When It Isn’t Worth Replacing a Car Engine

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Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

Is it worth replacing the engine in an old car? Is it worth replacing the engine in a car involved in a major collision?

For many, it may make sense to replace the engine of a car rather than the entire vehicle. But, fixing an engine is expensive: removing then replacing an engine takes a lot of garage time. This is on top of the cash you have to pay for a replacement engine.

Some would rather purchase a new car than replace their engine. However, in some cases, replacing an engine can be a more economical decision.

Should you replace your engine or your car? The simple answer is whichever has the lowest cost. But are you getting your money’s worth?

In What Cases Is it Worth To Replace a Car Engine?

In some cases, replacing an engine is a more cost-effective option than purchasing a new vehicle. You also avoid the taxes, license fees, and insurance costs associated with buying a vehicle.

You might ask, “Do car warranties cover engine replacement?”

Yes, it is covered. The warranty covers your engine, transmission, and other critical car parts if they break down or malfunction.

So is it worth replacing a car engine? Here are a few situations when replacing the engine is the better option.

The car is still in a fairly good condition

Engine replacement is a good option for any vehicle that is otherwise in good overall mechanical condition and will be in service for several more years. If you expect your car to be in service for another three, four, or five years, then an engine replacement is a wise option. If the cost of a new engine is around $2,000 to $3,000, including labor, then this is an economically sound choice.

You save on taxes, fees, and insurance

Taxes, license fees, and insurance costs are all reduced when an engine is replaced. You will pay for taxes, license fees, and insurance costs when purchasing a new vehicle. All of which can be added to savings when you opt to replace your car’s engine. For taxes on new cars in the United States, the average is 5.75% of the purchase price. For insurance, expect to pay about an annual fee of $1,674 for full coverage.

You can get a high-quality engine replacement

Once an engine has been replaced, a vehicle should last at least as long as the original engine, assuming all other systems are in good mechanical condition. If properly maintained, its replacement should be expected to give you thousands of road miles. A good replacement car engine will cost around $3,000 to $7,000, depending on size and model.


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or email us at support@junkcarsus.com

Receive a guaranteed highest-priced quote for your junk car from the best junk car buyer by filling out the form online.

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When the damage to your car is mostly on the engine

Cracked engine block. There are several causes for engine block cracking, but the most common is excessive heat. If the cooling system is unable to regulate the operating temperature of the motor, it will continue to heat up as it runs. The metal used to make the block can only withstand so much heat. 

Mechanical wear and tear. The engine will suffer from general wear and tear as the miles on the odometer increase. Cylinder rings will wear out, the oil will leak, gaskets will fail, and damage will occur. Once there are symptoms of engine problems, there is no turning back, and a certain point of damage will require a rebuild or replacement.

Damage due to an accident. When your vehicle is hit so hard in the front that the engine is damaged due to the collision. If the car is to be driven again, which is unlikely if the engine has been physically damaged, the motor will almost certainly be replaced to ensure it is restored to pre-accident condition.

Car Engine Replacement Challenges You May Face

Aside from the cost of a new car engine, there are just really three major challenges during a car engine replacement process. These can be deal breakers when you decide to replace a car engine instead of buying a new vehicle.

Engine compatibility

When it comes to engine replacements, you have two options. You can either swap in another engine similar to the one you have or in a completely different engine. As you might expect, installing a completely new engine is far more difficult than installing a manufacturer-approved alternative engine. 

Before asking “How much does a car engine cost?” you have to check for availability. Putting in a completely different engine will require more work and money because you'll need to modify the recipient vehicle to fit the engine, as well as ensure that everything is properly connected. It is difficult and time-consuming.

It’s not a simple DIY process

Engine swaps aren't as simple as removing one engine and replacing it with another. Engine swapping is a time-consuming process that necessitates extensive research and planning. It necessitates a significant amount of labor time as well as solid fabrication skills. 

That's just to get the engine properly mounted to avoid falling out while on the road. Once installed, you must ensure that the engine's power is transferred to the wheels, which may need extensive transmission modifications. You also need to check if air, oil, and coolant flow in properly to avoid engine trouble (again).

You’ll need to register your car, again

Depending on where you live, swapping in a new engine may necessitate re-registering your vehicle. This is especially true if the vehicle was previously titled salvage or if you want to obtain a rebuilt title. Check with your local DMV for more information on whether you need to re-register your vehicle. You will also be subjected to emissions tests.

How Much Does it Cost to Replace an Engine

The cost of car engine replacement is the major point that’s usually asked by owners of older-model cars or vehicles with broken engines. It usually influences their decision to either replace the engine or just buy a new car.

Here’s a table to help you answer the question, “How much does it cost to replace an engine?”.

Please note that engine replacement usually requires 14 to 22 hours of labor time. Car mechanics usually charge $80 to $100 per hour. Major car shops and dealerships will charge between $95 to $125 per hour. 

Be sure to add the costs of labor to get the average cost of car engine replacement for your car model.

Engine Type

Estimated Cost

Refurbished Japanese or American four-cylinder

$1,500 to $2,000

New Japanese or American four-cylinder


Refurbished V-6 

$1,500 to $2,000

New V-6 


Refurbished European engines 

$3,000 to $4,000

New European engines

$6,000 to $8,000

Refurbished V-8

$3,000 to $4,000

New V-8 

$7,000 to $8,000

Rebuilt diesel engines (if swapping from gas to diesel)

$5,000 to $10,000


For more context, let’s say you have an old 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser, replacing the V-8 engine will set you back;

  • Refurbished engine = $4,000 to $6,750 including labor
  • New engine = $9,000 to 10,750 including labor

That’s a hefty cost, and you still have to worry about engine compatibility, quality of labor, and engine quality. Plus, you can’t really expect the engine to be the only car part to be repaired. The transmission, radiator, and electrical wirings will all need to be serviced or checked. Lastly, you have to cross your fingers that this complicated repair is successful. All of this must be included in your car engine replacement estimate.

As a reference, a used and good running 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser will cost around $25,000 to $30,000. What if you just sell your non-running Toyota Land Cruiser to a trusted buyer like Junkcarsus? 

Instead of going through this stressful repair process, the vehicle’s worth plus the cash you would have spent on engine replacement should be enough to buy a used car or as a hefty downpayment for a new one.

What to Do When Car Engine Replacement Costs Are Too High

If the cost to fix is more than ⅓ of your vehicle’s actual worth, it could be better to just sell your totaled car to Junkcarsus. It will save you time and avoid stressful moments when you hear grinding noises from your newly replaced engine. 

We buy broken cars, and we give top-dollar cash for any model or type at any condition. Aside from giving you the best price in town, we also include free towing.

If you think that the car engine replacement cost for your vehicle is too much, just call us at (855) 547-1550, and our friendly car experts will answer all your questions. If you’re in a hurry, we can actually get a deal done right away, so you’ll get your cash ASAP.

FAQ block

Where can I get an engine replacement for my car?

If your car needs an engine replacement, first check if the engine is locally available. Some cars are extremely difficult to repair because they have parts that are not readily available or have a very high cost. Check this top ten list of US cars that are difficult to repair.

How can I tell if my car needs an engine replacement?

There are many tell-tale signs that your car is about to suffer engine or transmission trouble. If you ignore them, other parts could be affected, and an engine replacement might be needed. To save on more repair cost, check this article to see the 8 signs that your transmission is going out

Is there a way to save the cost and price of car repair?

If there’s no physical damage to the engine, you can have a mechanic check it. But you can diagnose if your car is having engine trouble to save a little labor cost. This way, you can have your own price estimate on repairs. Check this article on how to troubleshoot an engine that won’t start.

Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

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