If you have a mind to purchase a used vehicle, it could be a great decision. A lot more buyers are choosing to go for used vehicles because, number one, they are often the fraction of the cost of a new vehicle, and number two, there are some excellent options out there in terms of year, brand, and model, and so on. If you opt for a used vehicle, you don’t have to worry about the vehicle’s depreciation as well, because most of it would have already happened – and you can still enjoy driving your vehicle for a few years yet. But deciding to buy a used vehicle is one thing and choosing the best one is another. There are lots of aspects you should check, but one of the most important is the car’s engine. So what should you check when inspecting a used car’s engine? Here’s your definitive guide.

Taking a good look under the vehicle’s hood: what to look out for 

  • Leaks or corrosion 

Once you pop the hood, one of the first things you should check is whether the engine has any leaks or corrosion. Everything underneath the hood should be in good condition; it doesn’t need to be in tip-top shape, but it should at least be working relatively well. Check for gasket leaks – you can determine if there are oil stains in a dark brown color on the car’s engine block. This can result in a costly repair in time. Check the fluid reservoirs for any leaks, and make sure the belts are not dried out or cracked. The radiator hoses shouldn’t be soft, either.

  • Transmission fluid, coolant, and oil

The car needs to have oil once you take out the dipstick, and if there is any foam residue on the cap of the oil filler, this could indicate a gasket leak. If you find this, it’s a definite deal-breaker, unfortunately. Furthermore, the coolant has to be clear and not brown or dirty because this could indicate a gasket leak; it could also mean that the coolant was never flushed. 

The dipstick for the transmission should have a red or pink fluid, but older cars may have darker transmission fluid. But watch out for a burnt look or smell, as used car Utah dealer The Young Automotive Group will confirm. 

  • Timing belt 

The timing belt is the costliest belt you will have to replace on any vehicle, and it’s also the most essential. If the timing belt has a steel chain, this is a good sign. The standard life of timing belts is from 60,000 to 100,000 miles, so make sure that it’s in good condition before checking other elements. 

Of course, it’s also essential to check the exterior and interior of the car; some of the most vital aspects would be the panels (make sure they are the same color and finish throughout), the tires, and the frame. In the exterior, it’s critical to check the upholstery as well as the air conditioning or heating. Inspect the other interior functions, too, such as the lights, the dash display (especially when you turn on the engine), and the electronics and technology, from the stereo system to the navigation system, reverse camera, parking sensor, and the like. Good luck!