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What Does an Engine Rebuild Cost? Are There Alternatives?

Engine Rebuild Cost

If your car engine blows, you may need to look into how much to replace an engine. This type of repair can be expensive, but there are some essential things to know, from indications that your engine needs to be replaced and to what affects the price.

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How Do You Know You Need a Motor Rebuild?

Sometimes, it will be evident that there is something wrong with your engine, and sometimes it will not be. Some people will just be driving along when their engine makes an odd noise, and the vehicle stops. Others will have no idea there is something wrong with their engine until they see a mechanic, maybe even for something as simple as an oil change.

Some indications that you likely need an engine rebuild or a replacement engine include bad oil leaks, the engine pistons slapping within the cylinders, gasket leaks in the engine heads, burning oil, or misfires.

The bottom line is that if a mechanic evaluates your car’s engine with their technical knowledge and recommends you get an engine rebuild or replacement, this is a strong indication that your current engine is no longer functional. If you want to keep driving your car, you will need to take care of the engine.

Unfortunately, the answer to how much does a car engine cost will lead you to one of the most expensive auto repairs you can get. Because of the high cost of replacing an engine, many people are hesitant to make such a dramatic repair. Even if they think their engine is in poor shape, they will not take action until their mechanic tells them it is necessary.

Engine Rebuild Cost

My Engine Is Blown


Remember that sometimes your mechanic will tell you that the engine is dead and cannot work without significant repairs. Other times, they may say to you that it is about to die and could potentially leave you stranded. You will need the expertise of a mechanic to tell you if it is indeed time for an engine rebuild, but here are some indications that this is the case:

  • The engine rattles and knocks during idling. (Worn out bearings probably created a bottom-end knock. These noises are usually due to broken parts or worn bearings and are typically a sign of catastrophic failure.)
  • The engine clatters during acceleration. (The pistons are generally moving too much in the cylinders.)
  • The exhaust regularly releases thick smoke. (The seals are probably worn out. Blue smoke may indicate the engine blew as raw engine oil enters the combustion chamber. White smoke can show that water or engine coolant enters the combustion chamber. This will feature compact exhaust hanging in the air.)
  • The engine will not turn over, and this occurs consistently. (It may be the wiring, starter motor, or battery. There are numerous potential causes of the engine not starting, with a blown engine being among the most serious.)
  • The timing chain or belt broke. (This typically damages the interference-style engines severely.)
  • There is coolant in the engine. (You should not find any coolant in the engine oil and should not spot any engine oil in the coolant. These two systems should be entirely separate in sealed containers, so any time they mix, it indicates a significant internal problem.)

Of course, you may also notice a range of other potential indications that you need to look into the engine overhaul cost. As a general rule of thumb, you should always consult your mechanic when you are in doubt.

My Engine Is Blown – What Does It Mean?

My Engine Is Blown

If your mechanic tells you that your engine is blown and tells you about an engine overhauling cost, this may mean several things. The following are the most common, and each situation shows how much to rebuild an engine.

A Broken Timing Chain or Belt

A steel chain or rubber belt maintains the engine timing, connecting the camshaft and crankshaft. When these components break, the cylinder head’s valves will move without the pistons that connect to the crankshaft. Specific engines will experience damage to both the piston and valve if the timing belt breaks as the engine is on.

A Blown Piston

Among the most common causes of a catastrophic failure in an engine is a blown piston. This typically means that the piston rings failed, not the actual piston. Those rings are crucial, as they are the metal component responsible for sealing the piston on the cylinder wall. The rings ensure that engine oil does not get into the combustion chamber and that it stays in the crankcase. Additionally, the rings keep the combustion process within the cylinder. In some cases, a blown piston can indicate that the actual piston is cracked or melted slightly. Any issues with a blown piston will lead to low compression in the relevant engine cylinder.

A Blown Rod

In most cases, when engines throw rods, they will not pierce the blocks. Instead, they will cause internal damage. Blown or broken rods may occur due to high resistance or from over-revving of the engine. It is also possible for the wrist pin connecting the rod and the piston to break or fall it, causing the rod to move around. The rod will then damage anything it meets.

An Engine Block Hole

Sometimes, the engine block will have a hole in it, which is always catastrophic damage. These holes indicate some impact has occurred, and your mechanic can tell you if the impact was internal or external. It is particularly common for high-performance engines to experience holes in the engine block, especially if there is a broken part in the crankcase, as the force can propel the broken component right through the engine block. For example, a connecting rod may break and go through the engine block.

A Seized Engine

An engine may seize for many reasons, with the most common being lack of lubrication. Without proper lubrication, the moving metal surfaces generate too much friction and heat, which can almost weld together interior parts. When the engine cannot rotate, it seizes, requiring research into the engine rebuild cost.

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What Causes the Blown Engine That Affects the Rebuilt Engine Prices?

There are many potential causes of a blown engine that could require a full rebuild. Most situations fall into one of three conditions, lack of maintenance, over-revving, or low engine oil. Lack of maintenance, such as not changing the filter and oil regularly, can cause sludge to build up in the engine’s oil galleries. This can prevent engine lubrication, which, in turn, causes severe damage to the engine.

If you rev the engine too much, you bring the RPMs of the engine above the normal range of operations and keep them there. In these situations, the momentum can call fast-moving parts to operate incorrectly. The high revs may put them off their usual course, which causes them to break and potentially damage other components in the process. The other common cause of catastrophic failure, low engine oil, results in the crankcase not having enough oil. This means that the moving parts do not get enough oil, which they need for lubrication. As mentioned earlier, the pieces need lubrication to function correctly and remain in good shape.

Of course, there are also other potential causes. Sometimes, your mechanic will be able to tell the origin of catastrophic failure, but this is not always the case.

How Much Does an Engine Rebuild Cost?

Many factors determine the rebuilt engine cost, including your type of vehicle. Because of this, you cannot just go to the mechanic and expect that your rebuild will cost a specific figure you find online.

Instead, the mechanic will give you a quote based on the make, model, and year of your vehicle, the type of engine you have, and the extent of the damage. Remember that the engine rebuild cost for V6 and engine rebuild cost for four-cylinder will be different. You will also have to pay for both parts and labor on this type of repair.

The average figure for rebuilt engine prices is between $2,500 and $4,000. Of course, as these are averages, you may also end up paying even more than this. Expect to spend at least several thousand more than the higher end of this spectrum if the engine’s pistons require replacement, the mechanic cannot rebuild the cylinder head, or there is severe damage to the engine block.

How Much Does It Cost to Rebuild a Motor – Why Is It So Expensive?

You may wonder why the answer to how much does an engine rebuild cost is so high. It comes down to the extensive labor and technical knowledge required to rebuild an engine, along with the parts necessary to fix it. In most cases, blown engines and catastrophic failures require fully disassembling the engine to determine how bad the damage is. Mechanics cannot typically tell what caused the issue in these cases without looking inside the engine.

After fully disassembling the engine, the mechanic would need to make the repairs and rebuild it, requiring even more time and parts. Of course, the cost also factors in the mechanic’s experience and training, as a single mistake could make the rebuilt engine unusable or ruin it even more.

Engine Rebuild Cost

What Does an Engine Replacement Cost?

In some cases, you should not even be asking how much does it cost to rebuild an engine. Instead, you may want to look into how much does a new engine cost. Sometimes, your mechanic will tell you that it makes more sense to replace the engine instead of repairing it. Other times, they will leave the decision up to you.

When to Replace the Engine

In many situations, it will cost less to replace the engine instead of trying to repair it, especially if the necessary repairs and rebuilding are too extensive. In other cases, it may cost less initially to rebuild the engine, but this could cost you more in the end. You may spend more than the new engine cost in repairs within the next year or so. If that were your situation, it would be more cost-effective to replace the engine instead of paying the motor rebuild cost every few months.

You can replace or rebuild the engine on the advice of a mechanic and an analysis of costs and your budget. If you have been putting up with endless engine problems for thousands of miles, a replacement may be wise. Similarly, the engine may seize up and unable to be repaired if it suddenly makes loud noise then stops running. There may be other signs of a catastrophic failure, such as a large puddle of oil underneath the car that includes metal pieces.

In some cases, your mechanic will tell you that the engine cannot be repaired. This will likely be the case if:

  • The engine has a hole in the side, as this requires replacing the engine block, which is the largest part of the engine
  • The engine rebuild costs more or the same as a replacement
  • Your car is so old that the mechanic cannot find a rebuild kit anymore

Cost to Replace Engine – How Much Does an Engine Cost?

But how much is an engine when you want a replacement? As with the answer to how much does it cost to rebuild an engine, this will depend on your engine type, make, model, and year. It will also depend on whether you prefer a new or used engine. Most engines will cost between $3,000 and $7,500 to buy. However, that figure does not yet include labor costs. If you have an auto with a high-performance engine, expect to pay even more.

Buying a used replacement engine can undoubtedly save you money, but then there is no guarantee of its condition. Installing a used engine will lower the, but it may cost you more in the long run. After all, you may end up putting off the rebuilt engine cost for a few years.

Can I Sell My Car?

If you do not want to get your engine rebuilt for some reason, there are other options. If you do not want to deal with the hassle associated with the repair, or maybe you cannot afford the repair. Or, perhaps your car is not worth as much as the repair would cost. You can find a buyer who will purchase your auto as-is, even with an engine that does not work. This way, you do not also have to worry about the rebuild engine cost.

Selling a Non-functional Car Can Be Challenging

Most buyers will not want a vehicle that needs a car engine rebuild. Individuals would have to pay for the engine rebuild cost for V6 themselves before using the car, and you likely already decided this step was not worth it. Most used car dealers will not want to buy your car because of the high cost of rebuilding the engine. After all, they want to make a profit, and they do so by selling functional vehicles. If a used car dealer does buy your vehicle, they will give you a horrible price for it, as they will factor in the cost to rebuild the engine.

Selling the Car for Scrap or Parts

Your best option is to sell the car to someone who does not need a functional vehicle but instead is interested in the parts. This way, they will not care about how much to rebuild an engine. They will be more interested in using the functional components and turning the non-functional parts into metal scraps.

You could bring the car to a scrap yard to sell it, but how do you get it there without a functional engine? You would have to pay for a tow truck and then take whatever price the scrapyard gives you. This will not account for high-quality still-functional components. You would have to take your car apart and sell each component separately, but this would be incredibly time-consuming, and without mechanical training, you may damage parts. As such, this is not typically worth the effort.

Your best option would be to sell your car to a service that will offer you a fair price, regardless of its condition.

Sell Your Car to Car Cash Cars Buyer

Cash Cars Buyer

No matter the reason, Cash Cars Buyer will gladly buy your car for you, regardless of engine condition, and give you cash! We have industry connections that let us negotiate the best possible price for the various components of your car. We pass those prices onto you, allowing us to offer you a truly fair price for your vehicle without worrying about the engine overhaul cost.

We make it quick and easy to sell your car and receive cash in return. Just give us some necessary information about your auto via our online quote system, and we will offer you a quote. The quote will depend on your vehicle’s make, model, and year, as well as its condition and your location, among a few other factors. If you take us up on our offer, we will pick up your car in exchange for cash. We put money in your hands without any hidden fees.

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