I recently spoke with a mechanic who has installed hundreds of used and remanufactured engines about which of these two options he prefers to install. He asked, “It depends on which decade you’re talking about.” Not understanding what he meant, I pressed him to explain. The mechanic informed me that in the 80’s and 90’s, he was loathe to install anything but a remanufactured engine because “No one kept track of miles on used engines, and it was a crap shoot. Now, if you get a CARFAX, you can know exactly how many miles are on a used engine and whether it’s worth putting in. I like installing used engines with low miles because I know my customer is getting a deal that will last them a long, long time.”
There are two primary considerations when making any automotive repair: cost and longevity. If the cost is higher than getting a good replacement vehicle would run, it doesn’t make sense to make the repair. Likewise, if the repair won’t last, it doesn’t make sense to make the repair.
The cost of engine replacement is divided between parts cost and labor cost. When you buy used engines, your labor cost is typically going to be lower than when you purchase a remanufactured engine because your mechanic most likely won’t have to swap as many parts from your old engine to your replacement engine. I say likely won’t on purpose, since there are times in which a used engine can involve more labor. In those cases, your savings are on the part, not on the labor.
The cost on used engines is very low when you consider that you’re installing a new heart into your vehicle, and that this new heart is the most complex and expensive part in your car.
The mechanic I spoke with understood all of these things, but he doesn’t fully understand the revolution that has taken place in automotive recycling within the last decade. You see, mileage verification is only the beginning. The entire industry is moving towards efficient dismantling procedures that include thorough testing, cleaning, and proper storage techniques. In the past, it was common for excellent engines to be crushed for metal if a buyer couldn’t be found. Now, used engines are stored properly and indexed in massive databases until a buyer can be found. This ensures good cost savings and excellent quality when consumers buy used engines. This didn’t happen when the mechanic I spoke with first got into the business. Now, when you deal with the right company, all of their used engines are handled this way.
Another reason that used engines are such a good option is that the OEM producers are making the best engines they have ever made. Properly maintained engines should get 200,000 or even 300,000 miles today, so if you buy a low mileage engine, you should get lots of life from it. The investment makes sense.
Lastly, interchange systems are better than they have ever been, meaning that you will actually get the used engines you need for your applications.
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For these reasons, if you find yourself in need of a car engine, used engines offer you your best solution.
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