What to Consider When Choosing a Replacement Car Engine

We all know that our cars can be surprisingly fragile pieces of machinery, especially when we need them the most. While there are countless things that can go wrong with our automobiles, there are few things more frustrating than when the engine fails. The average car engine has a lifespan of around 12 years.

Given that most people in America are driving cars that are actually older than this, engine failure is a widespread and everyday occurrence. That’s why you will probably have to buy a replacement car engine at some point. When it comes to replacing old engines, you will want to get it right the first time. For this, you have come to the right place. Make sure to read these essential tips for buying new engines.

1. Determine If You Need a Replacement Car Engine

First off, before looking at used and new engines, you should know 100% that you actually need a replacement. Your engine might not be working, but it could just be a minor problem that you can fix at home.

As this guide to common car engine issues explains, most problems can be resolved with routine maintenance or by swapping out a small part. If your engine is fully out of commission and will not start at all, it is time for a replacement. 

2. Compatibility is Key

Let’s say you drive a Toyota Prius. It is not enough for your next engine to simply be any Toyota Prius engine. You need to make sure that any engine you are considering is completely compatible with your vehicle.

Different models released at different times have completely different engine sizes, while engine sizes also differ from country to country. Make sure the serial numbers on your engine match with any engine you are considering buying. 

3. Use a Trusted Vendor

You might be tempted to buy an engine from some random person on Craigslist, as it is definitely going to be cheaper than the more official route. However, this is an easy way to throw your money away on an engine that will not perform as promised. Always use a licensed and trustworthy car parts vendor when buying a new engine, without exception. 

4. Know How to Determine Age

When buying engines, it can be difficult to determine if what you are getting is in good working order. If possible, you should get a mechanic to come with you and take a look at an engine you want to buy, as they will know the telltale signs of wear and tear. Alternatively, you can check yourself for any signs of old age or damage. 

5. Be Wary of Prices

When comparing engine costs, it is important to be realistic. The market for car engines is pretty tight and any too good to be true prices are probably exactly that. If a car engine seems ridiculously cheap, ask yourself why the owner is so desperate to get rid of it, when they could probably get a great price for a good condition engine. 


Now that you know how to get the right replacement car engine for you, it’s time to learn more. For everyday, practical car guidance you can use on the road, we have got you covered. Make sure to check our dedicated Cars section for more insights and answers.