Is Buying a Second Hand Car Engine a Good Idea

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Engine swaps are not a rare thing in the world of automobile enthusiasm and tuning, although “casual” car users practice this method as well. You see, the engine is the heart of the car, and it also happens to be the most expensive part you can purchase. It’s also the hardest one to replace. However, it is possible to perform the entire procedure without spending way too much money, starting with the fact you’ll purchase a second-hand car engine instead of a brand-new one.

In today’s article, we’ll talk about purchasing second-hand car engines and whether it’s a good idea or not. We’ll compare a few things as well as hand out a bit of free advice, so if you are eager to learn more, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s what you need to know.

Why engine swap in the first place?

No matter how much good care you take of your engine, they can’t go on forever. Although you can make it seem like forever, like the person who got rewarded by Toyota for driving his car one million kilometers and the engine was still in pristine shape, eventually things will stop working.

Engine swaps happen for a lot of reasons. Sometimes people simply want an upgrade, which is not the most common cause because usually this happens only in-car fanatic circles and cause not a “casual” thing to do. Second, people swap their engines because the previous one died but they love the rest of their car so much they don’t want to get rid of it, therefore an engine swap procedure seems nice. No matter why you decided to do it, we think that a second-hand car engine is a really good idea, and here’s why.

They are a lot cheaper to purchase compared to brand-new ones

And, not only they’re cheaper, you can find one in pristine shape that’s going to be 50% less expensive than a brand-new one. Of course, not everybody takes perfect care of their car when it comes to maintenance, but if you know someone who you trust in their car-maintaining capabilities, you can purchase from them. It’s quite rare for someone to sell you their engine just like that, because that makes their car unusable and a lot more difficult to sell later on. But, it does happen.

If you can’t find an individual looking to sell a second-hand car engine for your vehicle, you can always use the help of the internet. Don’t know where to start or you don’t have the time to do your own research? is a website where you can learn more.

You can’t always find a brand-new engine for an older car

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If it’s an old-timer or simply a rare car that is no longer in production, finding a brand-new engine for it is pretty much impossible unless you are willing to pay quite a lot of money for a custom-built engine just for you. Obviously, this is a very rare scenario but it does happen so we have to mention it. Some people enjoy “restoring” their older cars as a hobby, while others make a living out of it. Sometimes people purchase an entire car in a functional shape of the exact same model as theirs, then take out the engine and swap it with the one they currently have. This procedure is not easy and it will require one or even more experienced mechanics, do not attempt it on your own unless you are a professional. Also, engine swaps cost money. Quite a lot of money in fact.

Is it a good idea for every scenario?

This is the question you all want to be answered, but here’s the thing, the answer for it is very specific and it really depends on your current situation. Sometimes finding an engine for a very rare car is simply not worth it. It’s going to cost you more than what you paid for your entire car back in the day when you purchased it.

For “casual” and common cars whatsoever, it is worth purchasing a second-hand engine in case your first one fails. But, and there’s a really important but, only if the rest of your car is in really good shape so you want to keep driving it and therefore you’re looking to replace the engine. If the rest of the car is in bad shape, it’s probably not worth it.

What are the risks?

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Well, just like anything else that you purchase, a second-hand engine is a risky purchase. Why? Because it’s not under any warranty and if something ends up happening to it you won’t get any refunds. Other reasons are the sellers often hiding things about the engine that affect its performance and quality, but they won’t tell you anything on that subject. Some parts in it may or may not be original.

The best way to avoid these risks? Find a reliable second-hand engine seller with a lot of experience and a good reputation. It’s not easy to do so but it is possible if you dedicate some time and effort to it.

How much should I pay for it?

Honestly, you don’t have many choices if it’s a rare or old car, but just for the record, we’ll say that about fifty or sixty percent less than a brand-new engine is a good price for a second-hand one. However, if the seller notices you’re desperate they will probably bump up the price, especially if the engine they’re selling is of good quality.


Sometimes doing an engine swap can really save a car you love, however, it’s not quite easy to get your hands on an engine that’s in pristine shape. You need to do some research on the internet and if you are lucky enough you’ll find a reliable seller. There are some risks accompanied by this but we made sure to explain everything in this article. Best of luck with your purchase and as always, thank you for taking the time to read our guide. Stay safe.