For many drivers, when minor repairs come up, it is usually just an inconvenience to take care of them. Whether you need to have a tire replaced or a new catalytic converter installed, no one wants to have to go out of their way to spend time and money to get the car working again. When your car needs a new engine, that’s another story.
The engine is the heart of your automobile. Without it all you have is a very expensive paperweight in your driveway. But replacing an engine in a car is arguably the most expensive and time-consuming repair job that you can do.
If your car needs a new engine you may be asking yourself what are you supposed to do now? How do you go about getting a new engine in your car? And is it even worth it to do so?
What Do I Do When My Car Needs a New Engine?
Along with fixing a transmission, fixing a faulty engine is the most expensive repair job that a car can have to undergo. There are typically three ways you can approach a car that needs a new engine.
- Fix it. The first option for handling a car that needs a new engine is to do just that, fix the engine. That means either repairing or replacing the engine in your car. If you choose the option of rebuilding your engine, you are looking at spending about $2,500 to $4,500 to get the job done.
If you need to replace your engine with a new one, you also have two options. A brand-new engine replacement from a dealership may cost you around $7,000. If you head to a mechanic to get a new engine installed, you’re looking at somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000 for an older engine. If you have a rare car, or some kind of European model, you can end up spending upwards of $8,000 or more.
For a lot of older cars, you can see how this can easily become a problem. It’s going to cost you $8,000 to get a new engine in your car, and your car is not even worth that much. Then why would you bother doing it in the first place?
- Sell it. It’s much easier than you might think to sell a non-running car, even one that needs an engine replacement. In many cases, it might be a better option than trying to fix it. You can either sell or trade in a car with a faulty engine.
Dealers have mechanics on staff who can fix cars for them. For that reason, it’s often more cost effective for you to sell them your car without repairing it than it is to fix it yourself. As you can see from the cost of fixing the vehicle with a bad engine, you could end up spending more than the car is worth just to get it running again.
Since dealers are able to repair cars much more cheaply than you are, it’s less of a problem for them to repair something, even as serious as a broken engine.
- Junk it. If you’ve decided that your vehicle is a total loss, maybe the reason it needs a new engine is that it’s suffered severe front-end damage and there’s quite a bit more wrong with it, you may want to junk the car.
Even a car that is a total loss still has some value to it. There are parts that can be salvaged and sold, and at the very least the car has scrap value. A site like iscrapp can show you what scrap metal is worth with current prices, so you know what a scrap yard would offer you for a junker.
Is it Worth it to Fix My Engine?
As we’ve seen from the cost of repairing or replacing an engine, this is not a simple job by any means. But if your car is relatively new, could it be worth it to repair or replace the engine?
The first thing you need to do is to determine just what your car is worth. The easiest and quickest way to establish the value of a car these days is to head to a site like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.com. Both of these sites are relied on by professionals to figure out what any make or model of vehicle is worth.
The numbers on Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds are estimates and averages. Both of these sites get their figures from dealerships, auctions, private sales, and other sellers of automobiles around the country. They will compare all the prices of the exact same models to come up with averages based on the condition of a vehicle.
That means that when you head to Edmunds.com, for instance, it could tell you what your car is worth across a range of numbers. On the low end of the scale, it will tell you what your car is worth in bad condition. On the high end, it will tell you what it’s worth in outstanding condition.
These sites can also let you know what your car is worth based on how you’re selling it. For instance, you’ll be given an idea of the trade-in value, the private sale value, and what you would get if you sold it to a dealer. So, for many cars on Edmunds.com, you’ll actually get 12 different numbers for what a car could be worth because it’s showing you the value based on three different ways of selling it, and four different levels of condition.
Remember, these numbers are not hard and fast rules. They are just estimates. However, many people in the industry do you rely on these to get an idea for what a car is worth.
As an example, let’s check out what a 2015 Toyota Corolla is worth according to Edmunds. If you just search for that limited description, there are a few things you’ll notice.
- The value is based on 12,000 miles per year driven.
- They include no options in the estimate.
- It uses the basic trim level of the car unless you state otherwise.
- No color options are included.
Based on these parameters, at the very least a 2015 Toyota Corolla LE Plus 4dr Sedan 1.8L 4cyl CVT, in rough condition, is worth $5,629 at trade in. The same car in outstanding condition would sell at a dealer for $12,477. That’s the low end and the high end of the scale for this model car.
Deciding What to Do with Your Car That Needs a New Engine
In the above example, the rough condition Toyota Corolla is worth about $5,600. A brand new engine from AutoZone is going to cost about $3,300 to $4,600. And that doesn’t include the cost of labor to have it installed. As we saw it earlier, even a rebuild could be $2,500 to $4,500.
The amount that you would get for trading in the car after you’ve repaired it to average condition is $6,435. Take away that $4,000 you spent and you’re only getting $2,435. It makes more sense to take the $5,600 and make no repairs at all.
Unless your car was made within the last 5 years or so, it may not be financially reasonable to even bother looking into engine replacement. And hopefully, if it is a newer vehicle, it’s still under warranty, so you’ll be able to cover the majority of engine problems should they arise.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, only you can decide whether you want to repair or replace the engine in your car. If it’s a car you love and is otherwise in good condition, maybe it’s going to be worth it to you. But if it’s not, then you should consider selling or trading it in.
There are a lot of options when it comes to selling a car, even one that needs a new engine. Most dealers will still take this in as a trade in. They will either fix it themselves if they think it’s worth it or send it off to an auction to be sold as is for a quick turnaround.
As we have seen, scrap yards are always an option as well if you just want to get the junk value for it. Or you can try your hand at a private sale.
Your best bet for getting cash in hand for your car, even one that needs a new engine, is to go with Cash Cars Buyer. Cash Cars Buyer will give you cash for your old car in just 24 hours. We could even come to your home and tow it away free of charge. There’s no need to wait for a check to clear or even leave your home and risk exposure to Covid-19. Just use our helpful online tool to start the process, and you can have cash in hand by tomorrow.