A Guide to Buying a Replacement Engine? Different Types of Replacement Engines Explained

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Buying a replacement engine is more cost-effective than a crate engine, Use our guide to buying a replacement engine if you do not have much technical experience

In traditional vehicles, engine breakdown is a common problem, and commonly it does not vary with the seasonal changes. There are always some exceptional cases in the automotive world when drivers actually prefer to buy a replacement engine rather than replacing the entire vehicle when they face an engine breakdown.

The engine replacement can be done in a minimal part of actual cost which is required to replace the entire vehicle or even buying a new or crate engine. Apart from that saving, an engine replacement also saves the driver some other costs including taxes, license fees, and insurance expenses because all these costs incurred with the vehicle replacement.

A replacement engine can extend your vehicle life and saves you money

A common question asked by almost 95 percent of vehicle owners that ‘is my vehicle a suitable candidate for a replacement engine? Its answer is very simple that any vehicle which is mechanically and overall condition wise looks sound and still viable for several annual services then it is a strong candidate for a replacement engine and it must not be replaced with a new vehicle.

Buying a replacement engine as described earlier saves a lot of money over a new engine or even buying a new vehicle.

When to replace my engine?

An engine replacement can be done at a set interval of time from buying a new vehicle, or if vehicle engine fails in that period of time, it must be replaced there and then. You can replace your engine with a number of options and all vary in costs and engine life.

If you have a bit more budget, you must go for a reconditioned engine as a replacement, but if you are short of the money, you can buy a better conditioned used engine as well.

Types of replacement engines are coming ahead where you will be able to learn about all options available in the market and their benefits of switching from one option to another.

Why shouldn’t a vehicle replacement a viable option?

Replacing a vehicle is not a small thing at all, it costs a lot of money and paperwork at the same time. Actually, vehicle replacement is among the biggest expenses and in the case of a fleet management, not all the managers can bear the expenses of replacing the vehicles.

However they always prefer to buy a replacement engine as a cost-effective option, and in the majority of cases in fleet management, replacement engine option saves thousands of pounds for the organizations. But it depends on the size and type of the fleet of vehicles.

If a company has a fleet of luxury cars then they will definitely save thousands of pounds on each vehicle, for example, a Range Rover vehicle replacement costs £35,000 to £40,000, while an engine replacement with a new crate unit costs around £12,000 to £15,000.

At the same time a reconditioned Range Rover engine costs from £8,000, so ultimately if a fleet has 10 Range Rovers in a company, and they opt for an engine replacement with a reconditioned unit over a new unit, they saved £40,000 which is a price of a new Range Rover vehicle.

In addition, a replacement engine has an extended life almost equal to the new engine life. Vehicle replacement depreciation periods are from four to seven years while a replacement engine depreciates in the same year.

The engine replacement is actually defined as the removal of the original engine out of the vehicle and then replacing it with a different unit which can be new, used, reconditioned or rebuilt the engine.

An intended life cycle of the vehicle is also a question when you consider a replacement engine as an option. If a vehicle is planned to be serviced for another 3 to 5 years and it has an over good condition, you should go for an engine replacement.

What is the best engine replacement approach: proactive or reactive?

This is a question about decision making, determining the right time to replace an engine is a crucial thing in a vehicle’s life. There are different opinions, where one school of thought suggests the reactive method. They say that the engine should be replaced only at the time of failure.

A fleet manager says that they only replace engines of the vehicles when they fail. Otherwise, they only practice services and maintenance. This company deals in petroleum distribution, and they perform around 10 to 12 engine replacements every year on their fleet of 200 plus vehicles.

On the other hand, another school of thought says that the best practice to replace an engine is at a certain period or after a specific number of miles. Regardless an engine has a major breakdown on its way where you cannot even call for recovery services.

It will cost you double, where your workload will increase, your schedules and promises will go another way, and you can face days of delay. The proactive method saves you all these hassles…

A director of school transport fleet says, they always practice a proactive approach and spend more on the long run rather than spending when things go wrong. Their fleet has more than 600 vehicles including, buses, trucks, and cars.

A planned replacement of engines is a good idea, and it can be scheduled in quiet days of the year because a typical replacement of engine requires more than 26 hours of labor time and the time to buy, order and get the engine delivered at the workplace is not added.

Replacement Engines has a life as long as the new engine

It is verified that when a vehicle has undergone an engine replacement, it should be able to last the same period of time as the original engine goes. But the condition is other mechanical parts and ancillaries must be in sound mechanical condition. If an engine was replaced at 150,000 miles, next replacement would be again at 150,000 miles if it maintained properly during that time.

In some cases, reconditioned engines perform even better than the original units and return improved fuel economies while being in the same configurations and size. Some companies offer customized engine reconditioning to achieve these goals.

Rebuilt or Remanufactured, What’s the Difference?

This question is basically related to the types of the replacement engines available in the market; it is coming head in detail, however, let’s explain it here.

A term rebuilt engine as its name clears everything refers to an engine which is removed from an original parent vehicle for repair, and it is replaced by another vehicle of the same configuration.

Unfortunately, for the customers, there are no standards regarding the types of repairs done on the engine, some suppliers may tell in general that these repairs have been done, otherwise nobody discloses this information. These repairs usually involved, pistons, valves, piston rings and maybe sometimes timing chain issues.

However, the term Remanufactured engine refers to a core unit which has been completely split parts and overhauled to like a new engine by using the same tolerances all over the engine parts.

This includes replacement of all worn parts, repair of all repairable parts. When it comes to the performance, you can say that this engine is a real new unit and will go more miles than a new engine.

If a driver buys a remanufactured or reconditioned engine, he has a benefit of hindsight because when the new engines were first designed and manufactured, they were designed and manufactured under a certain condition, but upon going into the services, things started to go wrong and cause failure of the parts.

Typically, a remanufactured engine includes modifications like replacing the valves with special valves, exhaust valves with satellite valves and similarly, crankshaft, camshafts, and piston ring changed to special ones in customized engines.

So, when searching for a replacement engine, the engine quality and durability must be considered, and the type of warranty is also an important factor. You must consider the reviews about the organization that what other customers say about the company. What they actually offer, and what promises they have made and not given to the customers. Do they test engines before and after fitting? These are all criteria that a customer must consider before buying a replacement engine. Now it is the time to learn about the available options in the market.

Types of replacement engines

There are more or less four types of replacement engine commonly available in the market. They are

  • Reconditioned or remanufactured engines,
  • Rebuilt engines
  • Used or second-hand engines
  • New or Crate engines

After-market car engines have several names used, reconditioned, rebuilt or new. Majority of customers ask that how to differentiate between these engines and how to select one out of them when they need a replacement engine.

One of the buyers sent us a query that she is looking to buy a remanufactured engine. However, her idea is that there wasn’t a huge difference between remanufactured and rebuilt engines.

She wanted to understand if these two are distinct since she determined massive price variations between these engine varieties. Let’s have a look at both engine types one by one.

Remanufactured Engines

Remanufacturing an engine is a unique but challenging approach when it comes to the engine repairing. In the engine remanufacturing, reconditioning or re-engineering process, the whole engine is disassembled and split into parts and carefully cleaned for any dirt particles, grease, and oil.

It involves cleansing the complete engine together with the crankshaft, engine block, pistons, connecting rods and each different section such as the bearings. After cleaning, all engine parts are tested for defects, wear and tear effects and other damages.

Reasonably worn parts are repaired and badly defected parts are changed with new ones. If any part is repairable with the help of machining, the repair applied through machining. Other unrepairable parts like pistons, connecting rods, piston rings, crankshaft bearings, camshafts and their bearings, oil pump and gaskets are always replaced with the new ones.

All flat bearing surfaces are refurbished together with other worn surfaces. The third and final section starts with reassembling of the engine. In this phase, engineers use state-of-the-art equipment and automated machinery to test and assemble each part of the engine according to the OEM tolerances and fitting guidelines.

Mostly in remanufactured engines, engineers revamp mechanical tolerances and clearances with the help of machining and restoring the surfaces with vital fillings as per OEM standards. The complete engine is then tested for the performance of every single part and validated for durability and reliability.

These same systems replicate to the other engine units if indispensable and it’s the fundamental reason why remanufactured engines in general lift greater costs and an extended guarantee if compare to the rebuilt engines.

The engine testing system makes definite that the remanufactured engine has got to imitate to the manufacturing specifications of that particular unique brand. If it’s a remanufactured BMW N47 engine, it must meet exact performance requirements set by the German automaker BMW.

Rebuilt Engines

Rebuilt engines are far different from the remanufactured engines, as they just disassembled and split apart to inspect the major defects in the major engine parts, e.g., broken crankshaft or valves or connecting rods.

All the damaged parts usually replaced by other used parts of the same specification and some parts repaired to work properly. The useable parts used as they are in the engine. This way a rebuilt engine is just like a used engine but in confirmed working condition.

Warranties on remanufactured or reconditioned engines and Rebuilt engines

A rebuilt engine usually comes with a very low or even no warranty. While on another hand, a remanufactured engine comes with a standard manufacturer warranty or a minimum of six months or 5000 miles.

A rebuilt engine is only a cleaned and tested unit that it is working fine, defected parts replaced with same used parts. After a full inspection and testing of these engines, they sent to the market for reuse.

The quality of a rebuilt engine varies from mechanic to mechanic. Just remember that the rebuilt engines come in just working conditions and they can carry old wear and tear or even cracks. Consequently, these engines can again face failure.

An engineer’s verdict is that a remanufactured engine can go even more miles than a new engine and comes under warranty while a rebuilt engine can stop working anytime again as it is not fully tested and as a remanufactured engine.

New engines

A new engine is exactly the same which comes in the car when you buy it as a new car. It is a brand new unused engine with no mileage on it at all. They are expensive units and available from any local dealer of the brand.

A new engine can cost you even more than the actual current value of your vehicle. A commonly used Vauxhall Corsa engine can cost you from £4000 to £7000 while you can buy a remanufactured unit at half price including the labor costs.

Used / second-Hand engine

As the name explains everything in this category of engines. These are used engine sourced from accidental vehicles and used in other vehicles. The condition of these engines can differ from engine to engine as most recent vehicles might have good condition engines while old vehicle would have poor quality engines.

Second hand or used engines can include more gadgets and ancillaries connected such as manifolds, injectors, and houses, etc. However, it’s still encouraged to use your previous ancillaries as one cannot guarantee the working condition of these components. In most cases, elements left on the engine don’t lift any warranty.

How should I buy a replacement engine?

Buying a replacement engine is a daunting task, and this guide will help our user to make their buying decisions even easy. Our guide will help users throughout the process of buying a replacement engine. First of all, you must calculate the need for an engine that if you need one or not.

1. Do you really need a new engine?

It is all about determining the actual need that if your vehicle actually needs an engine or your own engine is good enough to be repaired or remanufactured. Many parts of an engine can fail at the same time when an engine fails, and the situation can convert into a worse situation.

It is recommended that your vehicle must be diagnosed by a professional garage before you decide to buy a replacement engine for your vehicle. This way you will be in a position to exactly know that what you need. Paying attention to the need would save you thousands of pounds for the long run.

2. What caused your old engine to fail?

It is also recommended that you must ask your mechanic to examine the reasons that why your engine failed and what is actually went wrong that caused an engine failure. It is necessary to examine and find the reason because in some cases engine failure caused due to other components, and if these components left unattended, they would again cause an engine failure.

These components might be a blocked radiator or faulty turbo or a timing chain. If the fundamental problem goes unsettled, then it is confirmed that the replacement engine fill fate the same problem again and you will face the same but even worse financial conditions.

3. What do you need to buy?

Now you know everything about your vehicle, and you can easily make a decision that what suits you the best. First, you need to consult with your mechanic that what he suggests. If he says that a second-hand unit will be ok, then you can go for a second-hand unit but if he says go and get one of your choices then do not select anything less than a reconditioned engine.

Now you must get the engine code and your vehicle registration number to make a price quote query online on any of our member websites, and we will source an engine for you.

4. Now you need to find the engine, where do you start?

Once you have all the required information available, you are good to go online for searching an engine of your need. Try using the search terms like recondition engines for sale, or try with the make model of your vehicle; you will get a list of sellers.

Opt for engine trust and put an inquiry into the system by giving your registration number and contact details. You will receive a list of price quotes from different sellers. Select one which suits your budget. If you select other than engine trust, make sure they are genuine sellers, have the engine in stock and offering a good price.

5. You have found the engine, what should you ask the supplier?

If you selected an engine from any supplier or seller, now it is the time to check one or more suppliers to make sure that you are feeling comfortable with them. It is easy to select from the list that which is the cheapest but remember, cheap buy always ends up buying twice.

It is important that you must make sure the quality of the engine by giving the supplier a call, or visiting him if you are near to him. Sellers usually sell bare engines – a bare engine is one without any ancillaries or other parts connected to the engine – they are cheap to buy and require more time to swap ancillaries from one engine to other.

Apart from the engine price you should check delivery costs and any other terms seller asking you to agree upon a sale.

6. Making payment

So, now you are ending up with an engine and ready to make a payment to your seller for an engine, if possible you must pay by credit card and avail some extra protection giving you some extra peace of mind. Avoid checks and bank transfers, as they took longer to process and cause delays.

When you receive your engine, you must ask your mechanic to examine it and fill all the documentation as required by the seller to avail any warranty given on the engine.