What to Look for in a Salvage Yard Engine or Transmission

How to Find a Good Used Engine


  1. Gather information about your vehicle.You'll want your VIN, engine code, and production date. You might not need all this information, but it will save time.
  2. Open up your local Yellow pages book and search under "Auto Parts - Used and Rebuilt" or go to Bing.com and search for "used engines."
  3. Go through the list of suppliers.Say the following, exactly, "Hello, this is [insert name]. I'm looking for a used engine for my [year, make model.]"
  4. Ask for the mileage on the engine.Then ask for a freeVehicle History Report(an Auto Check or CARFAX) to verify the mileage.
  5. Ask for a description of the engine.Does it include the intake and exhaust manifolds? Fuel rails? Wiring harness? Oil Pan? Valve Covers? Timing Covers? Is there any damage to any of these systems? Was the vehicle in a front or rear impact?
  6. Keep in mind when buying a used engine, you are buying the engine (block,heads and internal components)only.Most of the parts listed above are left on the used engine for convenience and none will be guaranteed to fit or be covered under the warranty. Manufacturers use the same block and heads for many years, but the attached parts may differ from year to year. Plan on transferring the correct parts from your old engine, and proof of replacing the timing components (especially on belt drive engines and DOHC engines) is required for most warranties to be valid.
  7. Ask if there is a cash discount.
  8. Don't insult the auto recycler by asking if there's a cash discount.Believe it or not, wrecked cars purchased at insurance auctions are very expensive.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    When I ask for the vehicle VIN or Carfax or mileage, they all hedge and say they don't have it. Are they lying or do they not really have this information?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    In some cases the motor was from a wreck, and in some cases there is no way at all to tell mileage if they cannot access the original vehicle's dashboard. The VIN number is another story. All engines will have a VIN number posted on them, this is used to identify the motor and make sure it is categorically separated from other similar models. If an owner says they do not have a VIN number, instruct them on where to find it, and if they say it does not exist, I would not purchase the engine.
  • Question
    How can I tell the difference between K motors?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    VIN numbers tell all! If you can grab the VIN number, you can compare it to others by looking up a reference chart from the manufacturer. In the case of most cars, the 8th digit will tell you which trim and spec the engine is. From there, you can search for the correct engine for your application.
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  • Demand a Vehicle History Report to verify the mileage. This will show the miles on the vehicle when it was in the wreck that took it off the road.
  • Only buy from a BBB member. Everyone will have some complaints, but avoid folks with lots of complaints.
  • Some companies (a major one is ) warranty their engines longer than others, and provide a free CARFAX without you having to ask.
  • Your dealership can help you match up the VIN of a CARFAX to your vehicle using the engine serial numbers.
  • When choosing a new engine, note whether it is a two-stroke or four-stroke engine. Two-stroke engines provide more power, but are also wasteful and polluting. Four-stroke engines provide less power, but are cleaner and use less gas. Make sure you get an engine that is right for your needs!


  • Check each companies warranty prior to purchasing to understand your responsibilities and what the company will and won't do in the event of a problem.
  • There are companies who will lie to you about the miles on their engines. This is why a Vehicle History Report is imperative - to protect you.

Video: Things To Check For When Buying An Engine

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Date: 08.12.2018, 19:17 / Views: 33272