With most new cars costing a small fortune — average sales prices are now above $24,000 for the typical midsize family sedan, according to AAA — keeping an older car running for as long as possible gets more and more appealing.
It’s not uncommon to get 150,000 miles out of a car these days — and the body will last almost forever, thanks to the superb corrosion protection methods adopted by most automakers.
But when the engine begins to smoke badly or just plain dies, does it make sense to replace it with a new one? Sometimes, but you should be aware that a new engine tied to old accessories and a worn transmission does not mean you’ve got a car that’s “as good as new.”
One major type of engine failure is pattern failure. For instance, if the failure scenario was not initiated by any outside action, but might indicate a potential “pattern failure” in other similarly equipped vehicles, it might be wise to pursue some type of warranty remedy. Checking with the dealership service department and also on the Internet for information of such a failure, may give you just the leverage you need to convince the manufacturer to foot the bill, even if the vehicle is a bit beyond the warranty period.
Before considering replacing your car engine you should find out the exact problem in the engine and see if the starter, transmission or other parts need replacement. If the problem is not caused by a non-engine mechanical problem, then you will need to replace the engine.
New castings of some engines are sometimes produced by independent companies. These blocks commonly replace rare or popular designs for aftermarket rebuilding, especially when the original is no longer produced. They are sometimes available in aluminum instead of original iron, or in stronger alloys. Often they imitate the larger available displacements that were produced in small numbers or allow for displacements never available.
If you can do it yourself then buy or rent the right tools and equipment for the job. You will first need to buy a factory made engine, or a remanufactured engine, that is appropriate for your car to replace the one that no longer works. If you don’t have all of the tools that you need, then you can either buy them or rent them from a local car center. One of the pieces of equipment that you will probably want to rent is an engine hoist and stand.
If you need to replace an engine, then you’ll have to carefully consider if you want to make that kind of investment. You may want to research the reliability of the year, make and model of your specific car to see if it’s likely to have any other problems that would result in costly repairs.
If your car is in good condition overall, then it may make sense to keep it since the engine repair — even though it is the most expensive repair you are likely to make — would still be cheaper than buying a new car.
Bill Halftoe is a former automotive repair pro and now a writer on many online blogs and forums. He resides in Las Vegas, Nevada and rebuilding Old Junk Cars and Transmissions is his passion. For more details visit: http://www.airwayautoparts.com
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