How to Buy Second Hand Engines in South Africa

Buying second hand engines in South Africa is a common occurrence. With so many used vehicles in circulation, many dealers, car owners and enthusiasts will rather fork out on a used engine still capable of doing the job than a new one. Knowing what you are buying, however, is key to a successful purchase.

It goes without saying that you should do a little research before scouting for second hand engines in South Africa. You should know what you’re looking for and why you’re looking for it because more than one engine might fit your car, and engines vary greatly in terms of performance. Start off by making a checklist of all the engine features you desire: power, durability, emissions, economy, etc.

Next, start looking for your engine. Use Gumtree, have a look in the classifieds and ask your local dealers whether they know of auto repair shops or individuals currently selling second hand engines in South Africa. Most importantly, however, once you’ve found someone selling the engine you want, do a few background checks: what do people say about the seller? Is he in it for the money only, or is he an honest Joe? Our advice: businesses are easier to check than individuals if you don’t know them from a bar of soap.

If all checks out well, make an engine checklist of things to check when you go to inspect the engine. Second hand engines in South Africa aren’t subject to stringent safety and performance checks as they are in other countries, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Here are some things to check:

  • Coolant: when you remove the radiator cap, check the coolant. If it is brown and murky, or if there’s oil drifting on top, it could be indicative of a bad gasket.
  • Check the oil; foam on the dipstick could also point to a bad gasket.
  • Check the engine’s history – this means oil changes, services, etc.
  • Check the spark plugs. Worn or damaged spark plugs could prove problematic later on.
  • Ask for a warrantee! Engines under warrantee might cost a little more than engines without, but only in the short run.

These engine tips above are by no means a comprehensive list. But it gives you an idea of what to check for when you’re investing in second hand engines in South Africa. Most important in addition to the above is to listen to the engine. Let the seller start it for you, and run the engine until it’s hot. Any abnormal sounds such as hissing, screeching or clanking could be a sign that something is amiss. Odours (burning or otherwise) too could be an indication that there’s a leak somewhere or that there’s friction where there shouldn’t be.

Investing in second hand engines in South Africa is a smart financial move, especially in a country where cars and car parts are generally expensive. But it pays to do a little research before you buy.