What are Remanufactured Engines?

February 21, 2012

Learn how to inspect remanufactured engines before buying them, whether you should use a mechanic or a DIY engine rebuild kit, and other tips.

Remanufactured Engine

Remanufactured engines are like a refurbished appliance. It has been sent back to the manufacturer and reconditioned by technicians who are specifically certified by the manufacturer. A thorough rebuilding process includes replacing all wearable parts and fixing any alterations to the original condition of the engine. The final result is that the remanufactured engine complies with the same rigid specifications and standards as new engines coming directly from the factory under the hoods of new cars and trucks.

The Remanufacturing Process
The remanufacturing process includes using OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts to make sure the remanufactured engine is identical to a new one. Technicians look at how wear may have altered existing parts and either machine them back to specifications or replace them.

Available Options
Those who are looking for remanufactured engines have a lot of options to choose from. Some will be used engines from vehicles driven in North America, but others include foreign engines that may be subject to higher standards in their country of origin, giving them a lot of value on the American road.

One popular type of remanufactured engine is a JDM or Japanese domestic market engine. In Japan, drivers are required to ground vehicles after the engine has met a relatively low mileage. Many of these engines are shipped to the U.S. and remanufactured to provide much more life under a new hood. Because Japanese vehicles are so popular on U.S. roads, there's a lot of value in getting Toyota, Nissan, Honda or other Japanese engines to the U.S.

DIY or Retail?
Some drivers who want to save money use items like engine rebuild kits to try to repair an engine themselves, or trust the job to a local mechanic. Depending on the extent of damage to an engine, it may be worthwhile to instead look at a replacement from the immense inventory of remanufactured engines available on the public market. Companies like GotEngines specialize in helping customers find the right used or remanufactured engine for their vehicle. Online service and good phone support help make your shopping process quick and effective. Think about using these kinds of reconditioned engine deals that are backed by the big auto makers.

How to Inspect Remanufactured Engines before Buying Them

Whether you're looking for a new engine block, a diesel engine replacement or some other type of component for your car, remanufactured engines can be a great way to avoid paying full price. However, you need to ensure that the engine is appropriate and works properly before you purchase it.

Inspect the Engine
One of the first things that you should do to check on an engine before you buy it is to visually inspect it. Look for signs of oil spots or stains on the outside of the engine. Just because you don't see any oil spots or stains doesn't necessarily mean that there may not be a leak in the engine. Sellers will often wash off the surface of the engine before they sell it. If you can check on the car that the engine was previously in, take a look there for stains and oil spots.

Also look at the engine for signs of cracks and other damage. Any cracks or splits in the engine casing are signs that the remanufacturing job may not have been done properly. Look with a flashlight to find a better selection of cracks in the engine.

Check the Exhaust
If the engine is connected to a car, check on the engine smoke and exhaust. Turn on the engine and allow the car to idle. Watch for a smooth flow of exhaust through the exhaust system. Look also for the color of the exhaust; if it's blue or dark black, there may be something wrong with the remanufactured engine.

Check the Molding
One of the signs of a poor remanufacturing job is buildup of the molding on the outside of the engine. Look for evenly spaced and smooth molding. If there are any bulges or other obtrusions, this may be a sign that the engine was rebuilt in a way that was less than adequate for prolonged use in a car.

Determine the History
Another important way to check on the remanufactured engine that you're looking to buy is to learn about the history of the engine. Be sure to ask the seller where the engine came from and what happened to put it into a state that required repair anyway. Ask for a history report of the engine before you think of buying it to be sure that it will be suitable.

Look out for Rebuilt Engines Labeled "Remanufactured"
Some auto shops use the terms rebuilt and remanufactured to mean the same thing. They're not. Rebuilt engines are just put back together. Remanufactured ones go through an extensive testing and calibration process to ensure integrity. The technicians working on remanufactured engines should be trained and certified by the manufacturer or a legitimate agent. Otherwise, the buyer doesn't get the same attention to design that comes from the original factory-direct engine.

Beware of No-Warranty Engines
A remanufactured engine is engineered back to specs, and there's no reason it shouldn't come with an appropriate warranty. An engine shipping without a warranty is one the buyer must accept "as-is" and may not be truly remanufactured.