The average engine swap cost is between $3,000 and $5,000 for most vehicles and engine types on the market. Drivers need to decide if the procedure is the best choice when comparing the swap to an engine repair, rebuild, or replacement.
What is an engine swap?
An engine swap is a process of replacing your car’s original engine with a new engine. Engine swaps are usually for performance cars, although an engine swap can also be done to avoid hefty engine rebuild, repair, or replacement costs in used cars.
When you are doing an engine swap, you have one of two options – you can either swap with another engine that is already made for the car you currently drive or swap with an entirely different engine.
- For example, you can experiment with putting a V8 engine into a smaller car currently using a V6 engine to see if there are added performance benefits and durability factors.
Putting in a completely different engine to your car will increase the engine swap cost, since you will have to re-fit the car to make space for the new engine and ensure all of the exterior parts are connected properly to the new engine. Although it can be labor-intensive, the engine swap is doable in all vehicles.
Why do people do engine swaps?
Engine swapping is the process of trying to get a high-powered, performance-oriented, and quick-accelerating engine into their cars. In fact, there are various reasons why people decide to look at other engine swap costs and replace their car’s powerhouse with something different.
Original engines are rare
If you have a classic car that you have rebuilt and kept in great condition over the years, you know the struggle of finding antique parts. Classical cars are expensive in terms of labor and repair prices, finding the correct parts can be extremely time-consuming and costly compared to modern cars on the market today.
- If your older vehicle was sold in low numbers and was a particularly rare model, you will find it hard to purchase the original engine.
- If your vehicle has no dealer support at this point or comes from a currently extinct brand, you will have a difficult time trying to track down your original engine.
- In this case, your best bet is to research the engine swap cost for your particular make, model, and year of car.
- Keep in mind that borrowing a mechanism from another brand is commonplace in the car world, even with smaller operations like Jeep and AMC when they couldn’t afford to make new drivetrains for each successive model year.
An engine rebuild is more expensive
If you have a motor that needs an extensive repair or rebuild, you will often find that this procedure is much costlier than the engine swap cost. One of the reasons why car owners decide to go ahead with an engine swap for a newer motor instead of rebuilding an older and potentially worn-down engine is to avoid a hefty replacement and rebuild price.
The best way to keep your classic car running on the road and continuously healthy and high-performing is to drive it frequently. The best path to being able to drive your vehicle without any safety or performance issues consistently is to research the engine swap cost to keep your car operating efficiently.
- Some vehicles may not be considered reliable enough to use on a daily basis. In this case, researching the engine swap cost is a better option than buying a new car completely.
Off-roading and towing capabilities
If you want a diesel engine’s power capabilities in a heavy-duty SUV, but don’t want to pay the high prices for a full-luxury option or imported vehicle. The best chance you have is to look into other engine swap costs for this performance-oriented option.
- Adding diesel power to your current vehicle will increase fuel efficiency, towing power, and uphill capabilities, which is what performance drivers often want for their cars. Diesel swaps are a popular trend of those who enjoy frequent off-roading and driving on trails, making getting to trailheads and little-known spots much easier than using a lower-powered engine.
Too expensive to increase the power
Sometimes, you may find that the price of increasing your current engine’s power is not worth the labor and the time of the process. If this is the case, looking into the engine swap cost can be the best option, as it is more mod-friendly, contains aftermarket support, and can reduce the labor time for this procedure.
- If you have a complex engine design that has already undergone extreme wear and tear, an engine swap can be the best choice for long-term durability.
You have a spare engine
If you already have a spare engine or know a friend with a spare part, then the engine swap cost for this procedure will be very inexpensive!
Factors Affecting the Engine Swap Cost
Now that you have been convinced an engine swap is the way to go, you need to know one thing – what is the engine swap cost? There is no one answer or guideline for this procedure, but we have some factors that can influence this procedure’s total price depending on the make, model, and year of your car – and other factors.
One factor that can alter the engine swap cost is if you decide to choose a short engine block, long block engine, or complete engine.
- A short block engine is ⅓ the size needed to make the full engine that can be inputted into your car. The parts included in the short block are the freeze plugs, connecting rods, bearings, and pistons. Although this contains some of the more expensive pieces, you will still have to purchase additional components, which can increase the engine swap cost.
- A long block engine is almost complete – but not quite. This engine contains cylinder heads, freeze plugs, connecting rods, bearings, and pistons. You will need to purchase the rest of the parts, but you will not have to buy as much as you would with a short-block engine. This long block engine is a good choice if you don’t want customized parts but want a slightly lower engine swap cost.
- A complete engine is the most convenient, reliable, and durable choice. This engine has everything you need to begin, and finish your engine swap. Although this has the highest engine swap cost since it contains the most parts, it is a good choice if you are completely sure of what you want with your new engine.
Brand and type of car
The second type of factor that can influence the engine swap cost is the brand, type, and year of your vehicle. Similar to the kind of engine, the specific model of the car you have will affect the total price of the engine swap cost. A basic vehicle that has been mass-produced and that contains commonly found parts at local auto body stores or online will usually make for a low-priced swap due to the efficiency, ease, availability, and speed of replacement.
- However, a luxury, customized, high-performance, or sports car will require a higher labor and performance level. In this case, the engine swap cost will be much higher, as the engine swap process will be more time-consuming since parts will be harder to find and harder to install.
The third factor that can increase the engine swap cost is the hourly rate and mechanic fees at your local auto body store or dealership. Mechanics usually charge between $50 and $100 per hour for the engine swap cost, with the total hours of this job taking up to 20 hours depending on the type of vehicle and types of engines.
- Taking into account the hourly rate, the labor for this procedure will range between $500 and $1,500 for the engine swap cost.
- In addition, the engine prices will vary depending on the short block, long block, or complete engine. A short block engine is around $500, while a complete and high-performance engine is around $9,000 for the engine swap cost.
Can you swap a gas engine with a diesel engine?
When taking into account the engine swap cost, you need to know if you are using a gasoline engine or diesel engine for your vehicle. Although it is possible to swap gas with a diesel engine, it is time-consuming and more complicated than replacing it with a similar engine type. There are certain things you need to consider during this procedure, such as:
- Engine weight – diesel engines are heavier than gasoline engines, so you will have to restructure your car to accommodate the extra mass.
- Engine dimensions – diesel engines can be bigger than gasoline engines, so you'll have to create space to fit the new mechanism into the engine bay.
- Transmission and rear axle – if you plan on installing an engine with higher horsepower, you will need to fix the axle. The rear axle will not survive the torque of a more powerful engine, so you may need to make adjustments to the axle and transmission, which can increase the engine swap cost.
- Electronics – if you are using a mechanical engine, then you will not have to make any electrical changes. However, if you use an electronic diesel engine, you will need to make sure this can communicate with the transmissions.
- Emissions – Diesel engines are more fuel-efficient. Make sure your car undergoes inspection regarding the emissions of your vehicle before calculating the total engine swap cost.
Pros and cons of Engine Swaps
Positives of an Engine Swap
- More power – if you are doing a swap for performance reasons, then chances are you are looking to increase the power and acceleration in your ear. With an engine swap, you can choose the desired performance level for your new machine.
- Easier to modify and find parts – some stock engines do not have a vast availability of aftermarket parts, so you may want to do an engine swap with a more common engine to reduce labor prices in the future.
- Can save money – you can save money on your engine swap cost by preventing engine replacements and rebuilds. An engine replacement is one of the most expensive fixes in your car.
- More reliable – swapping an old engine with an engine with fewer miles and deterioration means that your engine should be more reliable in the long run.
Cons of an Engine Swap
- Expensive – although you are avoiding the price of an engine replacement, sometimes the engine swap cost can be quite hefty. As a minimum, drivers should expect to pay around $3,000 for an engine swap if they are bringing their vehicle to a mechanic.
- Takes time – an engine swap is extremely labor-intensive. The minimum, labor time is at least 4-6 hours of work for the engine removal and then at least 1-2 hours for the engine installation.
- You may need to change your transmission – since the engine must communicate with the transmission, changing your car’s original engine can sometimes lead to issues with the transmissions. Depending on which engine you decide to swap into your car, the more different it is, the higher the chance you’ll need to swap the transmission as well.
- You may need to re-register your car – depending on where you live, swapping a new engine may require a re-registration of your vehicle.
- Emission issues – when you pay for the engine swap cost, you may have to undergo extra emission inspections to ensure your car is legal to drive.
Average Engine Swap Cost
The average engine swap cost is between $3,000 and $5,000 for the entire job. You could range to over $10,000 depending on the type of engine you choose, but this depends on the new engine you install and the make, model, and year of your vehicle.
- The range of an engine swap cost is between $750 and $20,000.
The Bottom Line
Drivers need to calculate the total engine swap cost for their vehicle to decide if the procedure is worth it for their vehicle.