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

Sounds Your Car Makes When It Needs Repairs

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! 


Related Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

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 Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty at AAMCO Minneapolis, MN. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO. 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 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 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.

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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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AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

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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.

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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 Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty at AAMCO Minneapolis, MN. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO. 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 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 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

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

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What Is an Automatic Braking System

AAMCO Minnesota Knows Brakes

At AAMCO Minnesota our mission is to repair and maintain your car – from transmissions to electrical systems, oil changes to mufflers. We do it all so you don’t have to. One of our specialties is brakes. The technology that keeps you safe and on the move – and able to safely stop – in your car is continuously improving, and at AAMCO Minnesota we strive to keep you informed.

Computers Control the Brakesimage - computer scan and monitoring of automobile systems

Do you know someone who always steps on the imaginary brake pedal when they are in the passenger seat? Well, Automatic Braking Systems are computerized versions of that, but without the anxiety and annoying reactions to your driving. These computerized systems are automobile safety features designed to detect how far and fast the vehicle in front of you is moving, and automatically apply your car’s brakes if you do not respond in time to a sudden braking situation. The automatic braking system works to reduce the chance of a crash, as well as reduce the severity of a collision if it occurs.

Automatic braking systems are called different things, but the concept is the same.

Technically, the concept is two systems working together: forward collision warning and automatic breaking.

Forward Collision Warning (FCW)

If a collision seems to be imminent, a Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system gives an audible warning which allows the driver time to take action and possibly prevent an accident. It is strictly a warning system only, and does not take any automated measures, such as applying the brakes, to avoid or mitigate a collision.

Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM)

A Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM) system will warn the driver and slow the vehicle simultaneously. FCM should not be confused with Forward Collision Warning (FCW). A warning system will only warn the driver, but not take any automatic action to mitigate – reduce the chances or effects of – a collision. An FCM will automatically apply the vehicle’s brakes as the computer calculates the situation.

Forward Collision Avoidance (FCA)

Complete avoidance of a collision is the goal of a Forward Collision Avoidance (FCA) system. This approach is obviously the most challenging, and is probably more semantic than realistic. People like to think of avoiding a collision, so a system named as such is bound to sell better than one that simply says it will reduce the severity of a collision. Ideally, an FCA system tries to get you out of a collision altogether using technology such as automatic braking and even assisted steering. But let’s face it, you’re probably still going to crash; however, the system will make it less severe.

Systems Working Together

An automatic braking system is actually several systems that work together to achieve one of two things: collision avoidance or collision mitigation. Sensors detect and deliver situational data to a computer that calculates what is needed to brake in time and either avoid or mitigate a collision.

Automatic braking systems use laser, radar, and/or cameras to monitor driving speed and detect objects in the vehicle’s path. Some of these systems can even evaluate road conditions, such as rain or snow, and include them in their continuous calculations that allow them to be constantly on guard and prepared for a short stopping situation or possible collision.

What kind of sensors and data does the system use?

Forward collision warning and avoidance systems use radar, video, infrared and/or ultrasonic sensors to scan for possible objects in front of the vehicle, and then use automatic brake controls to prevent or mitigate a collision Elements calculated include speed, distance, conditions, and braking pressure.

Do Automatic Braking Systems Really Work?

How well these systems work has been proven through extensive track testing and actual use in a number of cars in production in the United States. Europe has seen increasing use of automatic braking systems for several years, and has mandated them in all new cars since 2015. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has made it a requirement that in order to get top safety scores, a car must have a forward-collision warning system with automatic braking.

Not all systems are the same, as different carmakers utilize different technologies and techniques to accomplish their mission of braking safety and collision warning and mitigation or avoidance. Additionally, false alerts might cause drivers to ignore the systems’ warnings, or shut the systems off altogether. But overall, the effectiveness of these systems have been proven and are here to stay – and will be standard on all cars in the U.S. by 2022.

Are The Brakes Different?image - disc brakes. assembly on a modern automobile

The mechanics of the brakes themselves are the same as on cars without automatic braking systems. Whether the driver or a computer decides the car needs to slow down or stop, the same basic parts and principles are used to actually stop your car.

  1. Brake pedal is pushed (or computer calculates and activates pressure to the piston – step 2).
  2. Piston pushes fluid to master cylinder.
  3. Master cylinder pushes fluid to slave cylinders.
  4. Slave cylinders fill and push pistons out.
  5. Pistons push calipers with brake pads.
  6. Brake pads grip rotors (discs) attached to wheels.
  7. Friction between brake pads and rotors slows wheels.
  8. Car slows down and stops.

Rotors, calipers, and brake pads are still used and still need to be checked, replaced on a regular maintenance schedule.

AAMCO Minnesota for Brake Service and Repairs

Whether your car has an automatic braking system or not, you can count on AAMCO to service and repair your brakes so your car is safe and reliable. If you have questions about your car’s brakes, road readiness, or about car repair and maintenance, AAMCO Minnesota can help. Come to AAMCO Minnesota for a Multi-Point Vehicle Inspection 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.


Related Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

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 Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty at AAMCO Minneapolis, MN. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO. 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 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 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.

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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.

Convenient payment plans available.

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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.

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Reasons Why Your Ride is Bumpy and Rough

Why does your car feel like you’re driving on a bumpy road?image - stone paved bumpy road

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.

Think of How You Drive

Did you run over or bump into something?

One of the first things you can do is think of anything that might have happened recently that could cause damage to your car. Did you bump into a curb or bottom out? Smashing into a curb can damage your tires or rims, and throw off your alignment. If you bottom out, your suspension can be damaged, as well as the underside of your car. If you drive in harsh conditions on a regular basis, your car will be more prone to damage and need more regular maintenance. See this infographic on severe driving habits to help you assess if you are a severe maintenance driver.

Some Things to Check if Your Ride is Bumpy and Roughimage - Stack of three tires, fourth tire leaning against stack

Tires

Tires are usually the first thing to check if your car’s ride feels strange. Rough, bumpy rides can be due to bad tire alignment, incorrect air pressure – too low, too high, different pressures in each tire – or even the tires not being mounted properly. Worst case scenario could be the rims themselves have become damaged or warped.

Take care when changing a tire.

Many times a person will change a tire and not set the tire firmly enough against the back disk. Once the lug nuts have been tightened, they may think it’s secure, only to discover that the car wobbles, vibrates, or shakes when driving, especially at high speed. Even if there is only slight vibration, it will cause excess wear and tear on the tires, brakes, and other components.

Know the signs of a bad alignment.

Sometimes an alignment problem can be difficult to detect. Usually, you can feel the car pull to one side as you accelerate, and it will drift while cruising or coasting. If the steering wheel turns to one side and feels like its fighting you, the alignment should be checked. One sure sign of bad alignment is uneven tire wear on the front tires. Excessive wear or baldness on the inside or outside of either tire is an indication that the alignment is off.

Rotate the tires to prevent uneven wear.

Regular tire rotation – about every 3,000 miles or once a season – helps to keep the treads even and makes it easier to spot or sense trouble.

Maintain the correct air pressure in the tires.

Uneven air pressure in your tires can cause all kinds of problems – especially a rough ride – and can be dangerous if left unchecked. If the pressure is too high, they might warp or become misshapen. High air pressure causes tires to wear out faster. If the pressure is excessively high or exceeds the manufacturer’s recommendations, the tire might blow out, particularly at high speed. An over-inflated tire will also cause you to feel every bump and crack in the road. If the tire pressure is too low, your car will tend to feel like it’s dragging a little, and have more of a an absorbent or muddy feel as you go over bumps.

Check your tires regularly and schedule an appointment with your local AAMCO Minnesota shop to see if the pressure in your tires is correct for the season and conditions.

Suspensionimage - 3D render of a car suspension

The suspension doesn’t just provide a smooth, comfortable ride – it helps the control and handling qualities of your vehicle. Without shocks and struts, a vehicle would bounce down the road, making driving extremely difficult, not to mention dangerous. Your suspension can affect all the other things mentioned in this article.

Shocks and struts are considered critical to the safe operation of your vehicle – they are designed to help keep your tires on the road and you in control of your vehicle. If your suspension fails, you will know it.

Know the signs of a damaged suspension.

Your car might lean to one side, almost feeling like it’s going to drag on the ground. When going over bumps, it will bounce up and down like it is on very loose springs, before finally settling. You will feel sharp jolts through the steering wheel as you drive over potholes, bumps, curbs, and other road hazards.

As with all parts and systems on your car, the suspension system and its individual parts wear out over time and must be replaced. Shocks and struts not only affect the ride and performance of your car, but can contribute to other problems, such as alignment, tire wear, steering, and braking. If your car rocks, sways, or bounces up and down a lot during normal driving, cornering, and braking it is probably time to schedule an appointment at your local AAMCO Minnesota dealership and have your suspension system checked by a certified mechanic.

TransmissionAutomotive transmission gearbox in detail.

Let AAMCO take the fear out of transmission repair.

It’s your transmission…” Those three words can mean repairs from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. It usually depends on how quickly you are able to tell your transmission needs servicing and when you actually take it in for service.

Know what transmission problems to look for.

Many people simply don’t know they have a transmission problem, even as it occurs. They might notice an occasional thump or hard shift, maybe a passing vibration. But once the transmission really starts to fail, the signs are unmistakable. Leaking fluid, hard shifts, loss of power, lots of vibrating, whining, grinding, and other noises will become regular operating features of the car.

If you know your tires and suspension are OK, then have your transmission checked.

Have the transmission inspected if you experience any problems shifting, or odd behavior like a rough, bumpy ride when you know your tires and suspension are in good condition. A brand new transmission can cost as much as a used car, so it’s better to maintain the transmission on a regular schedule. Have the fluid and filter checked, flushed if necessary or if called for by the factory schedule.

Is it the torque converter?

If your car shakes and shudders, it could mean the lockup clutch is malfunctioning. This might occur at speeds around 35-45 miles per hour. It’s a noticeable problem and feels like you’re driving on a road with lots of small bumps. A worn out lockup clutch can make the transition from acceleration to direct drive difficult, and it’s a sign that you need to have your transmission checked.

Come to AAMCO Minnesota for All Your Car Repairs & Maintenance

You need an experienced transmission specialist who can honestly tell you what needs to be done.

If you have questions about your car’s transmission, engine, repair or maintenance needs, 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

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

Checklist for Preparing Your Car for Winter

Daydreaming on Your Cell Phone While Rubbernecking

 

Locally Owned & Operated AAMCO Minnesota Transmission Shops

 
AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

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Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty at AAMCO Minneapolis, MN. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO. 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 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 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.

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

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.

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What Happens if You Skip Oil Change

 

What Happens When You Skip Oil Changes?

The much-repeated saying is that you should get your oil changed every 3,000 miles or three months. On modern cars that use synthetic oil, the limit is much higher. Skipping those oil changes, no matter how frequently (or infrequently) your owner’s manual says they are needed, is a recipe for trouble. Going a long time between oil changes (thousands of miles past the due date) is like playing with fire.

Engine Oil Checkup

Here’s why oil is the lifeblood of your car…

image - mechanic laying under car draining oil into a pan.In order to help them diagnose what is ailing you, a doctor will have you go to the lab to have blood drawn and analyzed. The lab will run it through a bevy of tests to determine how you compare to a baseline on certain things, and what might seem out of the ordinary. Basically, the condition of your blood gives the doctor clues to your overall health, as well as to more specific things.

Engine oil can be analyzed and used in the same way to help diagnose problems, or explain trouble symptoms, with your car. For instance, high concentrations of iron indicate that steel engine parts, such as the camshaft and cylinder liners, are not properly lubricated and wearing out. Metal content collects in the oil, and the oil filter eventually becomes overwhelmed and incapable of filtering the metal out of the oil. Traces of other metals in the oil can indicate the need for an oil change – and possibly other repairs. Chrome indicates ring or gasket wear. Aluminum is from pistons and bearings. Silicon might be dirt, and means the air filtration system should be checked.

Of course, you should not wait so long that such an analysis of the oil is what it takes for you to realize your car is in desperate need of an oil change. With the evolution of engines, the general rule today is every 3,000 to 10,000 miles.

Oil Lubricates and Cleans the Engine

What does engine oil do and where does it go?

Oil is a lubricant and prevents metal engine parts from coming into contact with each other. If parts do come into unintended contact, the engine can overheat and eventually the metal parts wear out, break, or even melt. Oil contains detergents that lift out contaminants and carry them to your oil filter, where the dirt is filtered out of the oil.

What Happens When You Skip Oil Changes Pouring oil into the engine is one thing, but do you know where it goes or what parts actually get lubricated? Check out this image that shows the parts and areas of the engine that the oil runs through, lubricates, and protects.

Oil eventually wears out and needs to be changed.

Oil is subject to consistently high temperatures and breaks down over time. Sludge can form throughout the engine, making it difficult for oil to flow between moving metal parts. Viscosity modifiers also break down over time, which makes the oil thinner and less effective at lubricating moving parts at high temperatures. Also, metal, dirt, and other particulates build up in the oil, much of which is too small to be captured by the filter. Over time, detergents and additives meant to combat the contaminants and dirt will break down become less able to protect the engine. The oil becomes abrasive and speeds up wear on vital parts and systems, and shortens the life of the engine.

Get an Oil Change

You can prevent all of this by – you guessed it – flushing out the crud with an oil change. If you don’t change your oil and oil filter, eventually the filter will stop working and dirt will accumulate in the engine, contaminate the oil, and compromise its ability to lubricate and clean. Over time, even the best oil will lose its lubricating and cleansing qualities. Because of all the dirt and abrasive crud in the oil, metal engine parts will experience severe wear, risking failure and potential damage to the engine. Eventually, the whole engine will seize up and stop working, maybe even catch fire.

Conventional Oil or Synthetic?image - engine oil pouring out of bottle

The next big question is what kind of oil should you use? AAMCO Minnesota can help you make the right choice. Check out this great infographic to help you understand the different kinds of oil and which to use in your engine.

Come to AAMCO Minnesota for All Your Car Maintenance & Repairs

Now that you know the importance of regular oil changes, it’s probably a good idea to come by your locally owned and operated AAMCO Minnesota Transmission and Car Repair Center for an oil and filter change or a multi-point inspection. Whatever you drive, you can count on AAMCO Minnesota Transmission and Total Car Care to service and repair your automobile.

If you have questions about your car’s engine, oil changes, 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

Watch this video and learn why there is only one place to go – AAMCO. We’re the transmission experts with over 50 years of experience rebuilding and replacing transmissions, and all their 800 pieces. We’ve fixed over 40 million transmissions – way more than our competitors. And we offer a lifetime warranty. Because we have the skill to fix an 800-piece transmission, we can easily fix the rest of your car – brakes, shocks, mufflers, even your engine. Lots of things can make your engine light come on. Today it can be hard to tell what’s wrong with your car, especially if it’s your transmission. Our technicians are trained to keep up with the complex engineering of today’s cars. So, next time something goes wrong with your transmission or any other part of your car, bring it to your local AAMCO.