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5 Things To Watch For When Buying A Used Car Engine in 2024

We can all agree on one thing – having your car break down is not pleasing. What’s even worse is when you find out that not only does your car needs fixing, but you have to replace a whole engine. In some cases, you actually have to decide whether a move like that is even worth it. Replacing a car engine is by no means cheap and sometimes it just makes more sense to buy a new car. However, if you do decide to stick with your current vehicle and just replace the engine – there might be a way for you not to break the bank.

Instead of buying a new, unused, straight-from-the-shop engine, you can save a lot of money by finding and purchasing a used one. Just like with the cars themselves, used car parts are far more affordable than the new ones.  Sometimes cars are sold for parts and some of those parts are more than salvageable.

However, you do have to be careful when choosing a used car part, especially an integral one like the engine. If you just purchase the first thing you come across, from a scrap yard or off of an ad you found at your local newspaper, you may end up in a bigger mess than you were in previously.

You could easily end up with a faulty part or even completely broken one. That means, you still have a car that you can’t drive and you just threw away some money. To avoid situations like that, you have to be careful and make sure you inspect it before purchasing it. If you don’t know what to look for, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Today, we’ve decided to make a mini-guide to help you find a good, used engine in a sea of bad ones.

  1. Unreliable Sellers

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If you’re buying from an individual, there’s probably no way to check this and you’ll have to trust your gut. On the other hand, if you’re buying from scrap or a junkyard, it should be possible to check out their reputation and whether they are to be trusted. Take a few minutes to do a quick little online search and check for reviews or any other useful information.

One thing that can prove out to be helpful here is to take advice from someone that’s in the business for a long time. Guys like never recommend just blindly combing through Craigslist to try and buy random used car parts from random people. You never know who you’re dealing with.

You need to make sure you’re dealing with a reliable and reputable company and not just some scammers selling junk for a profit. Be smart. Do your research and don’t fall for offers that seem too good to be true. They usually are too good to be true.

  1. Age and Mileage

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Just like when you’re purchasing a car, you have to ask about the mileage. When buying a car, you take a look at the dashboard and you see the mileage. Granted, that can be tampered with so it’s probably the best to consult with a mechanic that can prove whether that number is correct. You should do the same thing here. Why? Well, every engine has a limit. You can’t drive a car for a million miles.

Typically, the engines that have been used less, meaning they have fewer miles on their record will cost more, but they’ll also last longer. A usual car is driven about 15,000 miles per year, so if you know the year it was built in, you can do the quick math and check if the numbers match. Once again, if it seems too good to be true – it probably is. Double-check these numbers, a lot of people like to alter them so they can earn more money.

  1. Engine Test

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Most of the used car parts that are being sold are from totalled vehicles. In some cases, cars can be destroyed beyond recognition and a possibility of repair, but the engine remains intact. If the car crash was major and the front of the vehicle has been crushed or there has been a fire under the hood – the engine can be affected. In those cases, an engine needs to be checked before being sold as working, used part. There are two ways that you can test it in case it hasn’t been done by the seller, but we’d recommend looking for the tested one.

In any case, as we’ve said, there are two options. The first testing method is called a run test. In this case, a certified technician will start the engine and run some tests on it to see whether it’ll perform the way it should or it won’t. The other method is called a compression test. This is a method used when you can’t start the vehicle and you need another way to test whether the one thing that matters still works.

  1. Compatibility

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Luckily, you don’t need to find an engine from the exact same model, year or even brand of the car to make your run again. It’s not that hard to find a match. Cars may be different in lots of ways, but for the most part, their parts are often fairly similar. Most companies reuse some parts for a number of years on all kinds of different vehicles. However, you do still have to do research on which one is compatible with your car. You can’t put an F-150s part into a Mini Cooper.

  1. Warranty

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You can get one without the warranty, but we wouldn’t really advise you to do so. Purchasing a used part with at least a one-year warranty is the way to go. Naturally, the length of the warranty isn’t the only thing you should be concerned about, but you should check what it covers as well. Check if there are any conditions on the warranty, whether there is a way to void it and so on. You wouldn’t want to do anything that would cost you the warranty, right?

One final tip we would give you is to keep the receipt. Anything can break – whether it’s new or used and if you keep the receipt, maybe there’s a way to do something about it. So, be careful when selecting a used engine and try and cover all of the things we’ve just mentioned, so you can be sure you got yourself a good, used product.

About Danoline Samson

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