What you need to know when buying an engine for your car

When you find out you need to replace the engine in your car it can feel like the end of the world. Engines are not cheap to buy and often cost a small fortune to prep and install.
  • Where do you start?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • I need my car for work, pick the kids up or to go on holiday...

First of all, you need to take a minute and get the facts from your mechanic.

  • What caused the engine to fail?
  • What is the engine code you need?
  • Do you need the fuel system or turbo?
  • Have any other ancillaries parts failed?
  • Will any need to be replaced at the same time as the engine?
  • How much will it cost for the work to be carried out?

Armed with this information you are in a position to start trying to find an engine.

In the past, you would need to spend hours driving around all the local scrap yards. Often having to navigate pools of oil whilst not having a clue what you were looking for. Hoping the scary guy on the gate will advise you what's best.

Now with the power of the internet, you can search Google, eBay or many of the "used part finder" websites to try to find an engine.

Used Engine Price V's Quality

With this it often means locating the correct engine is easier, it also brings with it its own set of problems.

For instance, prices can be all over the place. One supplier may quote £1000 another £500 and another £1500.

Whilst it would seem to make sense to buy the cheapest engine this can often prove to be a bad decision.

Why? Because not all used engines are equal and not all engine suppliers are as knowledgeable or technically aware.

One question is how does the engine come? What is it supplied with? The cheaper ones may be supplied as a bare block and head only.

These may need new components and ancillaries, whilst also requiring extra labor to get it ready to fit. Pushing the cost up considerably.

Another is what is the warranty? Warranties or Guarantees can vary. 30 days is the usual length but some will supply engines with 90 days or in our case up to 180 days warranty. Also, what does the warranty cover? and can you get it in writing?

Premature ELV's V's Natural ELV's

Legitimate, used engines are removed from salvage vehicles. These vehicles can be either premature end of life vehicles (ELV's) or natural ELV's.

What is the difference? 

A premature end of life vehicle has often been involved in an accident where the repair cost outweighs the repaired value of the vehicle. These cars may have next to no mileage but were unfortunately involved in an accident early into their life.

A natural end of life vehicle is one that has come to the end of its life due to age or wear and tear (mileage).  Many cars used as taxis or vans used by couriers may reach the end of their life whilst still being relatively new. It is not uncommon that these cars and vans are shared by many drivers and sometimes are on the road as much as 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

These vehicles are less expensive to buy, so suppliers can sell the goods cheaper, whilst still making good margins.

Who would buy engines form these vehicles with 100's of thousands of miles on them? No one who knows, ie from the motor trade.

But, people who are unaware will often buy these engines due to the cost savings they perceive they are making.

Stolen Engines

Other times private sellers may be selling nearly new or performance engines on sites like eBay at great prices. However, you have to ask yourself. How did they get ahold of this engine and how can they sell it so cheap?

The number of car thefts in the UK has skyrocketed and eBay, Gumtree and Facebook have given these criminals easy routes to sell their stolen gear.

Google search "stolen car parts eBay" to find 100's of news stories of criminals getting caught.

Now some people might think that buying a stolen engine cheap isn't such a bad thing as the insurance company was the one that suffered. But, if your supplier is unlucky enough to get caught the police will work very hard to recover the stolen parts. 

If the engine is in your car you might get lucky and not be charged with handling stolen goods. But you may still have to pay to remove it, with no chance of a refund.

Conclusion and advice

If you need to buy a replacement engine and the whole process seems alien to you then make sure you take advice. Be that from your mechanic, a mechanically minded friend or from a professional in the motor trade.

Don't buy the cheapest engine. It may be a great deal but it also might turn out to be the worst decision you could make.

Buy from a registered business, research that business and speak to their staff. Make sure they are knowledgeable and professional. Maybe ask them to speak to your mechanic.

Ask for a written quote and warranty info in writing before paying.

Always pay by card or Paypal. Never pay by bank transfer or cash as you might never see that money again if you have a problem. 

Thanks for reading


365 Engines 

We have been supplying engines to the public and trade for well over 10 years and pride ourselves on offering only the best quality engines and excellent service. 

We have well over 12,000 feedbacks on eBay 100% positive for selling engines and parts and many reviews elsewhere on the internet.