Before you close the hood and take the car for a test drive, let’s look at the transmission. If the car is automatic, there will be another dipstick. Check it just like you checked the engine oil. The transmission fluid should be clean and pinkish in color. See if there are any metal fillings or black flakes. Also, smell the fluid. Is there a burnt smell? This is a sign of abuse. The transmission connects the engine to the axel. It will look different on every car. On a rear wheel drive car, the transmission is a large, almost cone shaped, block located at the back of the engine. In a front wheel drive car, it is usually on the bottom to the side of the engine. Find out more about the make and model of the car you are looking to buy and locate the transmission. Also check to see if the transmission has been disconnected for repair. Repaired transmissions are a sign of possible problems in the future. Are there any leaks? If so, stay away. If the car has a manual transmission, you might have fewer problems since manual transmissions have a simpler design. Don’t be afraid of buying a stick shift. They consume less fuel and brakes, cost less to maintain and you’ll pay less for the car when compared to the same make and model with an automatic transmission.
Finally, the last things to look at before you close the hood are the CV joints. The CV joints are what allow the car to turn and move forward at the same time (FWD cars only). They are gears protected by an accordion-like boot, almost like a plunger. This rubber boot is very important since it keeps the lubricant in and dirt out. If the boot is torn, stay away.