If your mechanic tells you it’s time for a new engine, you already know the labor won’t be cheap. How much does it cost to change a car engine? The answer might make you take a deep breath.
On average, you can spend between $1,500 and $7,500 to replace a typical car engine, depending on the type of car you drive. Additionally, factors such as labor rate, type of engine to be replaced, and other parts needed will affect the total cost.
In this guide, we take a look at what plays into average cost. We also discuss the different types of motors you can choose to replace your faulty motor. Plus, we show you how to avoid engine replacement, so you can save money.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Replacing a Car Engine
1. Engine size
The price you spend on the new engine will be greatly influenced by the size of the engine. If you have a four-cylinder engine, the cost will generally be much lower than a large V8. For example, you might spend $2,500 to get a four-cylinder engine, while you’d quickly pay $4,000 or more for the eight-cylinder engine.
As the size of the engine increases, the operation becomes more complex. Creating these larger engines naturally means the price will be higher.
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2. Engine type
You have several options when your engine fails. You don’t need to choose a completely new engine, which will make the price higher than any other option.
There is also the option of choosing a reconditioned or rebuilt engine, as well as a used engine. We discuss these options in more detail below.
3. Labor rate
Assembling an engine is hard work. Not all mechanics are prepared to take on this task. However, when you find someone who is, you can expect to be charged a premium for the trouble.
On average, an engine replacement can take 10 to 12 hours, depending on the complexity. You should be prepared to receive rates for this duration or longer, regardless of the current rate. On average, labor rates range from $90 to $250 per hour, which can vary significantly depending on where in the country you live. With that in mind, between $1,000 and $2,500 of the invoice represents labor costs.
4. Additional parts
It is not just the engine that is involved in engine replacement. All bolts and connecting parts should also be inspected and replaced when worn. You may need a new belt, hose, pulley or pump. With each of these additional coins, the price will rise further.
Not only will the parts add more to the bill, but the additional labor must increase along with it. Additionally, you must take into account the consumables used, such as new engine oil.
Some stores do not offer a warranty with motor replacement. Although you may pay less to visit this store, you may not be willing to spend money on the repair. In these situations, you may want to pay a little more for the warranty.
The powertrain warranty doesn’t have to last long. But, you want to be able to walk away with peace of mind knowing that there is recourse for non-compliance.
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Types of engine replacement
1. Brand new
The new engines have zero miles since they come directly from the manufacturer. You may have heard that the new engine is also known as a crate engine. These are the most expensive options you can choose from.
In many cases, the new engine can cost more than the value of the vehicle. However, you know that the engine will be in the best possible condition.
The second-best option over the new engine is the reconditioned or remanufactured engine. During this thorough process, the engine is returned to like-new condition, ensuring that it meets all standards set by the manufacturer.
To complete this process, the entire engine must first be disassembled so new components can be installed. It also cleans well and has to pass several rigorous tests before it can be considered good enough. Additionally, most of these motors come with some type of warranty protection, although not as good as the new motor.
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Along with the rebuilt engine, there was a partial engine rebuild, but it was not done in overhauled condition. A part of the engine is disassembled, but only damaged or worn parts are replaced. Still, the engine will be in better condition than the typical used engine.
Many mechanics will rebuild the car’s engine for a fee. The work performed will be directly related to how much work the mechanic is willing to do and how much you are willing to pay. The more experienced the mechanic, the better the job will be. However, it’s difficult to get warranty coverage on the average rebuilt engine, but it’s still cheaper than the other two options we’ve already talked about.
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The engine used is one that comes from another car and is placed under the hood of yours. Most of them come from the scrapping of a vehicle that houses the same engine. The junkyard will carefully remove it and sell it to you without any proof or warranty. If you can find a yard that will test the motor or warranty it for a period of time, you will spend more.
When purchasing a scrap vehicle, learn about the components that come with it. Some yards offer components, such as the manifold, that save you money on new parts. Because you should already be replacing some other parts with your engine, it’s worth getting them as a package.
How to avoid engine replacement
There is only one way to prevent your car’s engine from being replaced. You must take care of your vehicle and provide all recommended maintenance when necessary. With regular oil changes and periodic tune-ups, you ensure that your engine always performs as it should, reducing wear and tear.
Plus, it helps treat your engine with respect. You should not force the engine to work harder or do more than it is capable of. Being light on the accelerator pedal and treating the vehicle with care will help the engine last as long as possible.
Finally, it is important to think about the engine of the car you are using. Before buying a car, it’s best to do some research because many cars have faulty engines under the hood from the start. For example, in 2016 Subaru reimbursed owners of naturally aspirated 2.0- and 2.5-liter engines because they consumed oil and caused premature failure. If you buy a used car with a reliable engine, you have a better chance of getting the most out of it.