At U Wrench It, we love helping savvy car owners save money and keep their rides on the road with affordable used auto parts. DIY car repair is a great way to save money, but it’s important to know what you’re looking for when sourcing used car parts. That’s especially true when it comes to a part of your vehicle that is more complicated—and essential—than some of the other areas you might try to repair. If you’re planning to replace a car engine, check out our checklist to see what you need to know when buying a used engine.
Used Engine Checklist
- Avoid buying unassembled engine parts unless you’re only trying to replace one part. If your goal is a whole new engine, hold out for one that is still intact. Look for these things:
- Intact engine harness
- Complete set of sensors
- Intact charge pipes, fuel rail, and injectors
- Check that all of the main engine components are present:
- Power steering pump
- AC compressor
- One thing that should not deter you from buying a used engine is noticing cracked or worn rubber components. No, that doesn’t mean you should ignore them; just plan to go ahead and replace all of the rubber parts so you can start life with this engine on a clean slate.
- Check the spark plugs. If you notice melted or missing electrodes, the engine is a no-go. Same for missing, damaged, or discolored (dark and sooty) insulators.
- Check the oil quality to see if the engine has been properly maintained. If you test the oil and the dipstick comes out black or dark brown, the engine is past due for an oil change. If you notice white or cream streaks in the oil or under the oil cap, run away. The white you’re seeing is probably coolant that has escaped from a leaky head gasket and mingled with the oil.
- Invest in an inspection camera. This is one of those tools that you won’t use that often, but it can potentially save you many times the cost of the tool itself if it saves you from buying a faulty engine! You can usually buy a boroscope from your local value hardware store for under $100. This genius little tool allows you to see the inside of engine components without dismantling an engine, allowing you to do your due diligence before sinking a load of money into a lemon.
It’s crucial to get the engine right when fixing your car, so check out some more tips for buying a used engine here. Got questions about our used auto parts or what to expect at our auto salvage yard? We’d love to hear from you, so give us a call at 770-448-6485.