Engine Rebuild Cost: Is Rebuilding an Engine Worth It?

Call us now (855) 547-1550
or email us to support@junkcarsus.com

Receive a guaranteed highest price quote for your junk car by filling in the form online.

Edgar Moulton.

03/17/2022

Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

Table of contents

I'm sure you're wondering how much the average cost to rebuild an engine is. It's not as simple to compute since the cost to rebuild an engine varies depending on the engine type and the extent of the repair. In case your car has an engine failure or suffered damage to critical parts, this article will help you decide if rebuilding is worth it or not.

Rebuild or Replace the Engine

When your car’s engine gets blown, you have two choices to get it to run again. You can either rebuild or replace the engine. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, which you should weigh before choosing which option to go with.

Engine Rebuild

A mechanic's skill level impacts the quality of the rebuild. If the rebuild is low quality, your engine's life may be cut short. A rebuild by a trained mechanic using high-quality parts can add hundreds of thousands of miles to the life of your car or truck.

Pros:

  1. In most cases, rebuilding an engine to fix it is less expensive than purchasing a new one. Rebuilding an engine can save you up to half the price of purchasing a new one.
  2. Once correctly fixed, a rebuilt engine can last as long as a new engine. The number of components modified determines how long it will last.
  3. You reduce the amount of scrap in the environment by recycling engine parts. 
  4. The main advantage of engine rebuilding is the inherent connectivity and compatibility with the car’s ECU and electrical system. If the ECU and the new engine are incompatible, the ECU may need to be flashed again. This will cost between $100 and $200, depending on the make and model of the car. If you need to replace the entire ECU, the parts will cost between $400 and $1,400, with labor charges ranging between $100 and $200 for reprogramming and installation.

Cons:

  1. Your car will likely be sidelined for a few days because engine rebuilds take longer to finish. Engine rebuilds may take up to 4 days to complete, so if you only have one car, be ready to commute for a few days.
  2. Some engine components cannot be evaluated unless the engine is disassembled. And if you reach into the engine and discover too much damage to repair, you'll be back at square one, deciding whether to replace your engine or your car.
  3. There are times when rebuilding an engine costs as much as buying a new one, so a skilled mechanic must be able to estimate the cost properly. For instance, if the pistons are damaged, it may take out the cylinder wall and cause warping of the engine block if there’s too much friction. The needed repairs for the piston, cylinder walls, and resurfacing of the engine may be at par with an engine replacement cost.

Engine replacement

An engine replacement is an alternative to purchasing a new vehicle. Aside from saving your current car, you avoid the taxes, license fees, and insurance costs of buying a new one.

Pros

  1. This option is faster to complete, so you can use your car sooner. Once a replacement engine has been found, installation should only take a day or two.
  2. You can get an engine with lower mileage, extending the operational life of your car for another 100,000 miles or more.
  3. Less chance of missing a crucial part to fix because you are changing everything. Engine rebuilds can be very complex, with many small parts needing to be put back in sequence. One wrong part in the wrong place, and your engine will run funny. Then you’ll need to bring it back to the shop for another set of repairs.
  4. You can junk the old engine for some extra cash. It’s not much, but you can maybe get about $50 for the entire block.

Cons

  1. Usually more expensive than a rebuild with new 4-cylinder engines costing about $4,000, around $5,500 for a V6 engine, and around $7,000 for a V8.
  2. When a new engine is installed, the ECU frequently has trouble connecting and communicating with it. In most circumstances, an engine switch will necessitate either reprogramming or replacement of the ECU.
  3. Although there are warranties, you can still get a dud, giving you more headaches. Unfortunately, you can’t really test an engine effectively without putting it inside a vehicle. Also, it’s not advisable to push your new engine to the limit for the first week to avoid blowing it in case it’s defective or if there’s a problem with the installation. 

6 Symptoms An Engine Needs to be Rebuilt

It is occasionally required to rebuild an engine for your vehicle to run properly. Here is a list of common indicators that your car's engine needs to be rebuilt. If you see two or more of these symptoms, you may have to start saving up to cover the engine rebuild cost.

1. Knocking Sounds

When you rev the engine, you can hear a banging sound, and a knocking sound that becomes louder as you power it up is never a good sign. You should address this issue as quickly as possible, or it will worsen. A lack of clearance between the piston and the cylinder bore is a common cause of banging. Other unusual noises may also signal a problem. When a piston ring fractures, a rattling noise may be heard. If your engine makes a "chattering" sound, it's most likely due to a valve train problem.

2. The Engine is Losing Oil

If you believe your car uses too much oil, you should consider rebuilding your engine. When engine parts wear down, the clearance area between them may open up, enabling oil to escape after being burned off. As a result of losing oil, your engine may be emitting dark bluish smoke. To avoid these issues, you may need to replace piston rings, bearings, or valve guides.

3. Too Much Exhaust Smoke

Your car's tailpipe should not be emitting a lot of smoke. Thick, heavy smoke could signal that your engine needs to be overhauled. If there is an extraordinary amount of thick smoke coming from the tailpipe, it is a solid sign that something is wrong with the engine.

4. The Car’s Oil is Sludgy

When you clean and refill your oil and see oil sludge in your oil pan, you know your engine isn't running properly. Oil or coolant sludge is not only unpleasant but is also a warning sign that your engine may need to be rebuilt soon. Sludge is waste oil or coolant that has been mixed into the oil and thickened. Furthermore, less lubrication may cause excessive friction inside the engine.

5. Loss of Coolant

The loss of coolant is another issue that is frequently caused by blown head gaskets. If you notice that your radiator is losing a lot of coolant fluid, it's likely that the cylinder pressure in the system is leaking. Take off the radiator cap and look at the coolant's surface when the radiator is heated to see if this is the problem. The issue is most likely a blown head gasket if you have high pressure and coolant blowing out of the overflow tube.

6. Loss of Engine Compression 

If your car is misfiring, you may have compression loss, which can only be remedied by rebuilding the engine. Compression loss is produced by a leak in one or more cylinders due to regular engine wear and tear. Compression loss in one engine cylinder can result in misfiring and poor vehicle performance. A decrease in power output indicates worn-out internal components.

5 Factors That Affect Engine Rebuild Cost

Aside from the amount of damage sustained by your vehicle, these factors will play a major part in calculating a car engine rebuild cost.

1. Amount of mechanical labor hours

Most mechanics charge by the hour, so the longer they have to work, the higher the labor cost to rebuild an engine. If it’s necessary to pull out the engine for disassembly and repair, that will take at least a day’s work. Not to mention putting everything back in order and testing if everything works.  

A typical engine rebuild will take anywhere between 15 and 25 working hours, so expect to leave your car at the mechanic for 2 to 4 days if they work for only 8 hours a day.

To compare, an engine replacement will only take about 8 to 12 hours. Imports and European cars may take a bit longer due to the unfamiliarity of most mechanics but should not take up more than 15 hours. 

2. Technical knowledge required to rebuild an engine

Aside from the condition of your car, the skills and knowledge of your mechanic will play a big part in the cost of rebuilding. If a mechanic misdiagnoses a repair and fails to identify all the parts needed to be fixed, it can lead to many needless hours of labor. 

Also, a less-than-stellar repair might do your car more harm than good if the engine breaks down again and takes out other parts like the entire transmission or cooling system with it.

3. The parts to be replaced 

Mechanics are often unable to determine what caused an engine to explode without inspecting the engine. They can provide a preliminary assessment based on a visual inspection or routine troubleshooting. However, the engine must be disassembled to determine which parts will be replaced. Repairs will be expensive if many elements are damaged, such as a blown rod, bent piston, or holes in the engine body.

4. The car’s make and model

Keep in mind that the engine rebuild cost for a 4-cylinder and a 6-cylinder engine will differ. A diesel engine rebuild cost is usually higher than a gas engine rebuild’s. 

The vehicle's rarity will also play a role in the reconstruction process. Even if you have the money to pay for it, if the car is quite old, components may not be accessible. If this occurs, an engine replacement may be the only way to get your automobile running again. Imports also have more expensive parts.

5. If your car has a hybrid engine

Although this can also fall under the car’s make and model category, it is better to separate hybrids from ordinary combustion engines. While a traditional combustion engine only has one method of producing power, hybrid engines have two power sources: an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. 

These two power sources can function together or independently to achieve the best driving circumstances. Thus, it’s like repairing two engines. The gearbox, combustion engine, and electric drive motor are designed to function as a single powerful entity. If any of these primary components fail, the other parts will malfunction as well. 

Engine Rebuild Cost Examples

If your engine blows up, a rebuild can fix it, and you may even receive greater gas mileage than your old one. In addition, the refurbished engine will produce fewer pollutants. With proper maintenance, a restored engine can last as long as a new car engine. The table below shows the approximate cost of engine rebuilds for popular vehicles in 4 different states.

The prices for these engine rebuilds are based on man-hours for each state and the cost of engine car motor rebuild kits for each car model. Some common problems like piston and gasket replacements will take fewer hours to complete and should cost only around $1,500.

Gasoline Engine Rebuild Costs

A planned overhaul is almost always less expensive than purchasing a new engine. By rebuilding, you can save up to half the cost of a new engine. Today, the cost of rebuilding an engine might range from $2,500 to around $5,000, service and parts included.

Engine Type

Car Model/Make

Florida

California

New York

Texas

Two-rotor rotary engine

Mazda RX-8

$2,560

$2,880

$3,200

$3,040

3-Cylinder Gasoline Engine

BMW i8

$2,760

$3,080

$3,400

$3,800

4-Cylinder Gasoline Engine

Toyota Tacoma 2015

$2,650

$3,050

$3,450

$3,250

4-Cylinder Gasoline Engine

Audi A4 2017

$3,200

$3,600

$4,000

$3,800

4-Cylinder Gasoline Engine

Subaru Outback 2017

$3,600

$4,000

$4,400

$4,200

4-Cylinder Gasoline Engine

Honda Accord 2015

$2,600

$3,000

$3,400

$3,200

6-Cylinder Gasoline Engine

Infiniti G35

$3,000

$3,400

$3,800

$3,600

6-Cylinder Gasoline Engine

Acura MDX 2017

$3,200

$3,600

$4,000

$3,800

8-Cylinder Gasoline Engine

BMW N63 2018

$4,250

$4,750

$5,250

$5,000

8-Cylinder Gasoline Engine

Ford Torino 2018 (Ford 302 Engine)

$3,150

$3,650

$4,150

$3,900

8-Cylinder Gasoline Engine

Ford F-150 2015

$3,250

$3,750

$4,250

$4,000

8-Cylinder Gasoline Engine

Toyota Tundra 2016

$3,250

$3,750

$4,250

$4,000

Diesel Engine Rebuild Costs

When compared to gasoline engines, diesel engines are more expensive to maintain, with most requiring more mechanic hours. If an engine repair is done correctly, the engine can easily endure tens of thousands of kilometers. And, if you intend to retain the car for 75,000 or 100,000 miles, you should think about hiring a professional mechanic to rebuild the engine.

Engine Type

Car Model/Make

Florida

California

New York

Texas

4-Cylinder Diesel Engine

Ford Ranger 2016

$2,650

$3,050

$3,450

$3,250

6-Cylinder Diesel Engine

Volvo D13

$6,700

$7,100

$7,500

$7,300

6-Cylinder Marine Diesel Engine

Volvo D12

$5,400

$5,800

$6,200

$6,000

8-Cylinder Diesel Engine

Nissan Titan 2018

$3,500

$4,000

$4,500

$4,250

8-Cylinder Diesel Engine

BMW X5 2016

$3,700

$4,200

$4,700

$4,450

ATV and Hybrid Engine Rebuild Costs

ATVs have 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines that may be difficult to repair for some mechanics not familiar with it. Hybrid engines are relatively new and are more complex due to the combination of electric and combustion engines.

Engine Type

Car Model/Make

Florida

California

New York

Texas

4-Stroke Engines

ATV

$3,000

$3,400

$3,800

$4,300

Hybrid Engine

Toyota Prius 2016

$4,300

$4,900

$5,500

$5,200

If Rebuilding the Engine Isn’t Worth It—You Can Junk Your Car for Cash Fast and Easy 

Engine rebuilds and replacements are costly but can almost double your car’s life. However, engine repairs may not make sense if the price is too much, especially if the damage to the main block and pistons is substantial. When this happens, you should just sell your problematic vehicle to a trustworthy junk car buyer like JunkCarsUs.

Call us at (855) 547-1550, and our friendly staff members will answer all your questions. We can process deals on the same day that you call so that you can get your cash quickly. We pay top dollar in cash for junk cars of any year, make, model, and condition. We go over and beyond to help you out with paperwork and provide free towing for every deal.

FAQ

How much does it cost to rebuild an engine?

The make and type of the car are important considerations. The more popular it is, the less expensive the parts are likely to be. The engine's complexity is also important, and diesel engines are more costly to rebuild. An engine rebuild typically costs between $2,500 and $4,500. Rebuilding generally is less expensive than purchasing a new engine, and you may save up to half the cost of a new engine.

Is a diesel engine rebuild cost higher?

Diesel maintenance is less expensive overall compared to gasoline engines. But diesel engines are more expensive when they require repairs. The cost of a rebuild is determined by the number of cylinders in your engine. A 6-cylinder engine will cost more to rebuild than a 4-cylinder engine. Class 8 engine rebuilds from authorized mechanics can cost between $20,000 and $40,000.

What is the labor cost to rebuild engines?

Auto mechanics earn between $50 and $150 per hour on average, depending on their skill levels. A regular engine overhaul will take between 15 and 25 hours to complete. When these two variables are combined, the labor cost will range between $750 and $3,750. Import and European automobile engines may take longer to repair, so get an estimate before agreeing to have the engine disassembled.

Edgar Moulton.

03/17/2022

Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

Rate this article:

5.00 out of 5 based on 1 votes

Write us

Contact Us

Feel free to contact us for any business, media, or personal inquiries:

Book Online

Please, submit your quote request form and we will get back to you in a minutes with our guaranted cash offer!

Name
Enter your phone number *
Enter your email
City *
Zip code
Year
Make
Model
Condition Of The Vehicle

We never share your information or spam you with our own emails or promos!