September 20, 2020

Car Spotter / Blogger / Reviewer

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Just because you love cars and get a buzz from driving, it doesn’t mean you necessarily have a detailed idea of what goes on under the hood. Sure, you have the basics but if it came to it, would you know what you were looking for if you needed to check over an engine?


In this blog, we take a look at a few tips and tricks for looking like you know what you’re doing but more importantly a few essential things to look out for if you’re thinking about a new car.


If you are venturing into the private seller’s market and are considering buying from an advert, then you might want to pay your local mechanic to come along with you and give your prospective ride a once-over. Failing that, a friend with a really good working knowledge would do just fine. But if you are going solo. Here’s what you’re looking for once that hood is popped:


Belts and Hoses

You’re looking for signs of wear and tear and any obvious damage. Some of these will cost more to replace than others, invariably the belts, so make sure you inspect them closely and ask if they’ve been replaced while the owner has had them.


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Take a look at the engine block as a whole and see if you can spot any signs of brown rust. This can very often mean that a component is leaking and again this can be costly to fix. You’ll obviously want to ask if there’s been any problems with the engine but don’t always expect the seller to be 100% truthful with you.


Oil Filler

Perhaps the best indicator if the car is in good shape can be found in the lid of the oil filler. Remove this lid and if you find any kind of foam residue inside it means that quite probably there’s a leak coming from the head gasket. At this point, you’ll want to let the seller know and walk away from the sale, having saved yourself a small fortune in repairs.



Lastly, pull out the dipstick for the transmission and check that the liquid is a pinkish colour and that it is full up. If there’s a burning smell, this might indicate damage so again, proceed with caution.

You don’t have to understand what every moving part does to check the engine over, but it helps if you have some idea of the elements that might indicate a serious problem. Whether you’re buying privately, or going through a dealership like, you’ll want to carry out these checks to make sure you’re happy with the state of the engine before you shake hands. If you do experience problems after the sale, remember you won’t be able to go back to your private buyer for reimbursement and it’s hard to prove whether they knew about the problem before or after they sold you the vehicle.


If in doubt walk away, there are plenty of cars out there and one of them has your name on.


Car Buying , Car Maintenance

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