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Used, Rebuilt and Remanufactured Engines: What's the Difference?

Educational  ·  November 27, 2019

Used, Rebuilt and Remanufactured Engines: What's the Difference?

The automobile engine is undoubtedly one of the hallmark inventions in the field of transportation. It has also come in astounding variety to suit every make and model since earliest automobile built to the modern cars that we have today.

Remarkable as these energy-converting machines are, their efficiency and life span remains to be their most impressive feature. New engines are known to serve for quite a lifespan, often longer than the cars from which they come. For this reason, they find use long after the car has stopped running.

However, just like any other machines, engines too, are flawed. They are subject to wear and damage after years of use. Automotive engineers extend the life of these machines by repairing, retuning, and replacing faulty or damaged components.

If you are looking for an engine, you will find plenty of options in the market. Aside from new engines, they can also be had as used, rebuilt, and remanufactured. These terms can be confusing, so we explain each in detail.

Used Engines

Just as the name suggests, used engines are those that have served another car. Most of them are usually pulled out from wreckages or yard-bound vehicles. The mileage on these engines could be high or low depending on how long they were run previously.

As they have served part of their life in a different car, they are a cheap option for most car owners. Used engines typically have a warranty that rarely exceeds a month. Although they cost you less, sometimes they aren't a good option. If you acquire a used engine and something goes wrong after the warranty period, you will be back to the initial fix.

On the other hand, if the engine didn’t have a lot of miles on it, chances are it will still be good as new. If you are lucky to find one, it is a good and cheap replacement option. Make sure to test whether it is still operational. You can also negotiate with the dealer or seller on the minimum lifespan when buying one.

The Upside and Downside of Used Engines

Used engines are cheaper compared to remanufactured or rebuilt ones.

Although mechanics and automotive parts dealer test the used engines, there is no assurance that they will meet the performance expectations. Furthermore, the internal components aren’t often inspected or even disassembled. Thus, you won't be able to tell how long the engine will serve.

Premature failure after the agreed ‘warranty period’ with the owner will have you looking for another engine again or repairing it, either of which is not good.

If some damages were overlooked during the inspection phase before you purchased it, you might end up spending more on its repair, which may turn out to be costlier than getting a remanufactured engine.

Rebuilt Engines

Rebuilt engines are those obtained from a car that is no longer in use and then had some repair done on it. Rebuilding involves cleaning the engine, replacing the damaged or broken components and then putting it back together.

The components of the engine that are in good condition and operational are left intact, which means that repair was only done up to the level of failure. The engine is then inspected and tested before being made available in the market.

With rebuilt engines, quality can vary. Some rebuilt engines can last for a long while accumulating even hundreds of thousands of miles. Most of them come with a short term warranty.

The Upside and Downside of Rebuilt Engines

It is a cheaper and viable option if you can’t get your hands on a remanufactured engine.

Like used engines, there is no guarantee on the quality of the engine as it depends on the rebuilder’s skills and expertise.

Remanufactured Engines

Remanufactured engines are repaired to the exact original blueprints and specifications. These engines have gone through a process to bring them up to the standards of their new and unused equivalent. The process involves replacing components prone to wear with new parts, inspecting every part and system, and comparing with the original equipment to ensure that everything matches.

Remanufacturers test the engine to the OEM standard, ensuring that minute details, such as tolerance, match. Due to this tedious procedure and the extent of work required, remanufactured engines are the most costly of the three options.

Externally, the engine may remain as it is. On the other hand, the internal parts and systems require thorough work and restoration, including replacement of wear parts (such as gaskets and seals) and machining of some components (such as the crankshaft and camshaft) to ensure efficiency.

The end product of remanufacturing is a smooth running engine, typically covered by an extended warranty. Remanufactured engines are more likely to last longer than used and rebuilt ones.

The Upside and Downside of Remanufactured Engines

As mentioned earlier, remanufactured engines are costly.

They come with a guarantee that they will perform efficiently and as expected from an engine of the same type.

Remanufactured engines have a more extended warranty.

Which type of engine is ideal for you? 

To determine the engine that is right for you, you have to consider factors such as your budget and the urgency to replace it. Remanufactured engines take a lot of time to be ready. They will be more expensive than the other two but will come with an assurance to perform longer and better.

How do you intend to use it? Will you use it as a backup or a full-time engine, short term or long term? Answering these questions will also help clarify your real need and find the engine that will work best for your situation.

If you’re looking for non-new engine for your vehicle, make sure to browse our website for sellers of used, rebuilt, or remanufactured engines. The answer to your problem could just be a click away. If you’re a seller of these items, then there’s no better way to go but – check us out and list your products today!

-Sam O.

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