Foreign Sport Technician of Santa Monica, California Offers Important Advice on Purchasing A Pre-Owned Ferrari, Masserati, and Porsches.
Tech Tip – Purchasing Pre-Owned Foreign Exotic Sports Cars, A Tech’s Perspective
Having specialized in service & repair of foreign exotic sports cars such as Ferrari, Maserati, BMW, Lamborghini, and Porsche in Los Angeles, California for the last 35 years, I am commonly asked to serve as consultant, mechanic, psychologist, and hand holder by clients who are contemplating the purchase of a “pre-owned” foreign exotic sports car. The following is a method that I use when inspecting a foreign sports car being considered for purchase.
Learning About The Sports Car Driver
The first question is to determine how you intend to utilize the car. Will you be driving it only on the weekends, or daily? Areas with heavy traffic such as Los Angeles, California can impact a certain performance vehicles over the course of several years.
The second question is the asking price of the car. Price is always a consideration – and they vary from region to region. How much car can you afford? Don’t forget to factor in maintenance costs into this equation.
Initial Sports Car Inspection
The next step simply enough is an overall visual inspection and then the first of two road tests. When road testing the car for the first time, pay special attention to the feel and sound of the car. Take the time to listen for every noise possible, and take notes! Driving performance is also important. Also scrutinize how the car behaves in turns and whether the gear box is smooth or harsh, while feeling for clutch slippage, and making sure there is no differential sound. The road test acts as the pre-cursor for my examination, providing me with a point of origin.
Put The Sports Car On The Rack
Now it’s time to place the vehicle on the rack. Providing that the car passed the road test and there were no discernible problems, first look for frame damage caused by accidents or some kind of off-road encounter. While under the car inspect for rust and or corrosion, and fuel line punctures. Then pull the wheels off to inspect the condition of brake, rotors, pads, lines and check end play of wheel bearings. The next details of the inspection include the front end evaluation, looking for wear and tear of ball joints, suspension arm bushings, tie rod ends, rack and pinion or steering box. If the particular car being checked is front engined then check for oil leaks, condition of the cooling lines and motor mounts. Then check the external condition of the gearbox or transaxle, determining if it has been previously taken apart, and then remove the oil filter plug and take some oil samples. All of the above is done visually.
Inspecting the Engine of the Sports Car
It’s now time to inspect the engine, starting by pulling the spark plugs and checking for unusual carbon deposits. A compression test is used as a partial indication as to the condition of the engine. It is used concomitantly with a leak down test to evaluate the condition of the piston rings, valves, cylinder head and head gasket. The next step will be to check the oil pressure. If there is suspicion that the gauges are inaccurate, then a shop mechanical gauge shall be used. While the engine is running look for abnormal vibration or sounds. Also noted is the color of the smog generated through the exhaust. Then inspected are all the engine components including power steering pumps, air conditioning, smog devices, fuel injection or carburetors, hoses, belts, electrical harnesses, etc.
Inspecting the Asesthetics
The next step is to check the aesthetics of the vehicle. Within the interior, first check window operation, heating and air conditioning function, and other accessories. Next view the general condition of the interior including seats, door panels, headliner, dash, etc. Evaluation of the exterior should include checking for paint condition and body work, looking specifically for cracks and rust in an attempt to determine how well the care has been maintained.
Follow Up Roadtest
Now that you are familiar with the vehicle, it is time to perform a second road test. This second road test helps clarify any original doubts since I am now familiar with the vehicle.
Throughout the inspection, take into careful consideration the service, maintenance, and repair orders previously performed on the car. These records are crucial to verify the originality of replacement parts in order to maintain the value of the vehicle. Careful records and the use of original parts are good indicators as to the quality of previous repairs.
Customarily, the inspection aforementioned takes approximately three hours. It’s an inexpensive investment to have the car thoroughly evaluated for what could be very costly and frustrating.