There are a few simple checks to establish the overall condition of the engine.
Prior to starting the engine
Be careful to check the engine is cold, then remove the radiator cap. Coolant should be visable in the filler neck. This should be either red or blue in colour. Wipe your finger around the inside of the filler neck and the underside of the filler cap, checking that there is not the presence of oil in the coolant.
Visually inspect the engine for any obvious oil leaks.
Start the engine
The engine should start within a couple of seconds and idle smoothly. A fast idle speed is to be expected if the engine is cold. Listen for any obvious knocking or banging noises.
Allow the engine to warm until the front radiator cooling fan is activated. Look at the radiator through the grill underneath the front number plate for signs of coolant leakage and excessive corrosion or stone damage. Also look underneath the vehicle (the area directly below the seats) looking for any signs of coolant leakage from the main coolant pipes.
The engine idle speed will normally be around 750-900 rpm and the coolant temperature needle will sit at half way, when the engine has warmed fully. The engine should be smoothly idling at this point.
Only the hand brake warning light should be visable whilst the doors are closed with the engine running.
Stop engine Remove the oil cap and look underneath it for signs of a creamy substance. Also Remove the dipstick to observe the oils condition. A creamy appearance indicates a head gasket failure.
Restart the engine, to ensure it starts promply when hot.
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Created : 2011-08-27 11:05:22, Last Modified : 2011-08-27 11:05:22