Are you a Utah resident looking to purchase a car? When buying used cars in Utah, it is important to check the car engine before completing the sale. The car might have a beautiful body and interior, but if the engine is defective, you might be stepping into a colossal money trap.

Here are some ideas for vetting used cars for purchase:

  • Check the car service records – While the complete car service record may not always be available, used car dealers can usually produce some proof that the car has been regularly maintained. The car service record will show when important parts, such as the timing belt, have been changed.
  • Look under the hood – You will find a trove of information about the car engine when you inspect under the hood. You can examine the condition of the hoses, check for leaks, and see broken or missing parts. If the car has been poorly maintained, you can usually see clear signs of neglect beneath the hood. You may be able to smell burnt oil, which means that the engine oil has not been changed for a long time. Check under the oil cap and note the oil level. You can also look for any performance modifications, which could either improve or diminish the car’s performance, depending on the quality of the modifications.
  • Start the car engine – Watch for red flags when you rev up the car. You may detect an old battery, hear problematic engine noise, or see blue smoke. Ensure that the ‘Check Engine’ light is not illuminated.
  • Test-drive the car – Make sure to take used cars for a spin before committing to purchase them. As you drive, watch out for unusual engine noises, vibrations, lack of engine power, and other driving issues. A good car engine should start smoothly, without any hesitation or shaking. Observe if the speed of the car is stable. If possible, drive the car for several miles. A short drive may not reveal all of its issues.

Buy the used car only if you are satisfied with the engine’s condition and performance. If you are not entirely happy, hold off on your purchase—even if the seller gives you a hefty discount. Be cautious when buying used cars in Utah. If the car is in good shape, buying used can be a great move. If it’s a lemon, buying used cars for sale in Utah can backfire.