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5 Facts About Engine Replacements for Those in Mechanic School

Published on September 24, 2020 by in Blog, CATI

Engine Replacements auto mechanic school

Replacing an engine, or repowering, is a great way to extend a vehicle’s life without the expense of buying a new one. Although engine replacements can be expensive, it’s usually cheaper to get one while keeping an existing vehicle. If done correctly, they’re a worthy investment.

Because it’s such a vital part of an automobile, engine replacement is a tricky process which requires serious care and attention to detail. One wrong step could lead to long term damage. However, when done right, an engine replacement can serve to keep a perfectly good vehicle running, reducing waste and likely saving customers some money. Here are five important things to keep in mind when replacing an engine. 

As a Mechanic School Graduate, You Might Decide That the Engine Is Not Worth Replacing

If the vehicle is more than 12 to 14 years old, and especially if the vehicle isn’t in great condition, replacing an engine is often not worth the expense. If the vehicle is in good condition, confirm that the engine cannot be fixed before replacing it. This is because there are often internal problems which can be repaired individually, rather than requiring a total replacement. If the block is cracked, the cost might be similar to replacing an engine. However, problems such as a cracked or broken camshaft, worn valve guides, a cracked piston, or a blown head gasket can be repaired individually.

auto mechanic school

Replacing an engine could extend the life of a vehicle

Other Parts May Need Replacing, Too

Once you’ve determined that the engine needs replacing, take the opportunity to see what other parts of the car may also need replacement. If you’ve gone to mechanic school, you’ll know that if there were a lot of miles on the old engine, parts such as the cooling system, transmission, power steering, sensors, air conditioner, and starting system have also racked up significant mileage. These parts should definitely be tested, and often need to be replaced. Consider installing a new oxygen sensor, coolant temperature sensor, and thermostat to avoid overheating, and maybe even install a new distributor cap and rotor as well as spark plugs and plug wires. Evaluate the transmission, CV and U joints, clutch and/or torque converter, and make the necessary repairs after having checked the condition of each.

There Are Many Options for Engine Replacement

When replacing an engine, you may be able to choose between one that is used, remanufactured, rebuilt, or entirely new. A used engine is likely to be taken from a vehicle that suffered damage or wreckage in a different area, and is often the cheapest option. A remanufactured engine is of higher quality, as it has been restored to its factory condition after being taken out of a vehicle. 

A rebuilt engine takes a bit more work to do correctly, but can produce significant mileage after being taken apart and cleaned before having its parts updated and reconstructed. Lastly, a new engine may be the most expensive option, but it uses all-new parts. It is best practice to replace the gasket, seals, and timing belt on a used, rebuilt, or remanufactured engine. 

mechanic school

Don’t forget to change the oil when replacing an engine

Inspect, Inspect, and Inspect Again

Make sure to compare the two engines and inspect them closely for any differences, especially for the little parts which may be different. To ensure that the engine will fit and make the vehicle run smoothly, examine each engine and switch over any potentially differing parts, particularly bolt-on parts, brackets, and sensors. Attach parts to the engine while it is outside of the vehicle, as it can be more difficult while still inside it. Automotive college graduates will know that it’s important to flush any debris remaining in the engine cooling system. Replace the engine cooler, and don’t forget to change the oil and filter.

Take it for a Test Drive

Lastly, make sure the engine works! While accelerating, take it for a drive and check for misfiring, hesitation, or knocking. While slowing down, check for backfiring. Make sure the vehicle has a smooth idle, that the heater and A/C are working, and that the car doesn’t have any unusual smells.

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