Originally Posted by OscUd
The oil leak definitely isn't good, it may not be such a big deal if it doesn't leak much. If you test drive it ,compare the dipstick's oil level before and after you drive it with engine off (maybe taking pics), the longer you drive it the better you will know the rate at which oil leaks. I would do a test drive that is longer both in time and distance than what I would usually drive it, to get a sense of how much oil leaks and if it could handle my commuting needs. Make sure to drive it in the highway too. It would be bad if you could noticeably see the oil level drop from 1 test drive, as that would indicate you would have to monitor and top up the oil regularly, or fix the leak. Not sure what could be causing that car to leak oil there, it could be several things. My 09 Aveo leaked oil around the valve cover, which is located above the oil pan. Maybe the Aveo you're looking at is leaking there? Aveos are notorious for having a leaky valve cover and gasket.
I know this thread is old, and the first page has good information on specific parts to be on the lookout for when on checking out used Aveos. But I figured below I would post stuff that applies to LXV engine (09-11) Aveos and most cars in general, for anyone who is looking at used vehicles.
My limited 7 months of performing repairs and maintenance to my Aveo and helping friends fix their cars would lead me to look out for the following before purchasing a used vehicle (it's a lot, but IMO buying a car is a big investment that should be thoroughly planned to avoid headaches down the road):
- Power windows and locks. At least in my 09 Aveo, the lock on the driver's side is the master lock, so if you push it down to lock, the rest do that too
- Paint job condition, condition of seats and interior, dents on the body
- The type of title (is it rebuilt, original, etc)
- Flooding, Crashing history, make sure the VIN isn't reported stolen, other things like that (maybe car fax report after doing an initial inspection of the car yourself and deciding you want to pursue car)
- Check if all lights work (as in light bulbs), check to see if the charging port works
- Check to see if any hoses under the hood look frayed, started cracking, or have leaks. Those will have to be replaced as you do not want any leaky or bursted hoses.
- Check to see if any fluids are leaking, which there ideally shouldn't be. If the AC is turned on, there will probably be some water build-up and leakage on an AC line that goes to the firewall, which is normal. (firewall=wall that separates engine compartment from passenger compartment, located under the hood) If that AC line leaks something that is not water, it's probably refrigerant leaking.
- Turn AC on and check if it works
- If you have a scanning tool with live data capabilities, I would check the fuel trims (Long Term Fuel Trim, or LTFT in particular) at idle, on streets, and on the highway, and how the fuel trims behave over time. Optimally LTFT should be at 0 under any of those mentioned conditions (anywhere -10 to +10 is fine IMO, some say between -5 and 5 is fine), but anything more is bad. If the LTFT is less than -20 or more than 20 ever, then that is definitely a red flag indicating the air-to-fuel ratio is off. The condition can probably be fixed, but with Aveos its harder to fix than on other car models, at least in my limited experience. There is 1 LTFT reading per bank, and Aveos have 1 bank of 4 cylinders. Other cars may have more banks, and hence more than 1 LTFT to monitor.
- I would use a scanning tool to check to see if all the emissions tests (also called OBD readiness or I/M readiness) have ran on the car (ideally all should have passed, any failed tests are a red flag). If any emission tests are pending, which would indicate they recently cleared the car's tests (recently clearing them is a BIG red flag, at least to me, as doing that also erases any check engine light codes, which can temporarily create the illusion of a car without a check engine light until a certain test finishes running that sets off the light).
- If the Check engine light is on, what code(s)? Check for any other warning or flashing lights on the dashboard.
- Ideally one would also check how all the fluids in a car appear inside their tanks, if they are at the right level, if they look dirty, etc.
- Inspect to make sure there's no acid on the + or - battery posts/leads or anywhere near the battery, and gain a sense of how corroded and cracked the car's terminals are if at all. More corroded or cracked is bad.
- If you have a multimeter, check the voltage of the battery. Red is +, black is - . The battery should be at 12.6 V DC or slightly more when the car is off and engine has been off for several hours (If not then it should probably be replaced). If car was recently driven, turn off car, turn high beams on for 10 seconds, turn car off, and wait 2 mins before checking the voltage. No need to turn beams on before checking the voltage if the engine has been off for at least several hours. Once the car is turned on, the battery should be at 13.5-15 V DC. Cars with a battery charge below 12 V may not start, and if the battery's voltage does not increase to that range when turned on, then it will leave you stranded (as happened to me once LOL) and either the alternator does not work or there is a loose/frayed connection between the alternator and battery. If the voltage increases beyond that range, then the voltage regulator on the alternator may not work.
Take the car on a test drive if possible. Check for any squeaking, ticks, dings, or other odd sounds made by the car when driving. If the brakes squeal ask when they were last replaced. Other squeals may reveal a drive or power steering belt or drive belt tensioner that needs to be replaced. Check how rough the car is when it is idling, cruising on streets and the highway. Drive it down a bumpy street to feel the suspension. Lastly check the dipstick oil level before and after the drive to check how the level changes (on level ground). If it's noticeably lower, that is a bad sign.
I would also ask what maintenance records exist for it and/or what maintenance has been done to it. At about 90K miles, its getting to the point that the timing belt needs to get replaced on an 09 aveo (my owner's manual says replace every 100K miles, but that's just their best approximation, not a guaranteed fact. Some fail before that, and some won't fail till after that or at all, but if you drive it past the recommended mileage/time change interval you're essentially playing russian roulette with your engine).
If you do any of the above checks, and some turn out bad, you could bring them up to try to negociate a better deal.
If you like the car and it meets your criteria, it may be a good idea to take it to a mechanic or dealership to inspect it and tell you what they think about it before you purchase it.
I hope some of the above helps those on the search for a new car, be it an Aveo or otherwise.