How Much Does It Cost to Rebuild an Engine?

An engine rebuild typically costs somewhere in the range of $2,500 to $4,000 but ultimately depends on the vehicle, parts, and location.
Written by Andrew Biro
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Generally speaking, an engine rebuild is going to cost somewhere between $2,500 and $4,000, but the exact price will depend on your vehicle make and model, the actual parts that need to be rebuilt, and the auto shop that performs the service.
When it comes to automobiles, remedying engine problems is almost always going to be expensive—but just how expensive can be difficult to parse out. That’s why
car insurance
comparison shopping app
has put together the following guide breaking down how much it costs to rebuild an engine, when an engine rebuild is necessary, and how the rebuild process works.
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How much does it cost for an engine rebuild?

While there are many factors that go into determining the cost of an engine rebuild, you can generally expect to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $2,500 to $4,000—though you could pay much higher depending on the extent of the damage.
Most of what you’re paying for goes toward the physical labor costs rather than the new parts themselves. Rebuilding an engine is a very involved, time-consuming process, one that can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to complete.

What affects the engine rebuild cost?

Generally speaking, there are three major factors that affect engine rebuild cost: your vehicle make and model, the parts that need rebuilt/replaced, and where you go to have the rebuild done.
Another factor (one that you’ll have to check for yourself) is whether your engine—and the damage done to your engine—is still covered under warranty, be it the original or an extended warranty. If you’re still under warranty, you can expect a greatly reduced engine rebuild cost.

Your car make and model

As you might expect, the make and model of your vehicle has a significant impact on determining the cost of an engine rebuild. What car brand you have influences the type of engine you have and the accessibility of the necessary parts.
For example, if you drive a relatively nondescript compact SUV with a standard four-cylinder engine, you’ll most likely be paying on the lower end of the spectrum, as these engines require less labor and fewer parts to rebuild.
But if you own, say, a large
truck with a high-performance V8 engine, the cost to rebuild the engine will be much higher.

What parts need to be rebuilt

Another important factor that affects rebuild cost is which parts of the engine actually need to be rebuilt. If it’s just something simple like replacing the seals or bearings, you can expect a fairly low repair bill.
Parts such as the cylinder head, motor, or pistons are much more costly to rebuild and sometimes must be replaced altogether, depending on the extent of the damage. 

Where you do your engine rebuild

Finally, your actual location—including state, city, and auto repair shop—can significantly impact the cost of rebuilding your engine.
Location-wise, the cheapest option will be your own garage, provided you know how to actually rebuild an engine and have the tools to do so.
But if you aren’t planning on rebuilding your engine yourself, you’ll need to take your vehicle to a local mechanic’s shop or your vehicle manufacturer’s local dealership. An auto shop will usually be cheaper, but the dealership will have the vehicle-specific expertise you need, especially if you drive a luxury brand like
Land Rover

Common signs you need an engine rebuild

If you aren’t particularly vehicle-savvy or mechanically inclined, knowing when an engine rebuild is necessary can be a bit of a challenge. 
Luckily, there are a few easy-to-recognize signs that point to there being damage somewhere in the engine.
Here are four of the most common signs that you might need to rebuild your engine:

Rattling or knocking sounds

One of the most obvious signs an engine rebuild is needed is a knocking or rattling sound coming from the engine. This may be caused by faulty spark plugs, a vacuum leak, an overheated engine, or malfunctioning knock sensors, to name a few things.
In any case, this sound is never good and usually indicates serious internal damage.

Clattering sounds

If you start hearing clattering sounds coming from your car’s engine—especially when accelerating—the timing belt/timing chain may have snapped or your pistons might be moving too much in their cylinders.
If it’s the latter you’re dealing with, immediate repair might save you from a costly engine rebuild, but only if you address the problem right away.

Mixing of coolant and engine oil

When coolant and engine oil are allowed to mix—creating something often referred to as “oil sludge”—your engine components are not being properly cooled or lubricated.
An improperly lubricated engine can lead to overheating, loss of power, increased fuel consumption, and other problems that may damage or affect your engine’s ability to run as intended.
Furthermore, the mixing of coolant and engine oil typically indicates an issue with the engine’s head gasket or may even represent total engine failure altogether.

Thick exhaust smoke

Thick exhaust smoke is another telltale sign that an engine rebuild may be necessary. It usually indicates one of three things: a coolant leak, oil in the combustion chamber, or faulty piston rings.
If you start seeing thick white smoke issuing from your tailpipe, it’s a sure sign that coolant has entered someplace it shouldn’t—but if you start seeing blue smoke, you’re most likely dealing with burning oil that has infiltrated the engine’s combustion chamber. 
Both can result from a cracked engine block or blown head gasket, which will require an engine rebuild to fix.
Smoky exhaust can also indicate an issue with your engine’s piston rings. At their core, piston rings serve to trap gasses and seal the engine cylinders—but if these rings start to wear out, crankcase oil can slip past them and mix with the fuel. Once this mixture is burned, it can result in thick exhaust smoke.

Do you need an engine rebuild or engine replacement?

If you’re dealing with minor engine damage or simple wear and tear, rebuilding your engine is usually going to be the better option than replacing it entirely.
On average, an engine replacement costs between $4,000 and $6,000, whereas an engine rebuild usually ranges between $2,500 and $4,000.
But when faced with serious damage that will cost as much as a new engine to repair, it may be more economical to replace your engine altogether rather than rebuilding it. Ask your mechanic which option is best for you if you’re unsure.

How to rebuild an engine

Unfortunately, we can’t outline a full, step-by-step guide to rebuilding any engine, as the process differs depending on your make and model/the type of engine you own.
But we can give you a general overview of the process if you’re looking to rebuild your vehicle’s engine yourself or just want to know what the process entails:
  1. Research and review the removal and rebuild procedures for your specific make and model and its engine.
  2. Drain the coolant and oil.
  3. Get the engine ready for removal by removing all plastic covers, the radiator, disconnecting the battery/starter, exhaust manifolds, air compressor and belts, and detaching the engine from the transmission.
  4. Attach an engine hoist to the engine, unbolt the engine from the motor mounts, and hoist the engine up and out of your vehicle.
  5. Mount the engine onto an engine stand.
  6. Take the engine apart and remove all accessory components, belts, bare components, pushrods, rocker arms, cylinder head, camshaft, timing chain, and piston rod caps.
  7. Inspect large components, such as the crankshaft, for damage and replace them if necessary.
  8. Clean all engine parts and prepare them for reassembly (including the parts which are replacing old parts).
  9. Reassemble the engine.
  10. Reinstall the engine.

How to find cheap car insurance

The repair costs associated with rebuilding your engine can be incredibly expensive, but your car’s insurance policy doesn’t have to be—especially if you shop with the
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Generally speaking, an engine rebuild includes an inspection, disassembly of the engine, cleaning of the engine’s parts, and replacement of damaged or worn parts
In most cases, you will receive a new double roller timing chain, water pump gasket, valve cover gaskets, crank and piston bearings, camshaft, performance head gaskets, valve seals, intake and exhaust gaskets, and more.
Generally speaking, rebuilding an engine is going to be cheaper than replacing the engine altogether, but this largely depends on how damaged the engine is. 
Buying and installing a used engine may be cheaper than a complete engine overhaul—and if you’re dealing with total engine failure, you might be better off buying a new vehicle altogether.
Typically, a professionally rebuilt engine will positively affect gas mileage, but only if the parts used in the rebuild are upgraded or better than the original parts. 
If the new parts are more or less the same quality as the old parts, gas mileage will likely stay the same or worsen.
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