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Engine damage - repairing, replacing or buying a new car right away?

Care and maintenance are the be-all and end-all of a car, so that the engine lasts the car's life. The highly complex and sophisticated units are robust. Nevertheless, it can happen that a car has an engine failure. Then the question
arises: repair or replace? Both are associated with high costs. When does an engine repair make sense? When is a replacement engine more advisable?

Can it be repaired?

In some cases, it is worth repairing the engine.

If the engine is damaged, the first question should be: Can it be repaired at all? This question can best be answered by an expert in a motor vehicle workshop. There is also an answer to the question about the likely costs. After a serious accident or a technical total write-off, the only thing that helps is usually to replace the engine. In any case, it is advisable to first get a cost estimate and not to give the car for repair straight away. For example, if the engine damage is the result of an accident, this is a case for the insurance company. In order to decide whether the repair is financially worthwhile, it can be helpful to first determine the vehicle value. An intact engine should be used as a basis.

If there is still a guarantee

If the diagnosis is irreparable engine damage, many wonder whether it is even economical to install a replacement engine. In this case, there are auto repair centres who install an exchange engine at a fixed price. The owner of the vehicle knows directly what the costs will be. In this way, the profitability can also be quickly assessed. All those drivers whose vehicle breaks down during the warranty period can stay completely relaxed. In this case, the manufacturer bears the cost of changing the motor. Changing the engine is expensive, but in a relatively new vehicle it is usually cheaper than a new vehicle. However, anyone who does not check the oil level regularly, over-revs the engine or missed mandatory maintenance, must expect that the manufacturer will not replace the engine as a guarantee. The manufacturer's guarantee promises are often very full-bodied, in the end the customer is left with the costs, which can be quite expensive.

Repair the engine


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If the engine goes on strike, for example because the cylinder head, camshaft or crankshaft is defective or the valves are worn out and obsolete, the engine can be repaired. This is usually much cheaper than replacing the entire motor. The costs for the repair are mostly based on the actual time required and the use of materials. In terms of material costs, it is cheaper to replace individual parts, such as a defective valve, instead of replacing the entire cylinder head.

Replace after the warranty anyway?

If the manufacturer's guarantee has expired, replacing the engine can still be the more economical alternative. This is especially true if the car still has a high resale value. By installing the new engine, the vehicle value is retained or can even be increased. If a modern car has a defective engine, it can often only be sold at an extremely low price. Sometimes it just isn't worth repairing the engine anymore. If the car has already driven many miles, overhauling the engine is usually no longer an option. It is more worthwhile to buy another vehicle. A car should meet a few criteria to be eligible for an engine repair. One criterion is the odometer reading. Another criterion is the general condition of the car and its age. Does the car already show any body damage, can you already see rust or does it have other defects and signs of wear and tear? The current market value can be derived from these criteria. In the case of exotic vehicles, the parts situation should also be considered in general.

When is a new engine worthwhile?

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Hobbyists often do not have the right lifting tools to replace the motor themselves in the garage at home.

The installation of a new engine is usually not noticeable either with lower fuel consumption or with a more favorable energy efficiency class. Because usually only an identical engine can be installed in a car. Nevertheless, the investment can be worthwhile. If the old car has always been reliable, the replacement engine can be inexpensive. This is especially true if the owner recently replaced important wear parts and the car is otherwise in very good condition. When buying the engine, the dealer should give a guarantee, and the engine should be completely overhauled. Depending on the vehicle type, the costs for an engine replacement in South Africa average between R17,000 and R50,000. The cost of installation also varies a lot. If you can do the installation yourself, this is the cheapest way. However, this requires extensive knowledge and tools that a "hobbyist" usually does not have. For example, a lifting device is required to lift the engine out and fit the new engine into the engine bay. It is possible to rent a space in a do-it-yourself workshop. There you will also find all the necessary tools. However, if you don't really know your way around, you should leave this work to a specialist workshop.

Or would you prefer a different car?


Engine replacement can quickly cost several thousand dollars. There is already a good used car for that. It is therefore important to carefully consider whether the engine replacement is really worthwhile. Those who prefer to buy a new car instead usually have some advantages. For example, new vehicles have lower fuel consumption and a lower energy efficiency class. New vehicles are more environmentally friendly, so emissions are lower and the driver saves money on refueling and benefits from the cheaper vehicle tax. In addition, the car is modern and equipped with new safety technology. A small car is usually cheap to buy, but of course the cost is higher than replacing or repairing the engine. A new car then makes sense!


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