Engine Problems and Your Options

What are the typical symptoms of engine problems?

Excessive smoke from tailpipe; excessive oil consumption; knocking or tapping sounds; low oil pressure; low compression; water mixing in oil; oil getting into the air cleaner and/or radiator.

What are the typical causes of car engine problems?

Normal mileage wear and tear; poor maintenance; lubrication problems; excessive overheating.

My vehicle suffered major engine damage, now what?

So when an engine “dies,” it does not have to be the end of your vehicle. Smart shoppers, like smart motorists, make better decisions when they know all of the options. When a car or truck needs major engine repair, the first response and reaction of many consumers is to buy a new or used vehicle. Sometimes disposing of your current vehicle might make sense, but often it’s simply not necessary, or even the best decision.

If your vehicle is in relatively good shape it makes sense to update it by rebuilding or replacing the engine, rather than replacing the vehicle. Once you consider the “hidden” costs in a new or used vehicle, the economic benefits become very clear.

What is a Remanufactured - Rebuilt Engine?

A rebuilt engine is one that has been remanufactured to prescribed standards and specifications by highly skilled machinists using state-of-the-art equipment and components. During this process many new components are installed that meet or exceed original equipment performance standards.

Frequently, rebuilt engines are better than the engines originally installed at the factory. They are dependable, reliable and backed by excellent warranty programs.

What are the benefits of keeping my vehicle and replacing my existing engine? 

Choosing to repower your current engine with a remanufactured – rebuilt engine is your most reliable and cost effective choice over the long term.  Rebuilt – remanufactured engines get better gas mileage than a worn engine, and emit fewer pollutants. Engine rebuilding also saves the tremendous amount of energy used in processing discarded car engines and vehicles as well as conserving energy and resources required to manufacture new engines.

What kind of warranty comes with a remanufactured – rebuilt engine?

A remanufactured – rebuilt engine is typically warranted for at least one year, or 12,000 miles. Some engine remanufacturers offer warranties as long as 36 months and unlimited miles. Check with your local service provider for information on their remanufactured – rebuilt engines and warranty programs.

Where do I go? How do I search for a shop?

Take your vehicle to a reputable automotive repair shop, dealer or engine installation center for diagnosis. Not all engine problems call for engine replacement – often the problems are not serious and may only require relatively minor engine repair or maintenance. The Car Care Council provides a listing of rebuilt engine retailers, engine installers and rebuilders.

Click here for more info

What is the typical cost involved?

Repowering a typical car or truck with a rebuilt – remanufactured engine costs between $2,250 to $4,000 or about 10% to 20% of the cost of a new vehicle. Additional savings in annual insurance costs can also be significant compared to purchasing a new vehicle.

Below is a chart offering some estimated costs for rebuilding a worn out used engine, based on popular vehicle models. These are not firm prices, but are a good indication of the relative costs associated with installing rebuilt – remanufactured engines. Actual cost may vary due to geographic location, automotive repair labor rates, types of engines, freight costs and other factors.

Cost Comparison Table

Engine and Vehicle TypeGeneral Application
Rebuilt Engine
New Vehicle
80-95 Full size V8 domestic Pickup
$2700 – $3450
$30,000
94-01 Fwd GM V6 3100-3400
$3050 – $3700
$25,000
96+ Explorer V6
$3025 – $4200
$35,000
96 Jimmy 4X4 \Astro van 4.3 V6
$2800 – $3700
$32,000
97+ Ford truck\van V6 4.2
$2900 – $3800
$28,000
96-01 Ford truck\van 4.6-5.4 V8
$3675 – $4475
$30,000
00 Ford Escort 2.0 SOHC
$2900 – $4350
$19,000
93+ Transport 97+ Venture
$3200 – $4000
$32,000
84-95 22R  Toyota Pickup 4×4
$2850 – $3600
$20,000
00-01   2.7   Dodge Intrepid
$4200 – $5000
$23,000
  • These figures represent a range of possible prices for each car engine listed.  The price range typically includes the retail price of custom rebuilt or factory remanufactured engines plus the labor to install the engines. The estimate would also include the replacement of the thermostat and water pump and disposable automotive parts including spark plugs, ignition wires, belts, hoses, filters and gaskets.

 

  • Note that prices can vary widely depending on factors such as vehicle make/model, technician labor charges and the extent of other related automotive repair services that may be required to complete the rebuilt – remanufactured engine installation. You should always contact multiple service providers and acquire estimates to determine your best engine installation value.