How to Inspect Second Hand Car Parts and Second Hand Engines

Buying second hand car parts or engines is a great way to save money, especially when their new counterparts are so massively expensive. But what should you look out for when purchasing parts or engines? Below we’ll give you a quick overview of the dos and don’ts.

A single car has thousands of little parts, each with its own unique function. Some of these parts are relatively inexpensive and, if possible, should be bought new. In instances where it isn’t possible to purchase new items, second hand car parts and second hand engines require close scrutiny before the transaction has been completed.

The very first thing you should do before buying a second hand car part is to check whether it fits on your vehicle. In many cases vehicle owners settle for more affordable generic substitutes – in other words, parts that are made to fit on more than one make and model. But you’d be surprised to know how many vehicle owners buy a part not suited to their vehicle. It’s money wasted because, since it is second hand, it’s not refundable. Our advice is to get detailed information about the part you intend to buy from the seller, and call a dealer specialising in your car’s make and model, or use the internet.

Next up, once you’re viewing the parts, use a magnifying glass and scour the surfaces of the second hand car parts for any hair-fine cracks. Seals should not be worn or broken, and the nuts and bolts (where applicable) should all be present and come off and go back on without any effort (it pays to check threads). When in doubt, get a mechanic to accompany you.

Now when it comes to second hand engines, the routine is slightly different since engines are much bigger and consist of thousands of small parts. And while you checking each individual part might be the safest solution, it’s simply not feasible.

An engine can be checked in a number of ways: after you’ve made sure that it is indeed the engine you need, start by checking for any oil or fluid leaks. These little leaks can be quite costly to repair, which means that if they are there (and you’ve not been made aware of them before hand), the seller should ideally give you a discount to compensate for the expenses.

Next up, start the engine (if possible) and run it at full temperature. If you smell something burning, something odd or see any smoke, all may not be well. And the same goes for strange noises – it’s hard to say exactly what an engine should sound like since all of them are different, but there shouldn’t be any clicking, grinding, screeching, hissing or sharp noises. The only thing you should hear is the engine running.

These tips aren’t meant to be comprehensive. Instead, they’re meant to give you a few starting points on what you should look out for when purchasing second hand car parts and second hand engines. For a more detailed approach, do a little research on the internet about the part or engine you want to buy, get a book or ask an expert.