Engine Replacement Labor Time & Cost: What To Know

in Ownership
Car engine

Photo by Chad Kirchoff on Unsplash

Engine failure is never a good sign. Not only does it mess with your busy schedule, but it’s also expensive. Several factors can lead to engine failure, which you need to take care of quickly. Below, we’ll look at what those things are and give you an idea of how much replacement will cost. 

The Function of Your Engine 

Your engine is the heart of your vehicle and the reason why it turns on and starts to move when you turn the key and press the gas. Your engine is responsible for a chemical equation across the board to keep your car moving from mechanical work to torque. More specifically, your engine is what takes energy in the form of heat and converts it into mechanical work that will then move your car. 

The engine is the first part of a long set of steps that gets and keeps your car moving, including the pistons, rods, and wheels. All of your engine’s power makes your car work, so your engine is an important piece. When it starts to fail, you’ll need to replace or fix it fast to prevent other damages from happening as a result.


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Engine Replacement Labor Cost

There is not one single number that you can expect when looking for the cost of engine replacement. That’s because it depends on several factors. First of all, it depends on the type of car you have and how complex the engine is. Secondly, it depends on where you live and what the costs are. Lastly, it depends on what caused your engine failure and if other things need repair. 

The more severe the case is, and the more complicated your engine is, the more you expect to pay. To get you thinking about the amount you can expect, think about the average cost of a 4-cylinder engine replacement, which falls around $4,000. An 8-cylinder has an average cost of $7,000, as prices increase with the engine size and construction too. 

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Engine Replacement Labor Time 

You probably already know that the cost of repairs always goes up when dealing with labor. Labor is the most expensive part of repairing your car, especially when you have engine-related issues. Replacement of an engine can take anywhere from 10 to 12 chargeable hours. If you take the standard quote of $150 per hour, you could be looking at $1,800 when all is said and done.


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Other Costs You Should Prepare For 

Replacing your engine means a massive bill, and unfortunately, it could come with more costs. Your new engine will need things like oil and other fluids to run properly, something that you’ll have to pay for out of pocket in most cases. Furthermore, depending on the damage you had to your car, you may need to buy hoses and pumps. 

All of these come with additional costs that will be added to your final cost and labor if required. 

Reason You May Need to Replace Your Engine 

Engine replacement might not come around often, but it’s for a very good reason when it does. Replacing your engine quickly could prevent further damage that costs more. So, if you have any of these issues we’ve outlined below, you may have to have an engine replacement. 

Cracked Block 

The block covering your engine is essential and can sometimes crack due to overheating. When the temperature gets too hot outside, or there is an underlying issue in your car that’s not allowing it to cool down, you’ll need to replace your engine if it cracks. In addition to losing engine power, you’ll lose all the other power in your car if this issue happens. 

High Mileage 

Your engine is a crucial piece in the movement of your car. Because of that, the more mileage you put on it, the more your engine will start to wear down, which could cause it to suffer. All the things that go into a healthy engine, like the cylinder rings, gaskets, and more, wear out over time and could cause your engine to stop working completely if not replaced or maintained. 

A Collision

If you were involved in a collision where the front part of your vehicle absorbed most of the impact, your engine could be damaged. This damage might not present itself immediately, but, over time, it may come creeping out. Without getting it thoroughly checked out by a mechanic, you could suffer damages that cause your engine not to function correctly.


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Tips to Prevent an Engine Replacement or Rebuild

Does the term “engine replacement” send shivers down your spine? As you can see from our cost breakdown above, it’s not cheap. Thus, it’s best practice to protect your engine proactively, so you can keep engine replacements or rebuilds at bay. Here are some quick tips for you:

  • Maintain a regular oil change schedule - At the very least, you should be up-to-date with your oil changes. Engine oil keeps all the moving parts lubricated to minimize wear and tear and prevents overheating.
  • Make sure the cooling system works - In addition to regular oil changes, you should ensure the engine cooling system is working at its best by having the right amount of coolant (radiator fluid).
  • Check for leaks - It doesn’t take a mechanic to spot a leak. You can check for leaks by checking under your vehicle before heading out. Look for puddles of fluid underneath, or be wary of fluid smells.
  • Don’t ignore the check engine light - Or any other dashboard warning lights, for that matter. An illuminated check engine light can mean various things; it can be a major or minor issue – so get your car checked out immediately.
  • Replace the fuel filter - The filter protects the engine from sediment and particles in the fuel. A new filter ensures a clean flow of fuel inside the engine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much does it cost to replace an engine?

A: The cost of an engine replacement can vary significantly based on the make and model of your vehicle, the type of engine, whether you’re replacing it with a new, rebuilt, or used engine, and labor costs in your area. As a rough estimate, engine replacement can cost anywhere from $2,500-$4,000 for a used engine and up to $6,000-$10,000 or more for a new or rebuilt one.

Q: Is it worth replacing the engine in my car?

A: Since engine-related repairs can be costly, careful consideration is required. If the rest of your vehicle is in good condition, replacing the engine could extend its life and be less expensive than purchasing a new car. However, if the vehicle has other significant problems or is very old, it might be more cost-effective to replace it entirely.

Q: Will an engine replacement change my car’s value?

A: In general, replacing the engine will not increase the resale value of your car. In fact, prospective buyers might be more wary of a vehicle with its engine replaced. The engine’s condition and the shop that did the work may also affect the value.

Q: Is it more economical to opt for a used engine?

A: Yes, choosing a used engine can significantly reduce your costs, potentially ranging from $400 to $700. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution and ensure the used engine is reliable and in good condition to avoid future expenses.

Q: What factors into the labor time for an engine replacement?

A: Engine replacement is labor-intensive, typically requiring 10 to 12 hours of chargeable labor. Labor rates can vary, but if you’re being quoted $150 per hour, the labor cost alone could amount to $1,800.

Q: What additional costs should I anticipate during an engine replacement?

A: Beyond the engine itself and labor, you’ll need to account for ancillary expenses such as new oil, coolant, and possibly other fluids. Depending on the extent of the engine damage, you might also need new hoses, belts, or pumps, which will incur extra costs for parts and installation.

Q: How can I prevent needing an engine replacement?

A: Regular maintenance is vital to engine longevity. This includes timely oil changes, cooling system checks, leak inspections, and not ignoring warning lights. Proper care can help avoid the major issues that lead to engine replacement.

Keep Your Engine Healthy 

Because your engine plays such an essential role in your vehicle, you should keep a close eye on it for signs that it is starting to act up. If you begin to notice subtle changes in your car, it’s a good idea to take it in and get to the bottom of the issues. 

Once you know what’s wrong with your car, if the engine is involved, you need to take care of it fast, preventing more damages from coming along as a result. Replacing your engine might be expensive but it’s the most critical part of your vehicle and, without it, you wouldn’t be able to go anywhere.

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