BY THE MONITOR
Buying a used engine is sometimes more cost effective than repairing one because the cost of new engine repair parts and the heavy labour involved may be beyond your budget.
However, one needs to proceed with caution, buying a used engine on your own can save you a lot of money, but only if you know what you are doing. Overlooking important considerations when buying a used engine will potentially cost you a lot of money if you buy a damaged or wrong engine.
Ask a trusted mechanic to inspect your car and get complete details about your current engine such as the year of manufacture, make and model, transmission type, fuel used as well as accessories attached. This will help you to match the new (used) engine.
What you need to know
Agree with your mechanic on what you will ask the sellers to provide as proof that they are selling the right engine. Discuss with the mechanic the estimate of installation costs. Ask the mechanic to provide an assistant to accompany you to the breaker yard or used parts seller and help carry out an initial inspection of the offered engine.
Confirm what comes with the engine you want to buy. Some sellers will leave parts like alternators and throttle units or important electronic sensors on the engine which is good if you need one while others will take them off.
Ask each seller for a detailed list of the package he is offering. Make an effort to get at least two different offers of used engines to compare the prices and packages offered. There should be a reasonable warranty of not less than one month provided by the seller.
Try to find out the conditions or exclusions of the warranty extended. Some sellers insist on fitting the engine themselves or providing a technician to work with your mechanic and ensure that the engine is not damaged during installation or commissioning.
How it works The car engine cooling system has important components that must all work well in order to provide effective cooling. For instance, the water pump helps to move the coolant fluid around the engine and back to the radiator where it is cooled.
More tips on buying used car engine
About the dealer
Confirm that the seller of used engines is a legitimate dealer of imported used car parts and is duly registered.
There are many rampant cases of car thefts and sale of parts from such cars. The engine you decide to buy should have all the relevant customs paperwork which proves that all import duties have been paid and its serial or identification number is registered with the revenue authority. This paperwork should be available for you to take with the engine and use to support your application to alter your car logbook details.
Your mechanic should inspect the condition of the engine paying particular attention to how it is stored, the condition of the fluids from the engine and its general appearance (these may tell whether the engine has flood damage or internal damage). Once you identify a good engine, pay for it and keep a receipt in case you need to refer back to the seller after you test the engine. Quickly make arrangements to transport the engine safely to the garage where it will be installed into your car.