Used car: How to Look Under the Hood

In light of the high prices of new cars, many opt for the used car market to get a vehicle that suits their financial capabilities. 

There are some basics that each buyer must know to avoid buying a lemon: an auto with many hidden defects and then regret it.

It is essential to look at what is under the hood. That is a must especially if you are buying from an individual and not a used car dealer in UAE.

After you chose the right car for your needs, it’s time to pop up the hood and see what is under it. 

Although it is better to get someone knowledgeable to do that task for you, a car dealer, or a mechanic you trust.

However, if you feel like understanding cars and want to do the checking, here are the most important parts to look at.


Carefully observe the condition of the plastics and rubbers. Cracks and fadings are not good signs.

If you notice that the owner has cleaned the engine just before the car presentation, this may mean leaks that the seller would like to conceal (it can also demonstrate the seriousness of the seller who wants to sell a flawless car).

If the owner has parked the vehicle in one place for some time, check for stains on the ground. Those could imply oil or other leaks.

There’s nothing as “too much caution”. Thus, check that the serial number written under the hood (or lower part of the windshield on recent models) is the same as on the card.


Check for any acid leaks (dried white deposits). If the battery needs changing, the cost will depend on its size and the model of the car.

Changing the battery before selling your car in Dubai is a good idea if you want to get more for it. 

Coolant level

A low level may indicate that the circuit or the radiator leaks. In addition, if the owner drove his car for a long time with a bad level, the engine overheats and that reduces its lifespan.

If you notice oil in the water, this may indicate a sealing problem at the cylinder head gasket. Attention! This is an expensive repair.

Brake Fluid Level

The level of brake fluid can tell you about the level of wear and tear of the brake pads. So a level that is too low may indicate that they need a change.

Cardan Shaft

Check the universal joint boots that connect the wheel to the steering. If these are not visible from the engine, turn the wheels and look under the car.

Another symptom is hearing rattles when accelerating on a corner. If it is pierced, changing the Cardan shaft is a must. 

Oil Level

A low oil level may reveal that the car is consuming oil, which is not a good sign (be careful, recent cars with low mileage consume oil and this is normal, it should stop around 30,000 km).

A high oil level is also not good for the mechanics. The engine risks racing which, if it lasts too long, risks engine failure (many people have done their oil changes alone without the slightest idea and who have broken their engine this way).


Check that the heater is in good condition and no leaves or other debris are covering it. If the radiator doesn’t cool the engine as it should, it will suffer from severe heatstroke which in its turn reduces the life of the engine.

Hope you find your perfect auto much soon. Until then, open your eyes wide and pay attention to every detail. And keep in mind, not everything that shines is gold!

Author: Sultan Asad

Sultan Asad is the Branding Manager at WeBuyCarsDXB. More than 5000 customers from all over the UAE have chosen We Buy Cars DXB as a trustworthy car selling service that provides a hassle-free way for any person selling their car by taking care of the deal front to end in under 30 minutes.

Get more acquainted with their hassle-free way to buy a car in under 30 minutes at WeBuyCarsDXB.