Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: How do you tell how long an engine is going to last / how healthy it is without disassembling it?

asked by on

What're the best tests you can do to gauge how healthy an engine is / how long it'll last, aside from literally lifting the engine out of the car and disassembling it?

For example, you can start the car and listen to it idle. You can drive it. I heard something about doing a compression test, etc.

What is the suite of tests like this you can do to gauge how how healthy an engine is / how long it'll last?

Also, how accurate of an indicator are these tests? Knowing the results, how confident can you be that the engine will ultimately last a long time?

My car has 161000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

While there is really no way to tell how long any engine will last, a compression test is a good way to determine the overall health of an engine. If the compression test reveals that compression on all cylinders is within factory specs, then the engine is healthy but again, this is not really an indication of how long it will last. maintenance is key to a long engine life. If it was maintained well - oil and other vital fluids changed regularly - and continues to be maintained well, it can last a good long time.

If this is a vehicle you are looking to purchase, a pre-purchase inspection may be an option for you. Note that a compression test may not be a normal part of a pre-purchase inspection and may be an additional cost involved no matter who performs the inspection.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  • Home
  • Questions
  • How do you tell how long an engine is going to last / how healthy it is without disassembling it?

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Hi both of my doors of my 04 350z will not open from the outside but if window is open I can open from inside handle. Sounds elec

Hi there. It is possible that the problem with your doors is electrical, however, there are multiple individual components that make up the electric door locks, ranging from solenoids, to relays, fuses, control module and the door lock itself. Before...

Q: electric steering hard to turn

Hi there. From the description you have provided it sounds like it could be, the electric power steering motor has failed. It could also be, an electrical power or ground failure to the power steering motor. I recommend having your...

Q: Replaced battery lights and radio on but car won't start

Recheck your work and make sure the battery terminals are clean and tight. Do not wrench all the way down on the fastener, just tighten and wiggle the clamp until it won't move on the terminal anymore. Sometimes a failed...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.