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Published On: Tue, Oct 18th, 2016

How to Check a Used Car Before Buying Checking the Engine

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Learn how to inspect the engine of a used car so you don’t get stuck with a bad car. I show you how to check for head gasket leaks, check the fluids, see if the car was in a front end collision, and much more!

Step by step procedure to check a used car engine before buying.

  • How to check the error codes from the ECU initially, the car we are checking is a Jaguar.
  • Opens up the hood and check the condition of the engine for any leaks or issues, if the engine looks very clean, that means the user has something to hide from you.
  • How to make sure that the car has an accident or was repaired. Inspecting the fender can give you an idea of any accident history, because after an accident it’s pretty difficult for the body shop guys to fix the fender as straight and that of a factory fitment. So check its alignment of that is critical.
  • Check the front core support for any bends.
  • If you see any bumper damage, check under the frame and make sure that there is not failure for the frame, if the frame is damaged it’s a bad indication, this can affect the alignment of the frame and even the engine mountings are dependent on that.
  • Scan underneath the car, the engine oil sump side and transmission for any leaks.
  • Check the coolant and make sure that there is not oil content in it, if it indicates a oil content, that means the engine has a head gasket leak.
  • Check the brake master cylinder for any leaks; make sure that the oil level is above the minimum level, if there is any leak you can see it at the mounting portion of the master cylinder.
  • Check the power steering reservoir; check the oil condition as said in the video.
  • Check the power steering lines to the pump and see if there is any leakage.
  • Head gasket leak also can be identified by checking the engine oil filling cap, if there is white oil (something like milk shake) its evident that the engine has a head gasket leak.
  • Also look through the oil filling cap for any sludge (it will look like chocolate syrup if sludge is present)
  • Finally check the oil dipstick, oil should be in level and make sure that there is no shining material like metal powered or something. If it there, its shows that your engine is pretty worn out.
  • Also check that all the hose’s are in good condition, not bulged or hard (vacuum hoses, coolant hoses etc.
  • Check the engine belts, good belt won’t have shiny look, no crack and will be tight when you press it.
  • Start the engine and check the initial smoke condition, if the smoke is clear – good, if you have a blue smoke that indicates that the car valves seals are leaking into the combustion chamber.
  • Accelerate the car and check if you get more white smoke, which means, it has a head gasket leak and if its blue smoke, that means it has worn out piston rings. (Make sure that you make the check when the car is warm).
  • Start the engine and check for leaks with your flash lights.
  • Keeping the engine on, open the oil filling cap and check for any blow-by, open the oil filling cap close it with your hand as shown in the video and check for any vacuum or feel of pressure. If it’s there that means that (a little pressure can be normal for more cars), there is a blowby and the piston rings are worn out (make sure that there is no much smoke and no oil splashing).
  • Make sure that you check while engine is warm because things will be different in warm and cold engine.
  • See the engine sound for any abnormalities, make sure the idling sound is even and no variations etc.

If you need help, please drop a comment. we will respond to it.

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