New car—yippie!





Here comes the transport down the street with the new old Cadillac or LaSalle you just bought. It’s a beauty and looks great.


You are so thrilled you could eat ice cream and fried chicken. The previous owner lauded all the good points and work that was done on this beauty. You are so happy that it is all that the seller told you it was and what the prepurchase photos showed you.


All you can think of at this time is a test drive and showing it off to your friends, fellow club members and neighbors. Of course, almost all of the neighborhood has already gathered around to watch the unloading.


Maybe a few (or more) friends had been invited over to witness the arrival of the new car. It is even possible that the event took on a rather party-like atmosphere.


Naturally, the first order of business after a few pictures is to take a few rides around the block for the crowd that has gathered. It has now become a rather gala occasion. These rides around the block also give you chance to get a little familiar with the old girl.


If you had an honest seller, he probably told you about any weak points (that he was aware of) and may have told you about some of the work that may need to be done. But, you have a big investment here, so there is some checking out you should do as soon as possible.


The first thing to do is make a thorough check for any kind of fluid leaks. Many of these can be taken care with some minor tightening of fittings, bolts, nuts or screws. If it looks like it might be more major in nature, you can decide if it is something you can do yourself or you will need help. Also decide on how urgently the repairs are that need to be made.


The next thing you want to do is make an inspection of all the wires and electrical connections making sure they are all clean and tight. Don’t move old wires any more than you have to. If they are real old, you might crumble some of the insulation. If you are lucky, the wiring has already been replaced. If not, a new wiring loom should be a very high priority.


Also check out the battery cables and terminals, making sure they are clean and tight. If the battery is more than two to three years old, give some heavy thought to replacing it. In any case, use a good battery tester to determine its condition.


Next, take out one of the rear spark plugs and examine it closely for excessive carbon deposits or oil buildup and/or erosion. Spark plugs are cheap, so unless they appear to be near new, replace them and make sure they are properly gapped. Check your service manual.


Also, carefully take off the distributor cap and check both the inside of the cap and the rotor for signs of wear from arcing. If they are okay, at least clean off any residue or dirt of any kind that might cause exterior arcing which could cause the engine to run a little rough.


Next up, you should check all the hoses. Not only visually for signs of erosion and bulging, but feel them for any softness. If you do have bulges, softness or erosion, replace them. Better now than on the road.


As long as you’re checking rubber under the hood, check your belt(s) very carefully. Any sign of cracking or glazing should leave no doubt in your mind to replace them. Be sure the belt tension is right for the car according to your service manual.


To finish up the rubber inspection, be sure to check the tires for wear and pressure. (Again check your service manual.) If the car came from a different climate and/or altitude, the pressure will need to be set to conform to your local conditions. Along this line, you will probably need to adjust the carburetor and timing.


Finally, give the car a good lube job and oil change, and, while you are at it, fill the tank with fresh gasoline. Oops, there seems to be a little dust on the hood! Oh well, what the heck, give it a good wash and wax and start looking for excuses to take her out for a little ride. After all, that’s why you bought this car, isn’t it??


If this article seems to apply to any recent event with a Club member, I wish to assure you that it was not coincidental, but actually intentional.


See ya next month,