Should I buy a car with a rebuilt engine?

How is a Rebuilt engine better than a used engine?

Buying a car is one of the toughest decisions in one’s life because it not only costs money but also costs a lot of time and effort to search for a vehicle. This hunt of a car involves a lot of factors to be considered e.g. condition of the car features it will offer, the color of your choice, and definitely the engine size.

Apart from all other features, the engine size of a vehicle determines the future costs to be incurred on daily, monthly or yearly bases e.g. the fuel economy, MOT and repair bills and definitely the tax band which will be paid every year.

Although these are the factors that help the buyer to find his choice of vehicle and they decide on the price of the vehicle. But there is still an important factor involved in the buying process and it is the health and condition of the engine compartment which is the most major part of the vehicle.

What is a Rebuilt Engine?

A buyer has come across many vehicles for example and finally found one of his choices but the seller says that the engine of the car is a rebuilt unit. What does this mean? Yes indeed, it is a unit which is not in its factory settings.

It is an engine which has completed most of its life and comes to an end of not giving an ultimate performance and then it was taken apart to reinstate its performance. All the worn parts were replaced with the new parts and components.

At this stage, the buyer must bear in mind that only worn parts were replaced with the new parts and rest of the parts are still old. There was no machining work done on the engine at all.

Why a car needs an engine Rebuild?

As it is stated earlier that a car needs an engine to be rebuild when its engine doesn’t produce adequate power to operate at least up to the standard. But the question is how to identify if an engine requires a rebuild.

Engine rebuild is a common repair process that is necessary for a car engine to perform well. There are a number of signs that determine the need for a rebuild but the most common sign are listed below;

  1. If an engine starts knocking with the passage of time it determines that the engine needs a rebuild. Knocking is an awkward sound coming from the engine during the combustion process.
  2. Excessive smoke from the tailpipe is also one of the major signs of a bad engine. But in this condition only thick and dark smoke and pure white and smelly smoke tells that it is the time of an engine rebuilt.
  3. If an engine starts consuming engine oil e.g. a pint after every thousand miles, the engine needs a rebuild.
  4. Misfiring according to the experts also a sign of bad engine but in this case, ignition system e.g. sparks plugs, ignition coils and spark plug wires might be the culprits.
  5. Oil sludge on the oil pin determines the bad health of the engine. If oil pin has a sludge layer on it, the engine needs a rebuild.
  6. Fuel economy is also a major factor that can clearly show the engine health. If the vehicle drinking too much fuel which is not usual, it determines that the engine is in bad condition now and needs a rebuild.

What an engine rebuilding process include?

Engine rebuilding process is a comprehensive maintenance process that includes full engine maintenance. It is an expensive and complete repair package an engine receives but still depends on the rebuilders that how they assess the health of an engine.

The job starts from the splitting the engine components apart and assessing the overall health of the parts e.g. if they require a replacement or not. The replacement process starts from rings and the valves job to reinstate the engine compression in one or more engine chambers. This job was done on the engine block and cylinder head. Sometimes, cylinder honing and piston rod bearing replacement include in the rebuilt process.

The philosophy of an engine rebuild is very simple, it includes repair or replaces whatever needed to be. If something is still able to give some more performance, it leaves the engine as it is, means good parts are not replaced in the engine.

The buyer will pay for what he gets, so if the engine is good, the price will be higher than others, if the engine is weak, the price will be lower. Generally, rebuild process includes engine cleaning, parts assessment, replacement of bad parts and components, to make sure the best performance of the engine.

Where was it rebuilt?

This is one of the most crucial questions to ask before you buy a car with a rebuilt engine that which company or garage has performed the rebuilt job on the engine? According to the Chief Operating Officer of NADA Guides – a publication that works on used car prices – says that a rebuilt engine is as good to buy as an OEM unit in a used car. A rebuilt engine sometimes can maintain the performance like of a new engine.

If the car has a rebuilt engine it is good to know that where it was rebuilt and where the service was performed e.g. at any dealership or any garage. By doing this, it will be easy to determine that if the garage or the dealership is trusted to do such kind of jobs and has no complaints in the past. The risk factor increases if the buyer goes to the local mechanic shop after buying a car because local mechanics will reassess the engine for every smaller fault.

A used car with a salvage title could have all the history as a salvage part and many other underlying issues like accidental history and or flood damage etc. however, on the other hand, a rebuilt engine has only one issue which is its self ‘the engine’.

What to do then if it is a rebuilt engine?

Every car that goes for reselling as a used car must be passed through a pre-buying assessment and pre-purchase inspection by a mechanic to see if its engine is in good health.

It is all about the experience and an expert who has no interest in the car buying or selling transaction should work on the car from bumper to bumper to see if it has any problems. The expert mechanic will definitely find if the car has any obvious issues or even if there is a chance of arising any issues in the next couple of thousand miles.

Correcting the Defects

It needs to be kept in mind that a rebuilt engine doesn’t void the original manufacturer’s warranty at all which determines that a rebuilt is necessarily not an abusive use of an engine but a corrective action to remove the defects.

An engine rebuilt can be needed any time before 20,000 miles warranty period of a vehicle and any service took place under the warranty by the automaker doesn’t void the warranty of the engine.

It is also noticed that majority of the engine rebuilds under 120k miles performed to optimize engine’s fuel economy and oil consumption. With the time, piston rings and valves wear out engine starts eating oil with a thick and dark smoke on the tailpipes.

This situation not only reduces the fuel economy of the engine by more than 40 percent but also damages the cylinder head and valves. It also damages the DPF filters and catalytic converters of the engine and ultimately damages the environment by disturbing the carbon emissions.

The NADA expert says that it is a concerning thing that a vehicle has traveled more than 120k miles in its life without a rebuilt and offered for sale, but it is the more satisfying thing that the rebuilt engine is more reliable as it has returned to its new life yet another time.

This engine is ready to go for another 120k miles without any trouble. He says that he is still unable to understand that why people think that the rebuilt engine is not a good option.

Buyers must not be concerned or ultimately less concerned about the rebuilt engines as the majority of new components including rings will definitely improve the performance of the engine rather than damaging it.

New parts will also prevent the problems and eliminate the oil consumption in the engine. Because the engine has almost all combustion system based on new parts, It will ultimately decrease the carbon emissions and improve the overall fuel economy at the same time.

Now the choice is of the buyer if he goes for a rebuilt engine which is more trusted or a used unit which is not, and the buyer doesn’t know how old or worn the used engine is. Apart from all above, buyer needs to be sure to get a pre-purchase inspection to see why an engine rebuilt was done on the engine?

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