How Much Does a New Car Engine Cost?

Written by: Staff

Excessive smoke coming from the tailpipe or knocking sounds could all signal the need for a new car engine.  While many car owners consider scrapping their car for a new one, some may have the engine either rebuilt or replaced to keep the car going.  When the engine dies, it doesn’t mean it has to be the end of your vehicle’s life.

Car Engine by taylor.a, on Flickr
Car Engine” (CC BY 2.0) by  taylor.a

How much does a new car engine cost?

The cost of a car engine will depend on if you want to rebuild the engine or replace it 100% with a salvaged engine.  It will also depend on the car’s make and model, the mechanic you take it to and your geographical location.  If you were to have the engine rebuilt, it could cost $2,700 to about $5,700, but if you were to replace the engine 100 percent, the costs could be 30 to 40 percent more.

Head gaskets, which often are the main reason the engine failed, can easily cost more than $2,000 to replace.

Most mechanics may recommend rebuilding the engine instead of purchasing one new.  Rebuilding it will use many new components that meet or even exceed the original equipment standards. notes that rebuilt engines are better than the car engines often installed the factory and remanufacturing the engine can cost $2,250 to $4,000.

Joe at Personal Finance by the Book said he was quoted $5,700 for a replacement engine for his 1999 Cadillac DeVille.

Car engine overview

As noted above, there are two options when it comes to replacing an engine:  either getting it rebuilt or replacing it with a salvaged engine.  A rebuilt engine will be rebuilt by a technician and the piston rings, gaskets, seals and engine bearings will be replaced.  A salvaged engine will be the original engine but will come from accidents or other reasons.  For instance, in Japan, vehicles will only stay on the road for about seven to eight years, and afterward, they are shipped to the United States to be resold.

Another term you may hear about when replacing an engine is short block and long block.  A short block engine will come with the lower section only and won’t include the cylinder heads or the head gaskets.  It will only come with the pistons, bearings, oil pan, crankshaft and connecting rods.  A long block engine will be a bolt-in replacement option that will include the cylinder heads, valves, valve springs, camshafts and new head gaskets.  More often than not, the head gasket is the number one reason car engines fail, usually due to overheating.

A rebuilt engine with a local mechanic will often come with a warranty that lasts about 12,000 miles or one year, whichever comes first.  Some engine manufacturers, depending on who you choose, could last as long as 36 months.

The average job can take at least 25 to 30 hours to complete, depending on the complexity of a job.  A rustier old engine that has hard to remove parts will be much more than one that doesn’t.

What are the extra costs?

Charges for freight shipping, if purchased online can cost close to $200, depending on how far it has to travel.  Local junkyards will require you to pick up the engine yourself.

The Car Connection recommends factoring in the incidentals such as the radiator hoses, fan belts, fuel system and transmission.  Usually, once a car engine goes, other parts will start to fail as well, bringing the additional costs to well into the thousands.

Tips to know:

Bear in mind that new engine installations must meet emissions compliance within your local state.

How can I save money?

Not all engine problems mean you need to get a new engine.  Talk with at least three shops to get an opinion.  If all the opinions point to a new engine, then it may be safe to pursue this option.

Most local junkyards may have the particular make and model for which you are looking for.  If going the junkyard way, these engines are going to have a shelf life that will be relatively small, so only go this route if you don’t plan on using the car for a long period of time.

Make sure the investment makes sense.  If you were to invest $5,000 in a new engine, what could you get with that money instead?  Remember, someone may be willing to give you a few hundred dollars for your car, even if it doesn’t work.

Get at least two to three opinions before investing in a new engine.  If two mechanics agree a new engine is necessary, then it’s probably the right path to take.

Advertising Disclosure: This content may include referral links. Please read our disclosure policy for more info.


Average Reported Cost: $0

0 %
0 %
Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

About Us | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Amazon Affiliate Disclosure
Copyright © 2022 | Proudly affiliated with the T2 Web Network, LLC
The information contained on this website is intended as an educational aid only and is not intended as medical and/or legal advice.