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2TORIAL
Learn2 Check Out a Used Car (continued)
Step 7: Check for play

Play is the amount that a part can move before it engages. A little play is good; too much means you have less control over the car. Check for play in the steering wheel, clutch and brakes.

  • The steering wheel: This should not move more than two inches in either direction without turning the wheels.

     

  • The clutch: Once you've put the car into first gear, how far does the clutch rise before the car moves? If it doesn't work until it returns to its original location, the clutch may need an adjustment or replacement. Note: a clutch replacement is often $400 or more.

     

  • The brakes: These should not move within two inches of the floor when pressed. Press the pedal as far down as possible. Hold it there for 45 seconds. The brakes should hold firm; if they don't, there may be a leak--be very careful when driving.


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2TORIAL STEPS
Introduction
Step 1: Note your first impression
Step 2: Check the underside and tires
Step 3: Check under the hood
Step 4: Perform gauge and listening tests
Step 5: Check the oil and brake fluid
Step 6: Check the shock absorbers and lights
Step 7: Check for play
Step 8: Take it for a drive

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