I've just bought an L reg Carlton Diplomat 2.0 auto with 108,000 on the clock and want to know what I should get done on it right first.
There is not much history with it except for several MOT's and I can see it has had a new back box. No idea if the cam belt has been replaced ( can you tell anyway ). The engine sounds ok and it drives nicely except that it sounds like it's running a little rough at idle( exhusty noise ).
Is anyone familiar with these cars, the dash has various switches for stuff like rear defrost and aircon but the LED doesn't light up.. does this mean it doesn't work?
Whenever I buy an old car, I immediately do the following:
Oil change, new oil, air and fuel filters.
New plugs, also distributor cap and rotor arm if they look at all tired.
New cam belt.
Drain cooling system, flush radiator until clean water emerges, refill with 33% antifreeze mix.
Check all the other fluid levels
Check the tyre pressures
Carefully check over everything else looking out for anything that might be about to give trouble.
That little lot should take care of 95% of potential problems, for maybe £50-60 worth of parts and half a day's work.
It's so long since I last called out the AA that this year they added Homestart cover for free. So I reckon my system works.
I agree entirely with your list of items, but the cost/time seem a little optimistic to me!
Warpfactor: It may also be an idea to get the tyres checked at a friendly tyre depot. After all, how many of us would buy second hand tyres for a car we already own, and yet buying a used car means buying used tyres. If in doubt, change the tyres, as it's not worth risking your life for a few quid.
That's because they're not LEDs. They are but simple 12 volt minature bulbs that can blow. If the car is pre '93 and the air con doesn't work, its highly likely that you won't be able to get it regassed as the system has R12 refrigerant - which is now banned. You could have the system modified to take R14 gas, but when I enquired about this for my old Cavalier Diplomat, I was quoted £170 for the modification, and a further £65 for regassing.
Oh yeah I forgot to ask, does anyone know where I might find a handbook for it and if not will a maintenance guide be adequate. Reason I ask is that the trip computer seems to have various functions but I can't see how to access them.
Just to add, there is a fairly obvious way to check if the system uses R12 or R14 gas. I can't for the life of me remember what the local Vauxhall mechanic said to look for under the bonnet for a clue.
First maintenance on used car? -
hows the carlton going...?
a few more things than what the other dudes have posted (I have owned a Carlton for 4 years and for the most part it has been the most reliable car I have had ...)
The other forum posters remarks are valid ... but here are some more inexpensive things to do before they give you grief...
Get the breather gauze changed under the rocker cover of engine (the bit on top of the engine 2inch square by 1cm tall). Its just 8 x 10mm bolts to pop it off ... get a new rocker cover gasket (about £3) together with a new gauze (£5) from any car accessory shop). Fitting takes about 1 hour. You will need to take off two more 10mm bolts on the underside of the rocker cover to get at the gauze. Trust me on this ... its worth getting it changed!
2) I always get a new battery for a used car I buy ... chances are if you dont, it'll go in the winter leaving you shanghai'd somewhere remote :) no matter how good the battery casing looks. (Also buy the heavy duty battery ... for a fiver more, it'll give you that extra oomf in cold weather starts ... its a beast of an engine!
3) Get a Haynes manual ... although my last manual did not have any reference to point 2 above ... it is good for other things ... you can pick em up cheap on ebay.
4) Grease the door hinges and the bit that holds the door open ... (between the hinges)
4a) take off door panels (relatively easy) and grase electric motor connectors to metal runners ... it'll put less stress on window motors and they wont burn out too quickly
5) Watch the rear sills just before rear wheels for rust ... best bet is remove excess rust (if any), wash thouroughly, dry thoroughly, and seal with underseal to protect.
If your carlton is a dark colour, put 40 denier tights (dounled up) on the rear ... you have to take out the whole light unit (4x 10 mm nutes) but its easy to do and it'll look the dogs when done :) PHOTOS AVAILABLE IF YOU WANNA SEE EM :)
If your gearstick leather bit is going, pop it off, purchase 1 meter of vinyl or leather, unstitch the tatty original, draw out new sketch on new cloth, drill 2mm holes around plastic base and restitch up ... it loks the dogs ... I have made a red leather one ... :) PHOTOS AVAILABLE IF YOU WANNA SEE EM :)
If your car does not have one, get one ... Vauxhall / Irmsher like on GSi version of car) it'll transform the car. (Got mine £15 from scrap yard)
A racing petrol cap sticker also does wonders £7 :)
the winter leaving you shanghai'd somewhere remote :) no matter how
good the battery casing looks. (Also buy the heavy duty battery
... for a fiver more, it'll give you that extra oomf
in cold weather starts ... its a beast of an engine!
I would probably take the car along to good auto electrics centre and just get a free battery check. If the first one says "You'd better replace that yesterday mate - and we do finance etc..." get a second opinion. The point made is a good one but you may not actually need to replace the battery. This way you'll know for sure.
All other points made are relevent.
In addition, go for a free brake and exhaust test at ATS. These guys will check EVERYTHING. Brakes on all 4 wheels independently, hand brakes and all exhaust points. No commitment necessary.
If there are any other free checks going HAVE THEM ALL. They could save you doing unnecessary work and point you to areas your money should be spent on. I had a free brake check done at ATS just before a retest on the MOT at another garage. I was conviced that the MOT station was trying to rip me off, so I let him know when I took the car back that it had passed on all 4 wheels at certain %ages. A certificate was later produced, begrudgingly I might add!
As far as the cam belt goes, Change it now, just in case.
After doing all this you will then know what needs doing and can prioritise it accordingly.
Good grief, when it all gets this technical, I really worry about what I should do about my own car - I know gotta do cam belt next MOT time, and oil changes etc, but are there really all these other things I have to get done, or can they wait till MOT/service time?
In a similar vein to this, should I have done anything to my Yaris when I bought it? (2000W) The dealer 'serviced' it before I collected it, but they haven't detailed what was done, and the book hasn't been stamped so I assume it was just a basic check. The next service isn't due for about 6 months, so should I just wait for that and carry on with the scheduled servicing? If I do things like oil, plugs, coolant myself, will this in any way invalidate the warranty?
At what point does the cost of dealer servicing exceed the extra premium a FSH will get you for a car?