Since we've had some people buying used Atom's recently how about a guide to inspecting a used Atom so new owners feel comfortable making sure their car is road ready.

I'll stick to brammo made ecotec based Atoms.

General information.

It is very likely that even Atom that Brammo built is different in some way. manufacturing changed sometimes as often as car to car so expect some differences. The early produced car, the more likely it may need some updates especially if they previous owner did not do them.

There is a good chance someone here already knows your car. We kept some information and pictures of many of the first 120 cars made by Brammo. The best way to get information is to post the last 3 digits of your VIN and ask about it.

Check the service bulletins sections below on what upgrades were released over time

Components to check.

  1. Engine. The ecotec's are reliable engines so would likely require minimal checks
    - oil check - probably worth an oil and filter change.
    - check serpentine belt for damage - passenger side
  2. exhaust - the original exhaust was very prone to problems.
    - check for cracks including the header.
    - check gaskets at connection points, they have a tendency of blowing out
    - if the car includes a catalytic convertor, it will need to be removed to check for melting. if the car was on track with a cat, it is most likely damaged.
    - If there is any rattling or tinging in the muffler, it will need to be replaced.
  3. Air
    - Early models have a air intake hose that looks like a large vacuum cleaner hose. This can rub on the driver's side rear spring and make a hole.
    - the K&N air filter is a 100,000 mile filter. It may need a simple cleaning. This would require taking off the air intake snorkel.
  4. Fuel tank
    - Most cars need to have the gaskets at the fuel pump and fuel inlet replaced. They were made out of the wrong material that break's down with fuel. No easy way to check other than removing the fuel pump assembly. If a gasket is breaking down, it will clog up the fuel pump and the car will stall after a short time driving.
  5. suspension
    - Early gold colored rod ends need to be replaced.
    - all the bolts on the suspension should have paint marks on the nuts to indicate if they have moved or not.
  6. tires and wheels
    - check wheel bearings. jack the car up, grab the top of the wheel and try to move the wheel side to side. If there is any movement then the wheel bearings need replacement.
    - check axel nut tightness on the rear. Remove center caps to get to nut. These need to be 200 ftlbs.
  7. brakes
    - check pads. it is very easy to see the thickness with the wheels still on.
    - check lug nut torque - 80 ft lbs.
    - check the brake fluid level - under the front dash.
  8. cooling
    - check radiator for damage, it tends to get a lot of rocks on the front lower section
    - check intercooler radiator (black, horizontal one behind the main radiator). With the car started, make sure the air is blowing upward.
  9. electrical
    - check all running lights and turn signals. It is worth unscrewing the outer caps and checking the bulb holders for damage. The white plastic holders tend to crack causing the bulbs to fall out.
    - if the dash turns off momentarily when running, there is a fix in the service bulletin section above.


Anything else? I can expand this list