Test drive an XJS

Okay, so you have done all your research and studied the XJS in order to decide if you should buy one. You asked all the experts such as your pool guy, the little old lady you see at the grocery store who has not driven a car in 40 years and arrives as a customer of Uber. You also asked the shoe salesman where you buy your shoes, the security guard at your bank and the ultimate expert on the XJS, the priest during confession. So you are as ready for this venture as a surgeon preparing for surgery who has spent many years in medical school.

You feel that the inline-six from 1992 to 1996 will be your choice and you are now searching online sites and have found several that run and look good. So here is a little help and a few things to look for before and during your test drive. 

Turn on the power by starting the engine to check all switches such as all lights interior and exterior including turn signals, radio, antenna, check seat controls located on the doors, lighter in the console, AC & Heat controls located on each side of the radio, temp and AC button on the left and fan on the right. Turn on and check all cycles and listen for a change in sound when switching to defrost and air should then be blowing from the top just under the windshield out of the plastic molding across the dash. Switch back and forth to make sure the blower motor speed cycles are functioning and switching from the top of the dash on defrost and from the dash vents on the face of the dash and below when switching from outside air to recycled interior air. This becomes more evident when driving and the vents are open, you can smell the air from outside then as you switch to interior recycled air, it will change. 

Also, check the AC vents to be sure you can adjust them by hand and they remain in the position you place them in. If they do not stay in the position you move them in, then they are broken. The center vent will cost around $90 and the side vents around $45 each. Check the mirror switch that is located on the dash just behind the ignition and is a round knob that you can turn to the left or right to adjust the door mirrors. If the switch is bad, it cost around $65 to replace. If the mirrors are damaged, they will cost around $95 each to replace. The rearview mirror located in the center of the windshield cost around $55 to replace. Check the headlights and taillights for damage. If any are cracked, they are all very costly and hard to find and no longer in production, however, we are investigating the reproduction of the lights. The used headlights will cost around $350 each. The corner/outer taillights will cost around $400 each, the inner tail lights located on the trunk/boot lid will cost around $275 each and the smaller lens on either side of the license plate is a lens only, not a light and is called a dummy light and only on cars in the States as the European license plates are longer. They will cost around $75 each. If the car has been sitting and the glass is dirty, clean the windshield with water before turning on the wipers. I do not recommend using the windshield washer when very dirty, as the blades will scratch the glass from the dirt before they get wet.

When you start the car, lights on the dash will come on and should soon go off in about 15 to 45 seconds however periodically look at the engine temp to see if it runs hot. The temp should be around the middle of the gauge once the engine is up to operating temperature. Do drive in traffic and on the highway for as long as possible. While test-driving as tempting as it is, do not listen to music. Do check the radio but do not have it on while test driving. This is when you need to pay attention to any sounds coming from the car. If there is any whining sound this could be a brake issue, power steering pump, front or rear hub bearings or the worst the differential.

If there is grinding when you apply the brakes then for sure the rotors are bad and this normally occurs in the front. If there is a knocking sound it could be ball joints or tie rods. These are only suggestions as cars can have any of these sounds and could very well be something else. Make sure the transmission shifts smoothly and no jumping or jerking. Check the exhaust for smoke, when you first start the engine and when warm (around 5min) rev it up then look again by immediately going to the back and repeat when you return from the test drive. As well check the temp gauge again and if it is close to the red, then there is a cooling issue that could be a simple fix or it could be catastrophic. Either way, this needs to be identified before purchase

1 comment

  • thn you .my xjs 1989 is perfect running from 1st day oilprepresure is 3 when start it never get up highr .is that O K ?

    peter aigner

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