Should you consider an engine rebuild?

An engine rebuild might be the way to go!

Let’s face it, buying a new car these days can cost a pretty penny. In this economic downturn, you might not be able to get the finances together to put down money on a used, let alone, new car. If your car needs a new engine and you just can’t afford to buy a new vehicle, have you ever considered rebuilding its engine?

When a car suffers major engine damage usually the first thought that comes to mind is to get rid of the vehicle which oftentimes may not be the best economical route to go, according to Ken Carter, chairman of the Engine Rebuilders Council (ERC) and a 40-year automotive industry veteran, with 30 years dedicated to aftermarket engine parts. Carter sat down with this ‘Car Chick’ to discuss the ins, outs, dollars and cents of engine rebuilding.

1) Why should people invest in rebuilding their vehicle’s engine’s as opposed to just getting rid of their car?

Rebuilding an engine is an economical option when the engine’s performance is the motivation in seeking a new or used car. Since the rebuilding process basically makes the engine “new” again, you can basically double the mileage you get from the car that you already own. Rebuilding an engine brings the cost per mile driven down drastically. The actual cost per mile benefit has too many individual differences to pin down. Purchase price and miles driven are the key cost variances.

Since today’s cars rarely rust out, their suspensions last longer and there are fewer dramatic model design changes (which are other common reasons to get rid of a car), it makes sense to extend the return on your vehicle investment through rebuilding your engine.

Buying a new or “newer” car usually comes with a pretty high price tag. Even most lease programs have hefty down payments of at least $2,000 to $4,000. So when you can actually rebuild your engine for the same amount as a down payment, well, in a tight money economy, people are wise to look at, or consider this option.

2) Exactly what is involved in rebuilding an engine?

Basically, all the wear parts in an engine are either replaced or resurfaced to a “new engine” condition. Typically, the cylinders are bored out; new pistons, piston rings, bearings, camshafts, lifters (tappets), gaskets, oil pumps, timing gears and chains, crankshafts are reconditioned, and cylinder heads are reconditioned. After all of this is done the engine performance is as good as (or better) than out of the showroom. You have restored it’s efficiency.

3) How long is the engine rebuilding process?

Although this varies, it could take as little as a couple of days when another rebuilt engine is dropped into the vehicle. Most likely it will take about one week.

4) What exactly are the benefits of having an engine rebuilt?

In addition to the reasons stated in the answer to the first question, many times an older vehicle that is not your primary transportation but is an old favorite (like your first car) can be salvaged from a life in storage and can be made to run like new again for many more nostalgic rides. Plus, if you want to make your car a “Hot Rod” or just want to give it a little more muscle, a performance rebuild will give you just that power. Think about this, if you bought a used car, you do not know what that engine’s performance or life will be, so why not drive your own used (rebuilt) car?

5) After an engine has been repowered or rebuilt does the performance improve? (Is this a valid question?)

Very valid question…the short answer is “YES!” The longer answer is “Absolutely!” Rebuilding restores the engine compression which means more power basically. It will also improve it’s efficiency so it gets back it’s fuel economy. Go the performance rebuilding route and you can go racing which is something your showroom car couldn’t possibly do. Another plus, rebuilt engines also emit fewer pollutants.

6) Are there some types of vehicles where engine rebuilding would not be a wise investment?

If the cost of the rebuild would exceed the total value of the car, that would not be a wise investment. Unless there is some sentimental value to justify the extra money. For example, you did not see many Yugo’s rebuilt.

7) SUV’s vs. cars does the engine rebuilding costs run about the same?

The cost of rebuilding an engine depends on the number of cylinders since the number of parts and machining operations increase. Therefore an 8 cylinder engine would cost more than a 6 or 4 cylinder. Rebuilding diesel engines cost more than gasoline engines since the parts are much more robust and costly. Of course the service life of a diesel is much longer too, up to twice the miles.

8) How expensive can engine rebuilding be?

Most of the non-performance gasoline engine rebuilds will fit into a range of between $1800 to $4500 depending on the number of cylinders etc.

9) Are engine repowering and rebuilding interchangeable terms, or are they one in the same?

Some of those in the business may want to play with the semantics between those two words but for all intent and purpose they are synonymous.

Word to the wise regarding engine rebuilding check out your warranty. According to the ERC, an engine warranty is a guarantee given to the purchaser by a company stating that the remanufactured/rebuilt engine is reliable and free from known defects and that the seller and/or manufacturer will repair or replace defective engine parts within a given time limit and under certain conditions. Consumers should read their warranties carefully, especially the fine print, so that they fully understand what is covered and for how long.


Winter Tires: What They Are and Who Needs Them – CarsDirect

Skiing enthusiasts and lovers of winter weather understand the importance of winter tires and when to prepare their vehicle for changing road conditions. Frozen roads, snow, and ice make driving conditions dangerous and regular all-season tires are usually not able to handle the hazards. As winter weather approaches, make sure your vehicle won’t leave you stranded or waiting for an accident.

Difference between Winter Tires and Summer Tires

Winter tires add an extra layer of security when driving in snow and ice. The tread on winter tires is designed to gain traction, reduce snow build up during severe weather conditions, and offer more stability. Most winter tires are made of tread rubber that will stay flexible even at low temperatures which offers the driver more control. Drivers can feel more confident when traveling on snowy icy roads with a good set of snow tires on their car.

Summer or All-Season tires are made for speed and agility. The tread on these tires allows for more precision on dry roads at moderate temperatures. With fewer grooves and more rubber hitting the road, summer tires can grip the highway and offer more flexibility. The width and rim diameter of the summer tire adds increased capabilities when driving in wet conditions and the tread helps to funnel water to resist hydroplaning.

Who Needs Winter Tires?

Not everyone needs winter tires. People who live in Southern states and rarely see snow should use either summer or all-season tires on their cars. People who live in the Northern states or the mountains will need to switch tires before the threat of severe winter weather. Although switching between winter and summer tires may seem like a hassle and entail extra expense, drivers need to understand their tires will last twice as long. Using the appropriate tires for weather conditions will enhance the other safety features of your car. Knowing you have the best tires on your vehicle will give everyone in the family peace of mind.

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On Average, How Much Does it Cost To Repair Auto Brake Lines? – CarsDirect

The repair of the brake lines of your car is very important, and should not be taken for granted. Depending on the make and model of your car, repair and replacement of auto brake lines will range from $70-$150. The higher end cars have naturally more expensive brake lines. If you are taking your car to the shop to have it repaired, mechanics will charge you an extra $100 or two depending also on the reputation of the shop. It is recommended that if you are not familiar with the repair of brake lines, it is best left to a professional, so you don’t compromise your safety.

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How Much Does it Cost to Replace the Emergency Brake Cable? – CarsDirect

You actually don’t need professional help to replace the emergency brake cable. The cable itself usually costs $10–$20, depending on the make of your car. This is the only cost that you will incur assuming that all other components of your brake system are in good condition. However, if you get professional help, try to find the most competent yet competitively priced auto shop. The dealerships usually charge $200–$300 dollars in labor costs just to have that cable changed. You more or less spend $350 total if you take this route. Emergency brake cable replacement does not need to be expensive and you just have to know the right places to have it done and the right shops to get your parts from.

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Are there Places Where I can Rent an Engine Hoist? – CarsDirect

Yes, there are a number of places you can rent an engine hoist. Check your local Yellow Pages or do an Internet search for equipment rental stores. The majority of them will have a hoist for rent. Even big box stores such as Home Depot and Lowes often rent engine hoists. Renting a hoist makes sense if you only need one for a few days or have limited space to store one. A hoist can be purchased for under $200, so if you do a lot of engine work and have the room for one, it often makes sense to purchase one.

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How Does the Jiffy Lube Transmission Flush Cost Compare to Other Chains? – CarsDirect

Jiffy Lube’s $100 automatic transmission flush, done by entry-level people, is incomplete. They will not change the automatic transmission filter, a key part of the flush, but which also violates the corporate 15-minute service rule. Where a Valvoline Service Center will routinely change the filter, having a brand name to protect. Jiffy’s employees forget this key device, resulting in a mashed up filter, transmission starvation and failure, as all transmission fluid is blocked. Valvoline Service Centers, while using the same equipment, employ NIASE-certified technicians who know their business and routinely replace the filter. Goodyear and Firestone service centers also employ trained technicians who do the same. Valvoline, Goodyear and Firestone flushes tend to cost about $150 to $200.

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What Type of Synthetic Oil is Recommended for Vehicles over 100,000 Miles? – CarsDirect

For vehicles over 100,000 miles, the recommended synthetic oil you should use a full synthetic, as opposed to a semi-synthetic oil. The brand and viscosity of oil doesn’t matter as much as the type of synthetic you are putting into your vehicle. Full synthetics will lube the engine better and are designed for longer life and reduced vehicles emissions. In addition, a full synthetic will provide better fuel economy and overall performance. However, it should be noted that synthetic oils are typically thinner. Should your vehicle possess a leak, it is likely a synthetic oil will leak slightly more than a traditional oil.

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What Does it Mean if You Have Low Oil Pressure at Idle? – CarsDirect

Low oil pressure at idle only, will most often mean that the engine is low on oil. As more power is applied to the engine via acceleration, the pressure builds up inside the engine. Thereby causing the pressure to read as “normal”. High oil temperature can cause low oil pressure. A defective oil pump can also lead to low oil pressure at idle. Oil sending switches are subject to wearing out. When that happens, one possible result is that it will show low oil pressure. If your car has a light rather than a gauge, don’t rely on it, because the light can fail.

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What Does it Mean When your Engine is Misfiring? – CarsDirect

The engine misfiring means that a car’s engine skips over one of the processes of its combustion cycle. This generally causes the engine to run rough, jerk, or buck. It also causes the engine to run inefficiently. There are several types of engine misfires. Some of the common occurrences include lean misfires, ignition misfires, and mechanical misfires. Lean misfire refers to an engine misfiring because the air-fuel ratio is not properly balanced. Ignition misfires occur when either the spark plug, wire, distributor, or ignition coil fail, causing an engine misfire on the specific cylinder.

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