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What to Look for in a Rebuilt Engine

Repairing Car

When replacing the engine in your vehicle, cost is often a factor in deciding to purchase a rebuilt (recycled) engine over a brand-new one. Rebuilt engines cost up to $3,000 on average and can be more expensive. Brand-new engines can often be more than twice as expensive as rebuilt motors.

When purchasing a recycled or rebuilt engine for your vehicle, there are things you should look for in this pricey vehicle component. Use this guide to help you choose the best used engine for your needs and budget.

Overall Engine Condition

A rebuilt engine should be fitted with new or like-new components for optimum longevity of the unit. Timing belts, pistons, gears, and other components should be new model or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts that match the exact needs of your vehicle.

Beware of a rebuilt engine that does not come with a history of what work has been done to make the motor safe for future use. Any mechanic who has rebuilt an engine should keep a history of the type of parts replaced and the model numbers to accompany all rebuilt components so you can match them to your vehicle's year, make, and model.

A rebuilt engine without proof of repairs or restoration could mean that a non-licensed mechanic did the work. Another risk to buying a rebuilt engine without a repair history is the unknown factors of what could possibly go wrong with the unit in the future.


A rebuilt engine should be stored in a dry, cool area off the ground. Do not buy a rebuilt engine that has been kept out in the open for rodents and other pests to get into or that may have experienced prolonged weather damage.

Ideally, an engine should be stored in an airtight container to keep out pests and moisture and should be properly lubricated to ensure gears and pistons do not get stuck during the months or years the engine will be in storage.


All rebuilt engines that were professionally restored by a mechanic at a garage or a vehicle recycling company should come with a warranty. A warranty for a rebuilt engine may cover replacement or repairs if the unit fails before a certain number of miles or cover the unit against mechanical failure for a number of years as long as the purchaser receives regular vehicle maintenance.

A professionally rebuilt engine should (and often does) last as long as a brand-new engine, so including a warranty with your purchase should be a priority to the company who sells rebuilt motors or rebuilds them inhouse.


The whole purpose of buying a rebuilt engine for your car is to save money. Do not buy any rebuilt engine that meets or exceeds the cost of a new engine for your vehicle, unless specific modifications to improve the engine beyond basic operation (such as additional horsepower) to meet your needs are included in the sale price.

With the right rebuilt engine purchase, your car can last much longer than it would have originally. Keep in mind that if you have other failing units in your vehicle, such as an older transmission, your car will continue to need replacement parts to continue providing you with reliable service. You can buy used and rebuilt vehicle parts at an automobile recycling facility.

Always ask a skilled mechanic to inspect any rebuilt engine you are considering before making your final purchase. Our team of specialists at Cordova Truck Dismantlers will assist you in selecting the right rebuilt motor for your car's needs. Call us today for all your vehicle part replacement needs.