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How to Check an Engine before Buying a Used Car

Written by a Guest Blogger 

Buying a car is a big and crucial decision enough in itself and requires to keep in mind various issues including some technical aspects before you actually buy the car.

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It is advisable that one needs to be very cautious and must be aware enough to check all the documentations, every aspect and technical knitty gritties before buying any particular car or vehicle, especially if you are buying a used one.

Among others, one of the main and perhaps the most important thing to check before buying any used car is to check its engine thoroughly.

This job can be done by consulting with an expert and you can also perform it alone. Yes! You heard it right. Even, you on your own can also check the engine of the vehicle before buying it.

We will focus in this article, on various ways in which one can check engine before buying used cars.

Engine is the most vital and heart of any vehicle. To check the condition of the car’s engine, you can do the following to get started with and to escape any regrets later.

 1. Listen to the engine: Before doing anything else, just start the car and listen to the sound very carefully for any unusual noise coming out of the engine. While the engine is running, if you hear any unusual sound or noise that somewhat resembles to knocking, patting or like rattles, you probably should refrain yourself from buying that car.

Any unwanted or unusual noise coming from a running engine indicates that the vehicle’s engine is not being properly checked or maintained and it needs immediate repair. If you ignore them, then in future you may have to shell out several hundred bucks repairing and maintaining the car’s engine, without which the car cannot function.

 2. Test Drive: This is considered as a masterplan to check the condition of the engine, when it comes to buying a used car. Test driving a car before buying could help you in detecting any gross anomalies in the engine.

You must use the accelerator in uphill position and apply the brakes frequently.

Also, it is recommended to drive the car on freeways. If the car shakes, vibrates or any sound or smoke comes out from the engine, then it is best to stay away from buying the car.

Any problem detected in the engine can be an indication of future expenses related to it and its best to refrain yourself from buying such cars and escape the ordeal altogether by going for a well maintained used car.

If you have a defected auto glass or wipers or any other minor things, it can be repaired quickly without much expenses, but when it comes to the car’s engine, it’s another story altogether.

3. Check engine lights: Usually, once a car is started, all the warning lights goes off. But, if somehow, the engine light which is also known as “check engine light” stays on after the car is started, it implies that the car’s engine is at fault and it needs proper diagnosis, repair, and maintenance.

You cannot say just by looking at the light, how serious the problem is. So, it is better to stay away from buying such used cars. Or, have a certified technician complete a thorough inspection and diagnosis.

4. Check the car’s service history– It will enable you know of any engine related issues beforehand.

5. Smoke and timing belt replacement are the other two major things to check out in order to know about the engine’s condition of any used car.

6. Check for oil levels and of any leaks before starting the car and after starting the car. It is very helpful in identifying engine anomalies beforehand.

7. Also, if possible, have a technician complete an engine analysis or compression check of the cylinders to identify the overall condition of the engine.

Keeping in mind the above points and tips will help you to check the overall engine condition of a used car before you decide to buy it.