Buying a Pre-Owned Vehicle: When to Get an Engine Inspection?

Did you know that new cars lose more than 10 percent of their value in the first month? That’s why many drivers believe it’s a smarter financial decision to purchase a used car instead.

But if you’re looking at pre-owned vehicles, you may wonder about quality, safety, and reliability. After all, a used car is only a better purchasing decision if you avoid major repairs.

One way to do that is to invest in an engine inspection. Read on to find out how to avoid lemons.

Start with a Test Drive

Though some online car dealers will tell you otherwise, taking a test drive is a crucial step in buying a car. You can spot many problems by simply spending time with the vehicle. If you’re thinking about a test drive, you can view preowned vehicles here.

When you’ve found a car you’re interested in, take a walk around the vehicle. Are there any exterior panels that appear to be a different color? This is a sign that the car has had substandard repairs done.

Take a look under the car to spot rust or disrepair. Then check that every light and door is functioning properly.

When you take the car for a spin, listen carefully for any unusual engine sounds. Does it struggle at higher speeds or when changing gears? These could be signs of engine problems.

Do Your Own Engine Inspection

It’s a smart idea to pop the hood and check out the engine for yourself. Once you’ve parked the car and turned it off, wait until the engine cools, then open the hood and find the engine.

The first thing you want to look for is any sign of a leak. If there’s a smell of burnt oil or coolant, this is a red flag and could mean expensive repairs will be necessary.

Checking out the oil levels is smart as well. The oil should be close to the full mark on the dipstick. If it’s low, it could mean the car is burning oil quickly.

Another possibility is that it may have been a while since the last oil change. Failing to have the car’s motor oil changed regularly could lead to a range of engine woes.

Bring the Car to a Professional Mechanic

If the car passes muster in your inspection, then you should bring it to a trusted mechanic. Even if you’re knowledgeable about cars, having an expert opinion in hand is the best way forward.

A certified automotive mechanic will know exactly what to look for in a pre-purchase car inspection. They will check to ensure that all hoses and belts are in good condition. They can spot whether a seller is using tricks to cover up any pre-existing problems as well.

Keep in mind that if you’re buying a car from a dealership, you will have an easier time getting a pre-purchase inspection. If you’re buying from a private owner, you should expect to pay for any inspection the seller agrees to.

Do Your Due Diligence and Get a Great Car

Fortunately, if you do your homework, you can drive home a great used car that will last for years to come. Using common sense and getting a professional engine inspection will mean that you have a reliable car without the new car sticker shock.