How to Choose a Quality Used Engine
February 17, 2009
With the difficult economic times we live in today, many people are facing a tough decision. Your mechanic has delivered the bad news: the engine in your trusty vehicle has just died. What do you do? Buying a new car and taking on years of added debt just isn’t in your plans or your budget and yet you have got to have a car. Fortunately there is another option and it’s not nearly as painful as a down payment and years of commitment would be. The answer you seek is both simple and complex. Replace the dead engine with a quality used one.
This choice is simple because used engines are everywhere these days and it’s as easy to find one as getting online. The choice becomes complex because you want to make sure that the used engine you select is a quality engine that has a many good years and miles left. The best way to ensure that you get a decent replacement engine the first time around is to do a little homework.
The first thing to decide is how much money you are willing and able to spend on a replacement engine. This will determine the answer to the next question. Is there a certain mileage you would be happier with? Keep in mind that the age of the vehicle will have a lot to do with how hard or easy it will be to find an engine with the mileage you desire. Obviously the older the vehicle, the harder it will be to find an engine with lower miles. That’s not to say you can’t find one, you just may have to look a little longer. Mileage and price tend to go hand in hand so if you decide to go with very low mileage, expect to pay for it.
Another thing to consider is location. Location you ask? What does that have to do with getting a good engine? Plenty, as it turns out. Because the northern parts of the United States tend to see a lot of snow in the winter, vehicles here suffer from corrosion due to the salt that is put down to melt the snow. This can be as minor as just surface rust but if your engine has a cast iron block, corrosion becomes a major player in the quality of the engine. Salt tends to takes its toll on moving parts. So, if possible try to choose an engine from further down south. The southern portions of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida all get little to no snow so rust is a non issue for engines originating in these states.
The next question is who do you buy from? Be sure to choose a company that’s a member of the Better Business Bureau and use a credit card to make the purchase, if possible. That way you have some recourse if you end up with a less than ideal engine. Reputable online companies will have their warranty listed somewhere on their website. Be sure to read this before purchasing an engine. Most of the time just reading the warranty will answer most of your questions. Many companies sell engines as complete assemblies but you need to know what exactly that entails. For example the engine may be guaranteed to come with both the exhaust and intake manifolds but the manifolds themselves are probably not guaranteed. Most of the accessory parts of the engine are that way. This means that you will need to use the ones off of your old engine. If some of the accessory parts on your old engine are damaged. Those will need to be purchased separately.
Once you have located a company you feel comfortable with, go ahead and call to see if they have the engine you need. You will want to have the VIN for your old engine available. If the sales agent does not ask for it, give it to them anyway. Once you have decided on the mileage and price with the agent, ask if you can have a Car Fax on the engine you will be receiving. Most companies do offer this but you may have to ask for it. Armed with the knowledge you’ve gathered so far, you are ready to purchase that used engine.
Buying a used engine is not without risk but doing a little legwork on your end can save you a bundle of money and avoid overloading yourself with extra debt. With this trying economy who doesn’t appreciate that!
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