Engine Inspection

Why you should learn what to check under your vehicle's hood.

Your engine requires three essentials in order to run – fuel, spark and air. The different systems in your engine compartment work together to ensure that the right mixture of these three essentials combine to make power.

Your induction system mixes air and fuel together in just the right proportion and guides it into the cylinders. The ignition system sends a spark to the right cylinder at the right time and the explosion of air and fuel is what makes the power to get you down the road.

If any of these essentials are missing, your vehicle will not operate properly. Learning how to identify the systems under your hood and perform an engine inspection is easy thanks to Advance Auto Parts. Plus, Advance Auto carries a full line of quality auto parts to help you correctly execute routine vehicle maintenance jobs.

An inspection of engine systems every other fill-up can help you avoid costly repairs.

While your engine may seem complicated, identifying underhood components is easy. Knowing where to look and how things work is knowledge that can help you down the road.

A quick check under the hood and doing regular vehicle maintenance can alert you to potential problems long before they become expensive repairs.

Here’s what you’ll need for an engine inspection:

  • Rags
  • Gloves

Do-it-yourself difficulty guide for an engine inspection:

Estimated time required - 15 minutes

Part of proper vehicle maintenance is conducting an inspection of engine parts.

Do it yourself and save with these steps:

  1. Always secure your hood using hood support before an engine inspection. Be careful; never open a radiator cap when your engine is warm.
  2. Your engine relies on proper air input. The air gets to your engine through the air intake. Keeping your air filter clean helps your engine breathe properly.
  3. Air enters your engine through the intake manifold. The air then mixes with fuel for combustion in the cylinders. An intake leak can cause poor engine performance.
  4. Exhaust exits your engine through the exhaust manifold. Note the heat shield. Be careful, exhaust temperatures can reach a thousand degrees. Leaking exhaust may make a “tick-tick” noise at idle.
  5. The valves underneath this cover let air and fuel in, then let the hot exhaust gases out. Valve cover oil leaks may indicate a bad gasket or a loose cover.
  6. Camshafts rotate to make the valves operate. The camshafts are driven by the timing belt or chain located under this cover. Replace the timing belt or chain at recommended intervals.
  7. Behind the front bodywork of your car is the radiator. Hot coolant enters the top of your radiator and returns to your engine cooler. Inspect the radiator for leaks.
  8. All the electricity in your vehicle passes through the fuse box. Fuse boxes are often located under the hood. Carry extra fuses in case one fails.


Don’t forget about your battery. Get your battery checked regularly as the charging cells inside lose efficiency over time.

Trust Advance Auto Parts for the high quality auto parts you need to take care of regular vehicle maintenance jobs.