When looking at a used vehicle to purchase, it is important to know its history. Sometimes vehicle history reports and independent mechanical inspections are not enough. Find out if the vehicle has ever had the engine replaced. Since 1981 all vehicles sold in the United States have had the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) stamped in a number of areas on the vehicle, including the engine block. Finding the stamping will help you determine if the engine in the vehicle is the original or if it has been replaced.
Things You'll Need
- floor jack
- two jack stands
- creeper (optional)
Engage the vehicle's parking brake. Use the floor jack to lift the vehicle by the factory-approved front jacking point. Most jacking points are located slightly off-center under the front of the vehicle. Consult your owner's manual if you have difficulty finding it.
Support each side of the front end with a jack stand with the side jacking mounts. The side jacking mounts are usually located about six inches behind the front wheels. They can be recognized by a notch along the bottom of the vehicle. Remove the floor jack when you have safely supported the front end.
Get under the engine bay and use the flashlight to find the VIN. The VIN stamp location will vary from vehicle to vehicle, but it will be mounted somewhere on the engine block. Some older vehicles will contain a serial number instead of the VIN.
Match up the VIN from the engine block with the VIN of the vehicle. The VIN is best located on the lower portion of the windshield on the driver's side. If the engine block had a serial number instead of a VIN, contact a dealer for the brand to run a VIN check on your vehicle to see what serial number the original engine block had.
Tips & Warnings
- Use the flashlight to peer at all spots of the engine block. Even in direct sunlight, some areas of the engine will be dark.
- If the VIN or serial number from the engine block does not match the VIN on the vehicle, the engine has been replaced. If you are looking at a used vehicle and the current owner denies it, they may not be lying; the engine may have been swapped before they acquired it.
- Photo Credit http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Luc106, http://www.flickr.com/photos/hackaday/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/modenadude/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/akeg/, http://picasaweb.google.com/fixeuro
How to Tell If an Engine Is Rebuilt
How to Tell If an Engine Is Rebuilt. When you shop for a used car, ... it could also be a sign...
How Do I Determine What Engine Swap Will Work in What Car?
An engine swap involves removing the original engine of a passenger vehicle and replacing it with a different one. The new engine...
How to Tell If My Car Is a Real SS
Check with your local Chevrolet parts dealer to determine what the original SS engine is for your model and year. This may...
How to Identify an LT1 Engine
The original LT1 engine, available from 1970 through 1972, was only offered with two vehicles; the Chevrolet Corvette and the Camaro Z28....
How to Identify Early Models of Willys Jeeps
Willys Jeep Original Colors. ... Sturdy jeep engines made these vehicles very useful for backcountry driving bugs and grill image by John...
How to Determine the Year of an Outboard Motor
Outboard motors first appeared before the turn of the century. Manufacturers such as Force, Johnson, and Evinrude are well known and trusted...
How Can I Tell If a 1970 Chevelle Is an SS or a Malibu?
How Can I Tell If a 1970 Chevelle Is an SS or ... With a big-block engine and fancy factory striping--plus ......
How to Find Out What Kind of Engine You Have
How to Find Out What Kind of Engine You Have. ... If you suspect your vehicle does not have its original engine,...
How to Decode a 1957 Chevy Motor
Learn how to decode the numbers stamped on your 1957 Chevy's motor to determine if it is original to your ... Determine...
How to Determine the Engine Size of a Ford Ranger
How to Determine the Engine Size of a Ford Ranger. ... Checking the engine size of a Ford Ranger using the VIN...
How to Determine a GM Engine Block Size
How Can I Tell What Engine My Small Block Chevy Is? ... How to Identify VW Engine Size by Block Number. Volkswagen...
How to Find the Year on a Serial Number of a VW Engine
How to Find a VW Bug Engine. The original Volkswagen Beetle (affectionately known as The Bug for its bug-eyed front headlights) ...
How to Tell Engine Size by Block Number
Engines come in many sizes, depending on the type of vehicle and the manufacturer. You can determine the size of an engine...