girl checking her car's engine

Before you take your new car out for a drive, check your engines for safety. You can do this by checking on the engine yourself for obvious signs of damage or getting a professional to check it. Auto repair shops can do engine test stands, dyno testing, and emission testing for your car.

A professional opinion assures you that your car’s engine is working perfectly, both on the surface and within its internal mechanisms.

Personal Inspection

Before handing your car over to the professionals, you may do a personal inspection of your engine. Don’t take out any parts if you’re unsure of what you’re doing. If something appears broken or out of place, leave it for your mechanic to fix.

Conduct a purely visual inspection on your engine. Then check your vehicle’s fluids. Your engine’s coolant should contain antifreeze, which is green in color. Normal engine oil is brown, translucent, and full. It should not smell burnt, appear discolored or clumpy. These are signs of potential engine problems, so you should have it checked by a professional right away.

Besides checking the engine’s fluids, look for leaks, too. A leak is the most common sign that your engine or vehicle needs repair. A leaking engine causes accidents and fires, so don’t turn the engine on or attempt to take your car on a drive at the first sign of leakage.

Once you’ve determined that your engine has no leakage, you can start your car. Listen to the sounds your engine makes. A safe, normal car starts easily without struggling or banging, and without smoke coming out of the engine.

Even though your engine appears OK, if you’re unsure, take it to a mechanic and have a compression check performed on the engine. This process measures if your engine has the correct amount of pressure needed for it to function properly.

Compression Testing

A compression test reveals the condition of your engine’s valves, piston rings, seats, and if these parts are functioning properly. Healthy engines have a compression of over 100 psi per cylinder, with no more than 10 percent variation between readings. If your engine has a compression lower than this, that indicates a potential engine problem.

Dyno Testing

A dynamometer is a device used to measure force, power, and torque. It is useful in the development and refinement of modern engine technology. A dyno measures and compares power transfer from different points in a vehicle. This allows the modification of the engine for more efficient power transfers.

Your vehicle’s dyno performance depends on its engine’s torque and chassis dynamo. A computation between the two would reveal if your car’s drive train losses are nominal or if it requires repairs.

Engine Test Stands

mechanic checking the car engine

Engine test stands have a large number of sensors attached to different parts of an engine. The engine is then filled with fuel and other necessary fluids. The sensors transmit data directly to the computer while the engine undergoes different test conditions for temperature, pressure, and humidity.

Check the health of your engine before you drive, especially when you’re going on a long road trip. Doing this ensures your safety and reduces your risk for accidents. This preventive maintenance task may also reduce the cost of car ownership.