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What do you look for when you get under the car? #4097523 05/15/16 03:03 PM
Joined: Aug 2015
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paulri Offline OP
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Just got a set of used steel ramps. Look old but hardly used. This week I want to put my cars up on them to try it out. I have heard some of you talking about one advantage of changing your oil, is that you get to see what your engine is like, and check for any problems. That's fine, I'll give it a shot. When the cars are up on the ramps, I'll go ahead and take a look below.

Only I'm not sure what to check for. So what should I be on the lookout for? Dripping/leaking fluids is a good guess. Anything else? If nothing else, I'll at least have a mental picture of what the car should look like, so when I do this to change my oil in a few months, I have something to compare it to.


2005 Toyota Sienna LE; 163,000 miles
2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 118,000 miles
Re: What do you look for when you get under the car? [Re: paulri] #4097536 05/15/16 03:24 PM
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Kestas Offline
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I never look for anything specific. I just poke around. Problems will present themselves.

I suppose if you want specifics, you can check suspension parts to make sure they're tight, and as you said, check for fluid leaks.

Re: What do you look for when you get under the car? [Re: paulri] #4097538 05/15/16 03:28 PM
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Nick1994 Offline
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Suspension bushings, leaks, heater hoses, rack and pinion leaks, brake hoses and connections, CV boots, etc.


2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0L 57k Mobil 1 5w30 & Wix
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 236k Mobil Super HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 150k Mobil 1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra
Re: What do you look for when you get under the car? [Re: paulri] #4097540 05/15/16 03:30 PM
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DutchBrad Offline
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I check for leaks, the condition of the CV joints, exhaust, tires, suspension, rust (living in the rust belt), gas lines, etc. Just give it a good look over since I don't get a chance to see from that perspective much.

I would much rather have my own eyes looking for trouble than trusting a oil change "tech" keeping it in check. I keep my vehicles for a long time, I try to either avoid trouble or know in advance when something needs to be done.

If something looks strange/wet/out of place, and you don't know what the issue is, do the research on the forums to look for problems. Almost all makes have on line forums now, even my low production electric. Many times the same issue comes up over and over on any given model.

My $0.02


12 Mitsubishi i-MiEV 20k-electric
03 Toyota Sienna 149k PP 5w20 P1
96 Honda Accord LX 237k VNG 5w30, Pronto
96 Honda Accord EX ??K, VNG, Pronto



Re: What do you look for when you get under the car? [Re: DutchBrad] #4097547 05/15/16 03:45 PM
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paulri Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: DutchBrad

If something looks strange/wet/out of place, and you don't know what the issue is, do the research on the forums to look for problems. Almost all makes have on line forums now, even my low production electric.


Absolutely true. I have made good (occasional) use of forums dedicated to my vehicles.


2005 Toyota Sienna LE; 163,000 miles
2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 118,000 miles
Re: What do you look for when you get under the car? [Re: paulri] #4097564 05/15/16 04:08 PM
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Rick in PA Offline
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CV boots, as mentioned, I'll look for a split in the boot slinging grease, but they seem pretty good these days.


A wise man told me:
"Heat is your friend." and "Any oil is better than no oil."
Re: What do you look for when you get under the car? [Re: paulri] #4097572 05/15/16 04:16 PM
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HTSS_TR Offline
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Chock the rear wheels and set emergency brake, and if possible have a set of jack stands under the car for the first few uses to make sure the ramps are good.


'00 MB E430
'04 Honda S2000
'06 Volvo V70
'14 Honda Accord LX
"Throwing food away is like stealing it from the poor and hungry" Pope Francis
Re: What do you look for when you get under the car? [Re: paulri] #4097604 05/15/16 05:01 PM
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sleddriver Offline
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Using a BRIGHT light, examine everything in detail. Be sure to wear safety glasses/goggles. Getting fluid, dirt, grease, etc. in your eyes is no fun at all.


1998 Volvo V70 T5 228,880 mi. Original Owner.
M1 10W-30 HM
"It's never a mistake to buy tools, defined broadly. They're not a cost, they're an investment." - J.B. Peterson
Re: What do you look for when you get under the car? [Re: Kestas] #4097628 05/15/16 05:45 PM
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Kuato Offline
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Originally Posted By: Kestas
I never look for anything specific. I just poke around. Problems will present themselves.

I suppose if you want specifics, you can check suspension parts to make sure they're tight, and as you said, check for fluid leaks.



Right...it's not so much what to look for other than leaks etc, but what has changed since the last time you looked at it....kind of like a trend with a UOA.


Thick vs Thin test: 15k / 43k miles complete
Re: What do you look for when you get under the car? [Re: paulri] #4097640 05/15/16 06:05 PM
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Wheel Offline
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Excess rust, drips, crumbling bushings, frayed/worn hoses and wires, torn boots on CV and ball joints, nests from critters.

It might be good to take a quick photo for future comparison.


2009 Subaru Legacy (N/A)
Quaker State Ultimate Durability and NAPA filter
Re: What do you look for when you get under the car? [Re: paulri] #4097672 05/15/16 07:01 PM
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demarpaint Offline
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When under a car I look for leaks, rust, condition of brake lines, hoses, shocks, bushings, rubber parts, exhaust system, etc.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: What do you look for when you get under the car? [Re: paulri] #4097721 05/15/16 07:53 PM
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BrocLuno Offline
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A lot of modern cars have aero shielding under the front 1/3 or so. Look to see if it's intact and see how the fasteners come out as you may have to remove it to do the service.

Look for rust streaks.

Look at the inside-wall on the tires. You'd be amazed at the cuts and bruises that are never seen until you get under there ...


Formerly in marine engineering. In an earlier life I owned my own petroleum tank truck, and hauled for the majors and independent's.
Re: What do you look for when you get under the car? [Re: paulri] #4097882 05/16/16 01:37 AM
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ajchien Offline
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I use jack stands instead of ramps.

I check for leaks, look at rubber boots and bushings, check electrical lines, check hoses. Then I check suspension for ah abnormal play.

Minor things I've found: plastic bag wrapped around an axle, broken clips and a dangling abs sensor wire, (don't know the name of this) torn rubber boot covering a strut, leaking shocks, leaky oil pan, missing plastic push pin clips and dangling splash shields.


2003 Honda CRV EX 290,000+ miles
2003 Honda Element EX 330,000+ miles
2018 Ford Transit XLT 27,000+ miles
Re: What do you look for when you get under the car? [Re: paulri] #4111046 05/31/16 12:31 AM
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mjoekingz28 Offline
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paulri,


First of all, it seems like you should get acquainted with the process. Safety trumps all other. Then a very minor mistake, it is good knowing, can take all of your hard work and make it seem counter-productive.

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