When you think about replacing your car engine, you might first imagine upgrading to a high-horsepower engine with a supercharger and other performance features. The truth is, buying a used engine may be a wise choice for the everyday driver in certain situations.

Accidents and auto problems that lead to a blown engine are often cheaper to repair with an engine replacement, rather than buy a new vehicle. This guide will cover three tips every driver should know about buying used car engines.

Tip 1: Always Check the Mileage on Used Engines

The number of miles on a used engine has a clear correlation with the age of the engine. J.D. Power notes that the average person drives between 10,000 and 20,000 miles each year. With this knowledge, you can get a rough estimate of the age of an engine based on its total mileage.

While total mileage is important, it doesn't tell you everything about a used car engine. Engines that have been well-maintained with oil changes at regular intervals may run well with higher mileage than you would expect. Use the tips below to secure a history report or get a professional inspection for a more complete picture of the engine's health.

Tip 2: Get an Independent Mechanic's Inspection

Getting professional advice from a neutral third party is invaluable when you're buying a used engine. Many buyers aren't aware that independent mechanics may offer pre-purchase inspections for used cars and engines.

Your mechanic will inspect the used engine for signs of wear that wouldn't be evident to the regular person. This often includes:

  • Checking pulleys, gears, and belts

  • Tightening bolts and fasteners

  • Inspecting valve covers and gaskets

  • Identifying hidden leaks

  • Testing the crankshaft for piston recoil

Tip 3: Buy from a Certified Engine Supplier

Buying a used car engine from a private seller can sometimes be a great deal. However, you don't have any real guarantees about the engine's history with this type of purchase.

A certified engine supplier buys used engines directly from the manufacturer. These sellers often provide history reports and maintenance records for their engines. Many suppliers also offer warranties on their used car engines so you can purchase with confidence.

Whether you're looking to upgrade your vehicle or you need a replacement for a blown engine, buying a used engine could be the right move. Use these tips to make finding a used engine much easier.

When in doubt, you can get a professional opinion from mechanics at an auto repair shop (for instance, Teddy Bear’s Auto Parts & Salvage Inc.).