If your mechanic lets you know it’s time for a new engine, you already know that the job isn’t going to be cheap. How much does it cost to replace a car engine? The answer might cause you to take a deep breath.
On average, you can spend anywhere from $1,500 to $7,500 for a typical car engine replacement, depending on what type of car you drive. Additionally, factors such as the labor rate, type of engine being replaced and the other parts that are needed will all affect the total cost.
In this guide, we look at what plays into the average cost. We also discuss the different types of engines you can choose to replace your defective one with. Additionally, we show you how to prevent engine replacement, so you can save money.
Factors Affecting Cost of Replacing a Car Engine
1. Engine Size
The price you spend on the new engine is going to be dramatically impacted by how large the motor is. If you have a four-cylinder engine, the cost will usually be much lower than a large V8. As an example, you might spend $2,500 to get a four-cylinder, whereas you would quickly pay $4,000 or more for the eight-cylinder.
As the engine size gets bigger, the operation is more complex. Creating these larger engines naturally means the price will be higher.
2. Type of Engine
You have multiple options when your engine fails. You don’t need to choose a brand-new engine, which will make the price higher than any other option.
There’s also the choice to choose a remanufactured or rebuilt engine, as well as a used motor. We discuss more about these options down below.
3. Labor Rate
Putting an engine in is a tough job. Not every mechanic is willing to take this task on. However, when you find someone that is, you can expect that they are going to charge you a premium price for the hassle.
On average, an engine replacement can take ten to 12 hours, depending on the complexity. You should be prepared to receive a charge for this long or longer, at whatever the current rate is. On average, labor rates are anywhere from $90 to $250 per hour, which can change widely depending on where you live in the nation. With this in mind, between $1,000 and $2,500 of the bill accounts for labor charges.
4. Additional Parts
There’s more that’s involved in the engine replacement than simply the motor. All of the bolts and connecting parts will also need inspection and replacement when worn. You might need a new belt, hose, pulley or pump. With each of these additional parts, the price is going to jump higher.
Not only will the parts add more to the bill, but the additional labor has to go up in conjunction. Plus, you must factor in the consumables used, such as new motor oil.
Some shops won’t offer a warranty with the engine replacement. While you could pay less to visit this shop, you might not be willing to throw the money away on the repair. In these situations, you might want to pay a little more to get a guarantee.
The powertrain warranty doesn’t need to last long. But, you want to be able to drive away with peace of mind that there’s some recourse if there’s a defect.
Engine Replacement Types
New engines have zero miles on them because they have come directly from the manufacturer. You may have heard of the new engine being called a crate engine too. These are the most expensive option you can choose from.
In many cases, the new engine can cost more than the vehicle is worth. However, you know that the engine will be in the best condition possible.
The second best option compared to the new engine is the reconditioned or remanufactured motor. During this extensive process, the engine is brought back to like-new condition, ensuring it satisfies all of the standards set out by the manufacturer.
To complete this process, the entire engine must first be disassembled, so new components can be installed. It is also cleaned out well and must pass several rigorous tests before it can be considered good enough. Plus, the majority of these engines come with some type of warranty protection, although it won’t be as good as the new engine would.
With the rebuilt engine, there’s been a partial reconstruction of the motor, but it’s not performed to the reconditioned status. Part of the engine is disassembled, but only damaged or worn parts are going to be replaced. Still, the engine is going to be in better shape than the typical used motor.
Many mechanics will rebuild the car engine for a fee. The job that’s performed will directly correlate to how much work the mechanic is willing to put into it and how much you are willing to pay. The more experienced the mechanic is, 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.
The used motor is the one that comes out of another car and is put under the hood of yours. Most of these come from the salvage yard from a vehicle that houses the same engine. The junkyard will carefully remove it and sell it to you without any testing or guarantees. If you can find a yard that does test the engine or warranty it for some period, you will spend more.
When you purchase a vehicle from the salvage yard, find out what components come with it. Some yards offer components, such as the manifold, which helps you save money on new parts. Because you should already replace some other parts with your engine, it’s beneficial to get them as a package deal.
How to Prevent Engine Replacement
There’s only one way to prevent an engine replacement in your car. You must take care of your vehicle and provide all of the recommended maintenance when it is due. With the regular oil change and periodic tune-ups, you ensure that the engine is always running as it should, allowing for less wear and tear.
Additionally, it helps to treat your engine with respect. You shouldn’t push the engine to work harder or do more than what it’s capable of. Being light on the gas pedal and treating the vehicle with care will help the engine to last as long as possible.
Finally, it’s important to think about what car engine you are using. Before you buy a car, it’s best to do some research because many cars have defective engines under the hood right out of the gate. For example, in 2016, Subaru issued reimbursement to owners of 2.0- and 2.5-liter naturally aspirated engines because they guzzled oil and led to premature failure. If you purchase a used car with a reliable engine, you have a better chance of getting your mileage out of it.