Maybe you got into the shop to find that your engine has kicked it. With the price estimate, you may be wondering if you’d be better off just getting a totally new car. But is getting a new engine kind of like getting a new car?
Getting a new engine is not like getting a new car unless the only issue within your car is the engine itself. A new engine will fix any engine issues but will not fix the underlying causes. But if you have a perfect car except for the engine, then it would make your car as good as “new.”
This question can be objective, engine enthusiasts and old car lovers may argue that a new engine essentially makes a car brand new. However, a mechanic might tell you that a new engine is the least of your worries if there’s quite a bit going on under the hood. Below, we’ll break down what this means.
Replacing the Engine vs. Buying a New Car
As you may be unlucky to find out, a new engine costs a ton of money. In a market that can be so hot and cold, a new car can cost a ton of money, too. So is getting a new engine the better deal because it makes your car like new?
A new engine isn’t the same as a new car, but it can help your car run like it did when it was new. New cars are nearly flawless in all of their parts, including the brakes, interior, etcetera. Having a new engine might help your car run like new, but it’s not the same as getting a new car.
Think about it this way. If you found an okay house on the market that needed a dozen new appliances and a new heating system, a new heating system wouldn’t make the house brand new.
A car, albeit running better because of a new engine, still has a dozen other parts that may need updating. A car is more than its engine and consists of many moving parts. You at least need to consider the brakes, belts, battery, and interior not to mention the transmission, suspension, and steering.
Now, if you happen to have a car that’s in perfect condition, with all of its parts replaced, and add an engine — yes, it could sort of be like new. But you’ll still have to consider the mileage of the vehicle. On average, an engine needs to be replaced every eight years. Mileage also doesn’t necessarily go down to zero when you get a brand new car.
If you’ve been faced with the choice of getting a new engine or a new car, you may be uninterested in the literal term “like new.” Below, we catalog some of the pros and cons of getting a new engine versus getting a new car.
Reduce, reuse, recycle, right?
When you buy a new car and toss the old unusable one, you’re just creating more junk. Getting a new engine and putting it in your new car keeps one car on the road rather than in a junkyard.
Around 27 million cars reach the end of their life each year, and most end up in scrap yards, where they’re stripped of their parts. They are then, essentially, reused. Almost 80 percent of the components in an end-of-life vehicle can be reused/recycled, and over 25 million tons of recycled materials is recovered from these cars every year.
You’ll also have to consider how green your current car is to see if tossing it would be better for the environment in the long run. If your vehicle is heavy on emissions, takes only a few miles to the gallon, or isn’t eco-friendly, you might be better off just getting rid of it.
It’s hard to debate what gives the car its most functionality. There are so many working parts to your car beside the engine. If the engine was the problem in your car, there might have still been an underlying issue that a new engine won’t fix.
Sure, if your engine completely stopped working, a complete replacement will fix it. But if the cause of the engine failure was something else in your car, your new engine itself is just a ticking time bomb.
You must find out exactly what caused your engine problem and replace whatever else is dysfunctioning under the hood. Otherwise, you can’t expect the new engine to last as long as the previous one.
Even if you fix the underlying cause of the engine problems, you’ll still have to fix other things as they pop up. Preventative maintenance is critical and can save you tons of money down the road. Look in your handbook to figure out when your car needs new brakes, tires, belts, etc.
The new engine, as a whole, should be less expensive than a new car. But it’ll also protect you from those additional fees we rarely think about when buying a vehicle. You have to consider the licensing, registration fees, and taxes to obtain a new vehicle. Additionally, insurance costs usually go up when you buy a new car.
That being said, replacing a car engine can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000. It’ll still be pricey, but less pricey than a new car total. If you’re thinking about the amount of money in your pocket and not in the long term, you may want to weigh out the cost of a down payment and a new monthly payment, in addition to the fees we discussed above.
Thinking about your car’s current value is also essential because it might be a low-reward situation to put a $7,000 engine in a $3,000 car that can break down in other ways down the road.
Maybe you’ve been taking more and more car matters into your own hands. Learning to change your oil and replace your wipers are great money-savers. You can try to DIY an engine replacement, as this video describes:
Engines weigh a ton, and lifting them out of your vehicle may get risky if you haven’t done it before. Additionally, if you’ve never replaced an engine, you risk damaging other parts and running up your bill. But you should probably look into getting it done by a professional. In the end, you’ll likely pay more for a DIY than if you’d gone to a professional to get it done.
The answer will be individualized to your financial situation and your car when it comes down to it.
You should replace your engine if you have a reasonably new vehicle that you’re sure will run well down the line with just this fix. However, if your car is in bad condition, you can think about buying a new car. And if you’re down and out for cash, consider having the engine repair instead.
Again, this will come down to your situation and the kind of car you drive. Somebody driving a brand new car that had some bad luck with the engine and is low on funds is wildly different from someone driving a forty-year-old car that’s about to kick the bucket with thousands in savings. There is a lot to consider.
This clip can help you walk through a decision making process for an individual and an expert:
If you watched the clip, you’d notice that they discussed what the car was worth, the debt situation of the family, the issues with the current engine, and how much the family had in savings.
You also need to consider the vehicle’s age as well as the cost of your new engine. If you have an in with a mechanic and only pay for costs rather than labor, you might find a better deal with the new engine.
Another thing worth mentioning, especially now, is the market prices of the car. Car prices went up 40% during the pandemic, and the prices are only just starting to come down. Whether you’re looking for a new car or a used car, the pandemic caused a considerable increase in cost, with prices only rising in 2022.
Getting a new engine isn’t necessarily like getting a new car, though you may consider the engine the sole reason your car is running. Getting a new engine will help your car run better, primarily if the old engine is shot, but it won’t fix anything else about your car. Weigh your options carefully when choosing between a new engine and a new car altogether.
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