Engine Rebuild Cost – How Expensive Is To Rebuild An Engine?

Engine Rebuild Cost – How Expensive Is To Rebuild An Engine?

August 21, 2021 0 By CarGuy

So, your engine recently stopped working as it used to. And started producing weird noises and has a tremendous loss of power? If this is the case, your engine is probably due to being rebuilt and you have to learn the engine rebuild cost. This is important to know because you will have to perform a rebuild in order to keep the vehicle on the road.

Car engines go bad, either by poor maintenance, factory faults or they simply have reached the end and they cannot go any further without a rebuild.

In the engine, there are plenty of components and if these components do not work well, it means that you need a rebuild. Why is this the case? Well, the components tend to wear and if they are too worn, they just jeopardize the work of the engine and make the engine not able to deliver the numbers that are required from it. And this also increases the engine rebuild cost.

In this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know when it comes to rebuilding an engine. We are going to explain what is an engine rebuild. The symptoms of a bad engine that is due to a rebuild and also the engine rebuild procedure. Then we are going to discuss the engine rebuild cost for you to have a better understanding of what to expect to pay for an engine rebuild. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the article.

What Is An Engine Rebuild?

As the name implies, engine rebuild is referring to the process of rebuilding an engine. During the engine rebuild every component is removed from the block. Then the parts are laid out on a workbench and inspected for damage.

The inspection is important in order to determine which pieces are savable and which of them are for the scrap. Basically, all the components that wear off are scrapped. And these include rod bearings, oil rings, gaskets, valves and valve seals, rods, and lifters. All these components are usually replaced when the engine is due to a rebuild.

The main components like the block, crankshaft, and camshaft are sent to the machine shop in order to be machined and returned to factory spec.

The machining process is a tedious process that determines the engine rebuild cost. The more work the engine block and heads need, the more expensive the engine rebuild cost is going to be at the end.

That’s why it is worth noting that when you want to rebuild an engine you got to have a budget. If you don’t, the engine rebuild cost is going to turn into a money pit at the end.

Especially if the engine is not rebuildable. And by a non-rebuildable engine, I mean engines with cracked blocks. These blocks are the worst because they have to be machined and then sleeved. Sleeving is the process of installing a new cylinder wall or a sleeve as it is called.

These sleeves do not hold for long and can cause the engine to lose compression and cause some symptoms really quickly after the rebuild. But what are the symptoms of a bad engine? Well, we are going to cover them next and after that, we will see what is the engine rebuild cost.

Symptoms Of A Bad Engine

When the engine usually starts to give up it begins to develop symptoms as with every other component in the car. The engine symptoms are many, but we are going to focus on the ones that make an engine ready to be rebuilt or thrown into the junkyard.

  1. Rod Knocks
  2. Loss Of Compression
  3. Poor Engine Performance
  4. Low Oil Pressure
  5. Oil Consumption

1. Rod Knocks

If the rods start knocking then things are going down for sure. The rod knock is a clear giveaway of an engine that has seen better days.

These rod knock sounds appear when the engine has reached the end of its life. When rods start knocking the bearings are pretty much done and there is a lot of play between the rod and the camshaft. This play makes the piston lose its balance and cause the rod to hit the crankshaft and as well as the piston starts to scar the cylinder walls.

This engine work will for sure damage your engine, in the long run, The more you run the engine like this. More damage will be on the block and on the crankshaft.

In a worst-case scenario, the rod is going to break and cause a catastrophic engine failure. If this happens. Your engine will be scrapped and you will have to get a new engine for your car.

We have covered the rod knock symptoms in-depth in our article and if you want you can check it out.

The good thing is that if you hear a rod knock, the engine is still savable. But it has to be inspected in order for you to have a clear estimate of the damage inside. If the damage is too large, the block will be scrapped and you will have to get a new engine, if the block is savable, you will be able to rebuild it. If it’s savable, you will have to learn more about engine rebuild cost. And we are going to talk about that later in this article.

2. Loss Of Compression

Loss of compression is another of the symptoms when the engine fails. The loss of compression is also one of the dead giveaways of an engine that is due for a rebuild.

This is the case because the engine pistons or valves don’t seal properly. When there is no seal there is a lot of blowby and as the blowby increases. This increase in blowby air doesn’t work very well with the engine and the engine will not pull as it used to before.

This will be most notable when you are loading the car, and the car will not be able to move from its position if too much load is in the trunk.

Also, you can test if there is a blowby pretty simply by removing the oil cap or oil dipstick when the engine is running. If there is blowby you will feel some air on your hand when you put it on top of the dipstick pipe it means that the engine loses compression.

Engines to lose compression is normal after 150,000 miles or more, but to be really sure that your engine has blowby and bad compression you have to make a compression test. We wrote a detailed article on how to perform a DIY compression test and it may be worth it for you to check it out.

3. Poor Engine Performance

Engine performance will also suffer. If the engine has bad compression the performance of the engine will be very poor.

It will barely keep up working. With these worn-out engines, you will notice how the engine suddenly shuts down and you have to put the key in the ignition and start the car again.

And as we said, if the engine has a lot of blowby will not pull well enough in uphill situations. In these cases, you may find yourself struggling to keep the car moving.

And in the loss of compression is that big. You will notice how the engine doesn’t react to the gas input that you give to it.

And in the worst-case scenario, the engine will simply stop working and freeze. Since there is not any compression in the engine. Keeping the engine running will be an impossible task. In this case, looking for an engine rebuild cost is your best bet.

4. Low Oil Pressure

Another symptom of a worn-out engine is low oil pressure. If your oil gauge is struggling to move up, then your engine is probably doesn’t create pressure.

This is because the O-rings don’t seal well and there is blowby, assisted by loss of compression. This problem is also notable when you are having a low compression engine.

Low oil pressure does not mean that the engine is worn out, maybe you have just a non-working oil pump as well. Or a clogged oil filter or a sludgy engine.

This symptom has to be investigated thoroughly. In order to be sure that the engine has failed you have to do a compression test first. Without a compression test, you don’t know what really is going on inside of the engine.

Make sure that the compression is low before you diagnose a bad engine. If the compression is good, you will need to look for your problem elsewhere. If the engine is really bad then an engine rebuild cost is essential info for you to know in order to solve your problem and fix your engine with a nice refresh.

5. Oil Consumption

Oil consumption is also one of the most notable symptoms when an engine is due to be rebuilt. The oil consumption is quite notable on higher mileage vehicles, and as well vehicles that have rod knock developed.

This is because the piston oil rings are not sealing properly and the oil goes into the combustion chamber. In the worst-case scenario, this problem is going to cause the cylinder to shut down if there is too much oil in it. Or if there is a slight drop of oil inside it can cause the oil to burn and cause carbon build-up in the engine.

This carbon buildup will clog the head exhaust ports and as well as the exhaust valves, causing them not to seal properly. This bad seal will cause a loss of compression.

That’s why when you are having high oil consumption can mean many things. The best thing to do is to measure the compression in the cylinders.

If there is good compression then your engine is healthy, but if the compression is low, it means that your engine is ready to be rebuilt and you should look for engine rebuild cost in order to learn more about the prices. We will cover the prices later in the article for you to have a better picture of what to expect. But first, let’s see how you can diagnose a bad engine.

How To Diagnose A Bad Engine? Engine Rebuild Cost

A bad engine can be diagnosed in two ways. Either by doing a compression test or taking the engine apart if the symptoms are too strong and you strongly believe that the engine has damage inside.

The first type is fairly simple and can be done at your garage. You will only need a compression tester to perform this work.

You will have to remove first all the accessories that are on the top of the engine as well as the spark plugs and fuel lines.

Engine Rebuild Cost

Free Stock Photo by Pixabay

Then plug the compression tester inside of the place of the spark plug and crank your car until the pressure is built on the tool.

Depending on your engine compression ratings you will get a reading. If the engine is high compression it can go up to 160 on the tool. If the engine is an ordinary engine that is not racing focused, a pressure of 100 to 120 is relatively good and healthy. Anything below this is unacceptable and considered as low compression.

In this case, you will have to open the engine and inspect the components. This means taking the whole engine apart. This can be a hefty job, but if the engine damage has just started you might get away with new O-rings and bearings. This is the simplest rebuild that you can get on a car. If there is too much damage you will also have to machine the block and heads. And this will boost the engine rebuild cost by a lot.

In the next chapter, we are going to cover the rebuild procedure and later we are going to discuss the engine rebuild cost for you to have a better understanding of the cost to rebuild an engine.

Engine Rebuild Procedure DIY Guide

When the engine is due to a rebuilt first has to be pulled from the engine and placed on an engine stand. On the engine stand you will have the ability to have easy access to every piece of the engine.

Next thing is to remove all the harnesses and computers out of the block, as well as the fuel lines and injectors.

After this, you can remove the intake manifold, and then you can start disassembling the heads.

A good inspection of the heads will tell you a lot of the history of the engine. You need to check if the valves are sealing properly and as well check the carbon buildup.

If the heads are good and in mint condition, they can be reused and you will only get away with replacing the valve seals, rods, and lifters. If they have a lot of carbon buildup you will have also to machine them and replace the components that are on the heads like the valves and the valve stems.

Next is the block, the block will tell you the most, and especially the rod bearings and piston rings. Check their condition and inspect them for wear.

If they are worn that is bad news. Also, you need to see the condition of the cylinder walls and crankshaft as well.

Make sure that they are not scarred or damaged. If the cylinder walls and crankshaft are damaged then, you will have to do some serious machine work in order to return the engine to factory spec.

This will make the engine rebuild cost very expensive. And that is something that we are going to cover next.

Engine Rebuild Cost

Engine rebuild cost varies. This is because of the amount of work that is required for a specific engine. For example, a simple refresh with a new bearing and rings does not cost too much and you can get away with $1,500 or less in some shops.

This is the case because this is not a job that takes a lot of time and can be completed in a couple of days.

But if you have a big rebuild with machining the heads and installing new valves along with new pistons and machine work of the engine it can cost you a lot.

For this type of work, you are going to pay from $2000 to $5000. Depending on the engine and work that is required to finish this job.

This is a hefty price tag and you should consider if you want to go with this engine or get a new engine for your car. A new engine may be a better way in these situations and you will save a lot of money on it. But if it’s some rare classic that has numbers matching motor then it’s worth it. Because if the car has value with this engine, then your best bet is to restore the engine and don’t mind the engine rebuild cost.


In this article, we have covered a lot when it comes to engine rebuilds. We learned what is an engine rebuild and also how it is performed.

Then we have covered all the symptoms of a bad engine and how you can diagnose a worn engine in order to know if the engine is due to be rebuilt,

And lastly, we covered the process, what it involves, and as well the engine rebuild cost.