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Engine Replacement for an Old Car: Is It Worth It?

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

Did you know that the typical new engine replacement can range from $4,000 starting at a 4 cylinder and go as high as $7,000 for a V8? It can even fluctuate past the higher end depending on the care. If you are like most people, your car is one of your prized possessions.

It may also be one of your biggest prior investments. You may have an old car that’s been in your family for years, and you’re wondering if it’s worth replacing the engine.

As it ages, that investment starts to wear down. Sometimes to the point where a total replacement is in order. So when faced with the decision of whether or not to replace your old car, what’s the best way to go about it?

Sometimes it’s inevitable and we have to look at multiple factors to help us determine if replacing the engine is the right choice, or if you should go ahead and get rid of it. We’re going to discuss the pros and cons of engine replacement so that you can make the best decision for yourself. 

Interested in learning how to make the decision simple? Keep reading.

Determine if Your Car Is Worth Repairing

To assess whether or not engine replacement is worth it, you need to take a look at the car itself and its current condition. Here are some things you’ll want to consider:

  • The age and make of your car
  • The mileage on your car
  • How often do you use your car
  • What kind of shape the body is in
  • If any repairs have been made in the past (and how much they cost)

Once you have all this information, add it up and compare it to the engine replacement cost. If the total amount is close to, or more than, the cost of a new engine, then it may be time to replace your old car with a new one.

On the other hand, if your car is relatively new and has low mileage, replacing the engine may not be worth it. In this case, you might want to consider selling your car as-is and buying a new one.

If you have an old car that’s been in the family for years, we’re sure it has a lot of sentimental value but it may not be so much in terms of monetary value. If this is the case, then you may want to think about replacing the engine because keeping it running can be affordable if there isn’t any major damage.

You should also look at what kind of condition the rest of your vehicle is in before making that decision though. Even if money isn’t an issue, another thing you will want to consider is how many miles are on your car.

Keep in mind that in the case that it’s an older vehicle that has a lot of miles on it, you may want to consider replacing the engine because once you get past a certain number of miles, there is usually major damage done to your engine and chances are slim that you’ll be able to repair it without having to replace parts or the whole thing.

Additional Things To Consider

Trying to determine whether or not an engine replacement is worth it can be tricky at times, especially when trying to assess the potential cost vs benefit ratio. If your old car isn’t in great shape but still runs well, replacing the engine may not be worth it. This is because there will likely be other issues with your old car that need attention as well.

You’ll end up spending more money on maintenance than you might have anticipated to keep it in good working order. If your old car isn’t running at all and needs a complete overhaul, you may want to consider scrapping your vehicle instead of repairing or replacing parts (like an engine).

If your car is worth repairing, the cost of a new engine is important. If the cost of a new engine is more than the value of your car, it’s not worth repairing. You’re better off selling it as-is and buying a newer model.

Another thing you’ll want to take into account when making this decision is how much money you have to spend on repairs.

If you don’t have enough money to replace the engine, but can afford to do other repairs necessary to keep your car running, then that might be an option. Sometimes all it takes is some new spark plugs or an oil change to get your car back up and running like new again.

But the thing is, an engine replacement will take a lot more than that. That’s not including parts and engine replacement labor cost.

Know What Needs to Be Fixed

What exactly needs to be fixed will depend on your specific car, but there are a few common issues that may lead you to believe it’s time for an engine replacement. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common problems:

Clogged oil filters and low fluid levels can cause friction in the engine. This is an easy fix. You’d need to replace the filter and refill it with oil until it reaches the fill line.

If this doesn’t solve your problem, then you’ll need a mechanic to take a look at it.

Some other signs of engine trouble include overheating or even smoking from under the hood. It could also just be making strange noises when starting up or driving around town.

Compare the Cost of a New Engine to the Cost of a New Car

The first thing to consider is the overall cost associated with replacing your old car’s engine. We’ve already covered how much it costs on average, but let’s take a closer look at what that means for you.

The price of replacement engines can range greatly depending on where they are purchased and the quality of the product being sold. One way to decide if your engine is worth fixing or not would be by comparing this cost against prices you’re seeing online for used cars in good condition.

If the cost of a new engine is close to, or more than, the price you’re seeing for a used car that’s in good condition, it might be time to part with your old car and buy something newer. However, if you find that the price for a new engine is much cheaper than what you would pay for a used car then go ahead and replace the engine.

Just make sure the warranty on the replacement engine is in good standing.

The Average Cost of Engine Replacement Can Vary Depending on Your Car

Another thing to consider when looking at whether or not to replace an old engine is what type of car you have. Cars that are made after 2000 typically require less expensive repairs due to better manufacturing processes. If your car is older than 2000 and the engine needs replacing, you might want to consider scrapping your old car.

If your old car has a lot of sentimental value though it’s up to you whether or not you want to scrap it. Some people don’t mind spending money on their cars if they’re luxury models despite them being more costly to repair in general because they have a history with that particular vehicle.

However, other car enthusiasts may see the value in scrapping the project and putting it towards something newer and more reliable.

Decide if You Have the Time and Skills to Replace an Engine Yourself

So, you might be wondering, is it cheaper to rebuild an engine or replace it? To figure that out you’ll need to look at few things. You should assess your skills if you want to replace the engine yourself.

Here you’ll want to determine the scope of the project. This includes the overall cast, how much time it’ll take you to complete the projects, and your goals for the car as a whole.

You mainly need to ask yourself, how long does it take to replace an engine?

It’s definitely not an easy task, but it is doable if you have some mechanical knowledge and are comfortable working on cars. If this isn’t something you feel confident doing yourself, there are plenty of mechanics who will be more than happy to help. Or, you should consider using a company like Cash Auto Salvage if you’d rather get rid of the car altogether.

The company pays up to $20,000 for cars, trucks, & SUV’s. Additionally, the condition of the vehicle doesn’t matter. Fast payment and free towing services of the vehicle are also offered. Using an option like this could give you the ability to get something newer and more suitable for what you need now.

Additionally, unless you’re just craving a project, Cash Auto Salvage could allow you to consider the project done, once you inquire about getting rid of it.

Weigh the Pros and Cons of Taking Your Car to a Mechanic

When it comes to repairing your car, there’s a lot of debate over whether or not you should take it to a mechanic. On one hand, they’re professionals and will have the knowledge and tools necessary to get the job done right. They’ll also be able to diagnose any potential problems with your car and let you know what needs to be fixed.

On the other hand, mechanics can be expensive. If you’re on a tight budget, replacing the engine may not be an option for you. In addition, many mechanics may try to upsell you on unnecessary repairs.

So before taking your car in for repair, make sure you know exactly what needs to be done, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Make a Decision Based on Your Budget and Needs

When it comes to engine replacement for an old car, there are a lot of factors that come into play. The most important thing to consider is your budget and needs. If you need a reliable car that you can depend on, then replacing the engine may be worth it.

However, if you don’t have a lot of money and don’t need a reliable car, then replacing the engine may not be worth it. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to replace the engine depends on you and your needs. Think about what you actually need the car for.

Determine if this is your primary, secondary, or just additional vehicle. Do you have a family? Do you drive your children to school? Do you need to have space for more than just yourself?

These are questions that you should ask yourself. If the vehicle that you’re considering engine replacement for isn’t relied on by others, then looking into an engine replacement may not be a bad idea. However, you’re going to want to figure out if this will be a passion project or a primary project.

Meaning, does the care have to get fixed, or do you just want to fix it? Determining what you need for the car. If anything, this is the easiest way to determine what you should do.

Try A Different Option

While engine replacement may be the best option for some old cars, it’s not always necessary. There are other options out there that can help you keep your car running without having to spend a lot of money. Cash Auto Salvage is one of those options.

Additionally, Cash Auto Salvage buys junk cars and recycles the parts, which helps keep them from ending up in landfills and making greener options for old parts. With fast payment and towing options, it couldn’t be any easier on a car owner. Get an offer from us on your vehicle today

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About the Author


Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

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