Inspecting the Engine of a Used Car

Posted on 9 July, 2010

The engine is an integral part of any car. When looking to purchase a used car from either a dealer or private individual, this system is worthy of your full consideration. Engine repairs can be quite costly and definitely something you don’t want to have to do right after purchasing a used vehicle. Consumers can arm themselves with knowledge to protect themselves from the worse occurring.

Some sellers will have all of the service tickets or perhaps a record of oil changes. This is a good way to determine if the oil was changed on a consistent basis. Proper maintenance is a good sign. IF the engine oil was changed sporadically, then the engine probably is not going to last for a long time. However, do not stop simply here.

If the owner does not have the services records, then you can make some inspection under the hood. Clues can be found here that will help you ascertain the conditions of the engine. Observe the engine block itself. IS it covered in oil? If so, this is a sign that the car may have been poorly maintained. Some used car sellers may wash the engine block prior to sale. Warm the car up and take it for a test drive. When returning, pop the hood. Check for oil leaks. Often, if a car leaks oil you will see some seepage or trickling oil around the engine or perhaps underneath the vehicle. You may also smell a burnt oil smell after warming the vehicle up.

You can also, open the cap on the engine. This is the cap that must be removed to add oil to the engine. You can peer into the hole and observe some of the interior part of the engine. Also, look at the oil cap itself. If either the cap or the neck where you add oil appear to have gunky black deposits, this could mean that the engine did not receive proper maintenance. You can also check the dipstick level of the oil currently in the vehicle. Observe the oil on the stick. If it appears dirty this could mean that the oil hasn’t been changed for awhile.