Finding out that you need an engine repair is always bad news and involves making major decisions. An engine that needs to be repaired or replaced is probably the costliest maintenance problem a car owner can face, so it’s important to consider your options. The following information will help you decide which solution is best for you – an engine repair or replacement.

Engine Repair – Why is it necessary? 

The most common sign that you need an engine repair is if you start hearing a loud knocking sound coming from it, caused lack of oil and gap between the piston pin and piston. Engine knocking sounds can also be caused by worn pistons or piston pins, main bearings, rod bearings and cam bearings. Occasionally, some engine knocking issues can be serviced while the engine is still in the vehicle, however, the engine needs to be partially disassembled to find out if this is the case. 

Unusual smells, including those that seep through into the passenger compartment, are another sign that you may need an engine repair. This could be caused by dangerous gases like carbon monoxide in the exhaust. If your vehicle is responding strangely while driving, there’s likely a problem with the engine. Whether it’s because of fouled spark plugs, clogged fuel lines, or other problems, and there are several possibilities, ignoring these signs can be a costly mistake.

Which is Better: A repair or rebuild?

If it’s a simple repair, like loose or worn belts, a brake repair would be the way to go. Having the engine rebuilt can save you money in comparison to engine replacement. That said, this depends on the engine problem and the cost of the parts required to fix it. The number of work hours involved in the brake repair will also need to be factored in. If the engine isn’t worth rebuilding, replacing it would be the best option. Replacing the engine will lengthen the life of your vehicle. 

What is the cheapest way to repair an engine?

There are no cheap engine repairs which is why it’s so important to keep your car maintenance up to date and to not ignore potential problems. If you need to replace the engine in an old car, engine prices will vary due to the options currently offered and the demand for that engine. The two types of engine replacement options available to you are re-built engines and salvaged engines. The best re-built engines are “re-built” by skilled technicians with new engine bearings, piston rings, seals, and gaskets. This is not a job for “backyard” mechanics.

What are other engine repair options?

The most expensive engine repair involves replacing head gaskets, and it’s a common problem. Other frequent engine repairs include powertrain and transmission repairs. Before you choose someone to repair or replace your engine, check out the reputation of the shop and call around for estimates. You should choose an engine repair shop that you feel confident in.

How do I decide which way to go? 

If the vehicle is falling apart at the seams, over 20 years old and has over 200,000 miles on it, it doesn’t make sense to have the engine repaired (unless it’s a collector’s car). You’d be better off buying another vehicle that’s in better shape and with lower miles. Keep in mind however that there’s always some uncertainty when buying a used car, even if you have it inspected. On the other hand, If the car is 5 to 10 years old, has fairly low miles and in good shape, it’s worth fixing. The best advice we can give you is to have a full vehicle inspection performed before having the engine repaired. At that point, you can consider the projected cost of the engine repair or replacement with all the facts in mind. If you decide to buy a new car, be sure to factor in full coverage insurance and financing costs.

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