothly as you like. If the ride gets really bumpy or rough, and you’re not on a dirt road, there are some things that could be mechanically wrong. There are a number of things that can cause a rough, bumpy ride while you’re accelerating, cruising, or coming to a stop. [Read more…]


AAMCO Transmissions & Auto Repair Shops

Locally Owned & Operated

 
AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

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Call Now Set Appointment

AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.

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AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

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Call Now Set Appointment

Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO Minneapolis Transmission Repair and Auto Services. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.

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AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

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People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

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Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Hopkins

10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343

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Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

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Vehicle Care Bad Habits

Abusing the clutch

Many drivers, when they come to a stop, keep the clutch all the way to the floor. You’ll be able to inch forward and be ready to take off when the light turns green, but when you do this to the clutch, its surfaces scrape against each other, wearing them out and creating the possibility of failure. Instead of riding the clutch with the shifter in gear, find Neutral with the shifter and let the clutch out.

image - disassembled automatic transmission fluid coupling

Carrying too much weight in your car

The more the car weighs, the more stress it places on its drive train, suspension, and brakes, and the more fuel it consumes. Limit the amount of cargo you carry around on a daily basis and just carry the essentials.

 

Riding your brakes when driving downhill

Although it’s important to manage your speed and be safe, riding the breaks actually causes heat to build up in the brake pads and rotors? This will not only cause wear but can also increase the risk that the brakes will overheat or warp.

 

Ignoring the parking brake

Whenever your car is parked, be sure to engage the parking break, this will keep your car from moving and keep from waring down components.

 

Letting the gas tank stay low

Putting only small amounts of gas in at one time could actually damage a vehicle’s fuel system. Many fuel pumps keep cool by staying submerged in the fuel in the tank. Keeping your fuel topped off will keep you from costly fuel pump repairs.

 

Shifting too quickly from reverse to driveAutomatic Transmission repsir - AAMCO Minnesota

Come to a complete stop before shifting into drive. Over time, the drivetrain could be damaged and this is a costly repair.

 

Revving the vehicle before the car engine is warm

If you can, wait at least 60 seconds before you get on the road, and everything will have warmed up enough for reliable performance. This could be one of the most important items on this list.

 

Flooring it when you don’t need to

It can be a rush when you accelerate and speed up, but all you are really doing is burning a whole lot of fuel and putting a heavy load on your drivetrain. This also leads to frequent full-force stops that cause rapid wear to the brake pads and rotors. Both habits are asking for expensive auto repair bills down the road.

 

Using the shift lever as a hand rest

Many drivers do this, but it puts strain on the transmission’s bushings and synchronizes, leading to premature wear.

 

Ignoring warning signs

Your vehicle will usually tell you if something is wrong via squeaks, knocks, vibrations, lights, and so on. Have your vehicle serviced by your local AAMCO Minnesota repair shop at the first sign of an issue. You don’t want to be stranded on the side of the road.

Come to AAMCO Minnesota for All Your Car Repairs & Maintenance

You need an experienced automotive technician who can diagnose the problem and honestly tell you what needs to be done when something is wrong with your car.

If you have questions about your car’s exhaust, engine, transmission, repair or maintenance needs, AAMCO Minnesota can help. Stop by or call a local AAMCO Minnesota repair shop for a Multi Point Vehicle Inspection of your transmission and related systems. We can handle all your scheduled car maintenance and repairs, from brakes and oil changes to factory recommended maintenance and full transmission replacements.

 

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

 

What is a Torque Converter?

 

Find a Location Near You

AAMCO Minnesota Transmission shops are locally owned and operated.

 
AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.

Write a Review

AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO Minneapolis Transmission Repair and Auto Services. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.

Write a Review

AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Hopkins

10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

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Is it time to change my brakes?

Brakes perform a vital function for the driver and need to be well maintained to work at their best. The brake caliper, brake pads, and brake rotor are the primary components of car disc brake systems. The brake pads and rotors on all cars wear out, but brake wear down is affected by several factors.Driving habits: How hard a driver pushes their brakes greatly affects how long the brake pads last. Some drivers ride the brakes and stop abruptly, while others gently coast to a stop. Smooth, gradual braking increases pad lifespan, but of course it’s important to brake abruptly when safety calls for it.

Environment:

Due to stop-and-go traffic and traffic lights, driving in the city is harder on brakes than driving out in the country or on long straight roads because braking is required less frequently. Driving in mountainous areas with steep elevation changes can wear brakes out quickly as well, because it’s often necessary to ride the brakes to control downhill speed.

Brake pad hardness:

Brake pads are available in different compounds to suit different driving needs. Hard compound brake pads last longer but usually need to be warm before they perform well, and are more common on performance cars. Soft compound brake pads perform better at low speeds, like in urban areas. Too much heat can melt pad compound onto the brake rotor and reduce brake performance if the driving gets too extreme.

Materials:

The materials that make up the brake rotor and brake pad also factor into the brakes’ durability. Carbon-ceramic brakes last longer than standard metal brakes, for instance, but they need to be warmer than the alternative to be effective. However, carbon-ceramic brakes are extremely expensive and found almost exclusively on high-performance sports cars. Steel or other metal brakes are much more common and still more than adequate to suit a variety of driving conditions.

How to tell if your brakes need replacing

  • Generally, brake pads need to be replaced after about 50,000 miles. Some need to be replaced after 25,000, while others can last for 70,000 miles – it all depends on the factors listed above. To get a more accurate number for your car’s specific needs, consult the owner’s manual. There are other indicators that can communicate that the brake pads are wearing out. These include:
  • Whenever the tires are rotated or the oil is changed, have the mechanic take a look at the brake pads to check the thickness. Inspect regularly.
  • Brake pads have small metal hairs at the very bottom to let the driver know when they are about to run out of grippy material. Immediately replace any brake pad making a squealing or scraping noise.
  • If braking becomes jittery then the rotors may be warped. Some treatments can either clean or grind down the surface of the rotor in order to make it flat again.

Generally, if the brakes look worn out or lose performance, they should be replaced. If there are any unusual noises or sparks coming from the brakes, have them inspected by your Local AMMCO Minnesota Technicians.

Come to AAMCO Minnesota for All Your Car Repairs & Maintenance

You need an experienced automotive technician who can diagnose the problem and honestly tell you what needs to be done when something is wrong with your car.

If you have questions about your car’s exhaust, engine, transmission, repair or maintenance needs, AAMCO Minnesota can help. Stop by or call a local AAMCO Minnesota repair shop for a Multi Point Vehicle Inspection of your transmission and related systems. We can handle all your scheduled car maintenance and repairs, from brakes and oil changes to factory recommended maintenance and full transmission replacements.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

What is a Torque Converter?

Signs Your Alternator is Going Bad

Find a Location Near You

AAMCO Minnesota Transmission shops are locally owned and operated.

 
AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.

Write a Review

AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO Minneapolis Transmission Repair and Auto Services. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.

Write a Review

AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Hopkins

10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

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I Smell Exhaust Fumes in My Car

Exhaust Smell in Your Car Can Be Due to Different Things

image - dual chrome exhaust tailpipeThe car exhaust system neutralizes the harmful fumes that come out of the engine. It is important to have your car checked out if you start to notice any odd odors or exhaust smell inside the car, as this can mean some major problems in the exhaust system or engine. If you experience any eye irritation, or you notice a smell like rotten eggs, a sweet smell or an odor of gasoline, you should have your car checked as soon as possible. Bring your car to a local AAMCO Minnesota auto shop for a complete inspection and diagnostics.

How a Car’s Exhaust System Works

Exhaust Header or Manifold

The exhaust header, or manifold, makes it easier for the engine to push exhaust gases out of the engine cylinders. In cars with fuel injection, the oxygen sensor is mounted in the exhaust header and is controlled by a computer. If the oxygen sensor is faulty or has failed, the computer can’t calculate the air/fuel ratio, so it “guesses”, which affects the engine’s performance, and this can affect many other systems as a result. If you are experiencing a strong smell of gasoline as you drive, the oxygen sensor is one of the first things to check.

Pipes

image - exhaust manifold

The exhaust travels through connected pipes until it exits through the last one – the tailpipe. These interconnected pipes throughout the system do more than just help the exhaust move; they cool the pollutant gases and guide them through the catalytic converter.

Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter changes the harmful carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons to water vapor and carbon dioxide before they exit through the tailpipe. This reduces impact on the environment because the elements being emitted from the car have been broken down into more basic forms. Some converters also reduce harmful nitrogen oxides. If the odor you are smelling is that of rotten eggs, then the catalytic converter is probably failing. The rotten egg smell is because the converter is not breaking down the sulfur pollutants created by the engine. Catalytic converters can’t be repaired – they must be replaced.

Catback

The “catback” is a system of pipes between the catalytic converter and the tailpipe. These pipes, running along the bottom of the vehicle, experience a lot of wear and tear, including harsh temperatures, damage from obstacles, rough roads, and exposure to weather which can lead to rust.

Muffler & Tailpipe

An internal combustion engine runs by creating controlled explosions, so it makes a lot of noise. You don’t hear most of this noise because the muffler, if it’s doing its job, reduces (muffles) the noise to a low level as the exhaust leaves through the tailpipe. The muffler also sees a lot of wear and tear, along with the tailpipe, as they constantly go through heating and cooling between extreme temperatures.

Exhaust System Leaksimage - Mechanic and customer looking at exhaust system under car on lift

Exhaust leaks can occur in many places along the line of all the interconnected parts that make up the exhaust system. If you smell the exhaust inside the cabin of the car, the leak is possibly somewhere near the air intake vent, under the hood. The leak might be somewhere in the exhaust pipe system that runs the length of the car, or even in the muffler, but the smell won’t be so powerful. Hydrocarbons are processed in the catalytic converter, which is located behind the engine, near the exhaust manifold. So, if you smell any exhaust, it’s probably escaping, or leaking, before it reaches the converter.

Causes of Exhaust System Leaks

We’ve all seen it – a rusted muffler riddled with holes laying in the middle of the road. It fell off someone’s car, and chances are the entire exhaust system (maybe the whole car) looks like that poor, old muffler. That’s why it is important to have the underside of your car visually inspected from time to time.

Internal Corrosion

Internal corrosion is a major cause of exhaust system leaks, and is the main cause of system failure. When moisture condenses in the system, it reacts with the iron in the steel, causing acidic buildup and rust. This can eat right through the metal of the pipes, muffler, and other vital components of the exhaust system, causing leaks, structural weakness, and operational failure.

External Corrosion

External corrosion is caused by weather related road conditions. Depending on where you live, during the winter the roads might be treated with chemical deicers, salt, and sand. All of this, combined with the snow, ice, and harsh temperatures, really beats on the underside of your car – and that’s where the exhaust system is. The constant barrage of different compounds, including plain old water in the form of rain, snow, and ice, gradually eats away at the various parts of the exhaust system.

Driving Conditions and Habits

Where you live and the road conditions around you dictate much of the wear and tear on your car, particularly the exhaust system. Rough, dirt roads obviously will have a higher degree of impact on your car overall than smooth highways and city streets. Additionally, how you drive those roads is a factor. Short trips versus long hauls have different effects on your car’s systems. Whether you speed along those bumpy, dirt roads or are constantly stuck in stop-and-go traffic in the city – it all adds up to things like extreme heating and cooling, debris causing damage, and stress to systems that are not the exhaust system, but that can affect it. As mentioned earlier, if the oxygen sensor goes out, the engine will burn too much fuel, too hot, which can affect the exhaust system and cause undue heat to pass through.

Come to AAMCO Minnesota for All Your Car Repairs & Maintenance

You need an experienced automotive technician who can diagnose the problem and honestly tell you what needs to be done when something is wrong with your car.

If you have questions about your car’s exhaust, engine, transmission, repair or maintenance needs, AAMCO Minnesota can help. Stop by or call a local AAMCO Minnesota repair shop for a Multi Point Vehicle Inspection of your transmission and related systems. We can handle all your scheduled car maintenance and repairs, from brakes and oil changes to factory recommended maintenance and full transmission replacements.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

What is a Torque Converter?

Signs Your Alternator is Going Bad

 

Find a Location Near You

AAMCO Minnesota Transmission shops are locally owned and operated.

 
AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

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AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.

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AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

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Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO Minneapolis Transmission Repair and Auto Services. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.

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AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

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People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.

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AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

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At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.

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AAMCO Hopkins

10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343

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At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.

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Car Stuck in the Snow? Tips on Getting Unstuck

Getting Stuck in the Snow

Winter brings with it all sorts of fun and headaches. Driving on slick, snowy roads is not fun. Getting stuck in the snow is even worse – whether you skidded off the road into a snowbank or ditch, or if your car got snowed in while parked. It’s frustrating and it can be difficult to figure out the best way get unstuck, especially without causing any damage to your car.

Some Easy Tips for Getting Your Car Unstuck

Clear the Tailpipe

First, make sure the tailpipe is not covered by snow. Clear any snow away that might interfere with the exhaust from getting out. You don’t want exhaust building up inside the car, plus it could cause the engine to stall if the fumes can’t escape.

Clear Away Snowimage - car buried in snow

If you keep that shovel in your trunk like we’ve advised you to in other articles about preparing your car for winter, you’ll be able to easily dig away all the snow and ice buildup from in front of and behind all four tires. Also be sure to clear snow out from under the car as much as possible. If you can, clear some extra space in front of the car to make a path to drive into. Once your car becomes unstuck and starts moving forward, having a good clearing for your car to move into will help you keep forward momentum and avoid getting stuck again.

Create Traction With Sand, Kitty Litter, or Car Mats

Again, if you’re really prepared you probably have some sand or kitty litter in the trunk for just such a situation as being stuck. Put some under the drive wheels first. If you don’t have sand or kitty litter, you can use car mats – anything rough (or just not as slick as snow and ice) will help the tires get some traction and start moving your car. Car mats also serve to flatten out the snow more evenly, and prevent it from hugging directly around the tires, as the car slowly moves over them. This helps the tires to not sink so easily into the snow. Make sure that the drive wheels are getting as much equal traction as possible. Be careful to apply the gas slowly, gently. Otherwise whatever you put under the drive wheels – sand, gravel, car mats, tree branches – will just shoot out from under them.

Braking and Rocking

If one wheel is spinning more than the other because it has less to traction, try pushing the brakes lightly. This increases the minimum torque that is needed to turn each wheel and transfers some of the power to the other non-spinning wheel so that both are working to pull (or push) the car out of the snow. Be careful not to do this for too long, as the brakes can overheat and end up damaged.

You can also try rocking your car. This method is up for debate, because it can damage your transmission if done improperly or too much. Shifting momentum so quickly is just not good for the transmission and all of its intricate parts and subsystems. Rocking the car should only be done in the most desperate situations. Steadily alternate between first gear, or drive, and reverse as you gently apply gas in each direction. Don’t spin the wheels and make sure you only apply the gas once you are in gear. To help stop from rolling back into the holes your tires dug, apply the brakes between first and reverse as you shift. Ideally, you will build up enough momentum to power out of the ruts and move forward onto better ground where you can get traction again and keep moving. Again, use the rocking method only as a last resort.

Let Some Air Out of the Tiresimage - frozen car stuck in snow.

This should be done with extreme care. By letting some air out of the drive tires, they gain a little more surface area, and are a little softer and more sticky than a hard, inflated tire, which means they have a better chance of gaining traction. But do not let out so much air that they look flat, because that means they probably are, and then you’ve got another problem to deal with. Air shrinks when it’s cold, so be careful with this tactic. The rule is that your tires should already be inflated per manufacturer’s recommendations for the operating conditions.

Turn the Wheels

If you have a front-wheel drive car, turn the wheels in either direction as you gently push the gas. This might expose the tires to that much needed unseen patch of pavement or dirt, or provide just the right angle to gain that little bit of traction needed to get out. Remember that key to all of these methods is to accelerate slowly. Do not spin the wheels, or you’ll just dig yourself deeper.

A Good Old Fashioned Push

If you are not alone, or if you can get someone nearby to help, have them give your car a push as you gently apply the gas. Pushing the car forward with each shift into first as you are rocking the car can also help a lot. It provides an extra surge of momentum forward, if you do have to use the rocking method to get unstuck. Always make sure the person pushing is on stable footing and clear of the drive tires. Debris and ice might fly out from under the tires, which can be dangerous to anyone standing behind the tires or in the path of anything shooting out from under them.

AAMCO Minnesota for a Quick Car Checkup

Now that you’ve gotten unstuck, it’s probably a good idea to come by your locally owned and operated AAMCO Minnesota Transmission and Car Repair Center for a transmission check or multi-point inspection. Whatever you drive, and however you get unstuck, you can count on AAMCO to service and repair your car.

If you have questions about your car’s condition after being stuck or about car repair and maintenance, AAMCO Minnesota can help. Stop by or call a local AAMCO Minnesota repair shop for a Multi Point Vehicle Courtesy Check for your transmission and related systems. We’ll winterize your car and get you ready for the cold, snowy winter driving months ahead. We can handle all your scheduled car maintenance and repairs, from brakes to factory recommended maintenance.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Checklist for Preparing Your Car for Winter

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

Daydreaming on Your Cell Phone While Rubbernecking