Mitsubishi Pajero – Buying guide

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You decided to buy a Pajero!

That is a wise decision, at least, we would like to think so, since we are driving one as well 🙂

If that is the first time you buy a 4×4, you may want to go with a more experienced friend, one more pair of eyes is always better.

I think printing that list and take it with you while checking the Pajero would be a good idea.

Most of the tips here are relevant to every kind of car that you will buy, if I had that list while I bought my last 2 cars, I guess a lot of money would be saved…

Take your time now, sit and read 🙂

First look:

1. If possible, talk with the seller, try to learn about the car, the reasons it is being sold and its history. That might sound a little odd, but I prefer to buy from someone who is reliable and not just a dealer who’s trying to get rid of the junk and make some space in his parking lot.

2. Verify that the seller has the actual rights to sell the car (owner or authorized dealer)

3. Try to receive maintenance documents:

  • When was the timing belt replaced (if needed)?
  • When did they last service the cooling system?
  • When did they service the brakes system?
  • When did they service the automatic transmission ( if it is an auto model)

4. Now, let’s look at the car itself. Go around the car, look at the engine hood, are the spaces on its sides equal? if not, it might been installed without being centered from some reason, or, one of the sides has some accident and wasn’t fixed correctly. Look at the doors and the spaces around them, are they equal? look at the paint and the rubber around the windows, are there paint signs on it? if so, that part had been painted, ask why.

5. Do the door handles work? can  you open (and close) all of the doors?

6. Look for dents and corrosion, be careful of corrosion, it is the cancer of the cars. once it is there, it is very hard to get rid of it.

7. Look at the lights, are they clear or need to be polished? are all the lights working and not broken? (look at the lights on the rear bumper)

8. Check the windshield and windows, any cracks? do all the windows go up and down all of the way?

9. Check the seats, any tears? do they support or maybe should be restored?

10. Any broken plastic covers in the cabin?

Under the hood:

1. Open the hood, have a look, how does the engine look? Is it clean or maybe there is oil all over? any wires that have been added to the engine? what are they for? any workarounds? Is the fan shroud complete?

2. While the engine is cold: 

  • Open the radiator cap: look inside, is it coolant or regular tap water? if it is regular water, say “it was nice meeting you” and go away. corrosion is the cruelest enemy of the engine, regular water will cause corrosion.
  • Look at the coolant, is it clean? if it has some white “cream” in it, consider that there might be a problem with the head gasket.
  • Check the coolant level, if it is missing, there might be a problem.
  • Look at the radiator, any rust inside? any leaks? do the plastic tanks have any cracks in them?
  • Look at the hoses, are they flexible and complete?
  • Look at the oil filter, any leaks around it?
  • Check the engine oil dipstick,  are they signs of coolant in the oil? smell it, is there a burnt oil smell?
  • If it is an automatic transmission car, check the transmission dipstick, is the oil red? is it clean? if any of these answers is “no” – there is a major problem with the transmission. Smell it, if there is a burnt oil smell, go away…

3. Under the car:

  • Go under the car, look at all of the ball-joints (near the wheels) – are there tears in the rubber?
  • Check the U-Joints – hold the drive-shaft in one hand and the yoke (the part that comes out of the transfer or the differential-depends which side you check) try to turn them one against each other, there should not be any play, they should stick together.
  • Look for oil leaks (yes, I know, it is not a Landrover, but still it might be leaking 🙂  )
  • Look at the bushings, are they dry and cracked or do they look good?
  • Try to play with the ball joints, is there any play? You may do that by turning the steering wheel, be careful not to get run over…
  • If it is possible, lift the car, one side at the time, hold the wheel at 12 & 6 o’clock and try to move it, if it moves, the bearings should probably be replaced.
  • Look at the exhaust – check for holes.
  • Look at the spring mounts, is there any rust there? how bad is it?
  • Turn the drive shaft with your hands, there should be a play there, but not too much.

4. In the car

  •  Check the A/C – is it working? if it is equipped with rear A/C, check that one as well.
  • Check the heater – is it working?
  • Look at the dashboard, do all of the gauges work?
  • Do the windows go up and down? is the central lock works and locks all of the doors?
  • Open the sunroof, any rust there? close it and verify it goes back to the right place.
  • Fold the rear seats, check the 3rd row of seats and verify that the driver and passenger seats move

5. Drive

  • Start the engine, make sure it sounds good, not going up and down etc…
  • Put into a gear, if it is an auto transmission, make sure it responds immediately. if there is a delay in the movement, that might be one of the transmission’s sensors and should be checked for cost of repair.
  • Start driving, check all of the gears, in manual transmission, go through all of the gears (including Reverse) and in the Auto, drive to ~110 km/h, the engine should be around 2100 rpm.
  • Make sure the clutch is not slipping in the manual and that the gears responds on time.
  • Make sure there are no whining  sound while accelerating (may indicate on a bad differential –  Corona/ Pinion – pretty expensive to fix.
  • Check all of the 4wd options – try to do it on sand. see it works with no weird sounds or knocking. Turn while you are in 4wd and hear the noises.
  • If the car equipped with a rear diff lock, test it, try to put on wheel on a place with no grip in the ground, while the other on the road. lock the rear diff, both wheels (rear) should turn at the same speed (notice – the rear lock works only while the transfer is in 4LLC position).
  • Verify that it drives straight a head without pulling to any direction.
  • Try the brakes, the car should stop with no noises and without pulling to any direction.

 Tip: don’t buy the first car you see and drive. check at least 2-3, after the 3rd, you will know what you are looking for…

Good luck.

If you have any additions or comments, please comment below.




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