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You may have come across an car listing that says the vehicle in question has a rebuilt engine, but what does that mean?

An engine can wear to the point of being unable to perform adequately. At that stage, it must be taken apart and then put back together with new parts to replace the worn components. Tell tale signs of an engine that needs to be rebuilt include high oil consumption and white smoke coming from the tail pipe.

Rebuilding an engine is a detailed process that includes the cleaning and assessment of the short block, replacement of the piston rings, bearings or other components in addition to reconditioning of the cylinders in order to make sure the engine is in top shape.

Where was it rebuilt?

Troy Snyder is the chief operating officer of NADA Guides, a publication that follows the transaction prices of used cars. The folks at NADA Guides offer good insight into the value of used cars. “A rebuilt engine can be as good as the OEM one,” Snyder said. “Sometimes a rebuilt engine can maintain the original engine warranty.”

If you’re looking at a car with a rebuilt engine, he said that you should look at where the service was performed. “Certain organizations (like a dealership) are trusted to handle such a job,” she said. “If you go down to your regular mechanics shop there’s more risk involved.”

Even so, Snyder said vehicles with rebuilt engines aren’t necessarily something you should avoid. “I wouldn’t put a rebuilt engine in the same realm as a salvage title,” he said. A salvage title could have many underlying problems like flood damage or a serious accident history, while a car with a rebuilt engine has just one concern: the motor.

So what should you do if the car you’re looking to buy has a rebuilt engine? “Every single used vehicle should have a pre-purchase inspection, especially when it comes to a rebuilt engine” he said. “You may be a car expert, but you should have a mechanic who has no interest in the transaction spend some time to go through the car bumper-to-bumper. He may find something that isn’t glaringly obvious that can pop up in a few thousand miles.”

Correcting Defects

Snyder also said a rebuilt engine isn’t necessarily a sign of abuse or overuse. He once owned a car that needed an engine rebuild after 20,000 miles. The service took place under warranty by the automaker and the engine is still covered under the original guarantee.

“Most of the reported rebuilds for cars with fewer than 120,000 miles are for high oil consumption,” said TrueDelta owner and creator Michael Karesh. TrueDelta shares the real-life reliability history of vehicles, reported by actual owners of the car. Karesh has a lot of data to sift through and sees whether a certain car is problematic when it comes to repairs and service. Reports also detail how old or worn a car is when problems arise and even how much to expect when it comes to a repair ...
For all of this story, Should I Buy A Car With A Rebuilt Engine? please visit
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