Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Buy Remanufactured Engine or a Cheap used car?

Just in time for Christmas our 02 Jeep Liberty with 150K miles breaks down on our way home from Grandmas house. Broken lifter, or something like that, anyway, if the Jeep is to be driven again the engine needs to be rebuilt. My mechanic suggests a re-manufactured engine from Jasper at a cost of around $5,000. It supposedly comes with a 100K mile warranty. Other than the engine our Jeep’s in good shape. The question is, to keep the Jeep and put in the “new” engine, or to try our luck on a $4,000 or so used car.

You might have more and better options available. If the lifter broke but caused no damage to a piston of the block it may be economical to get the head repaired.

Exactly what is broken? A broken lifter doesn’t generally mean a new engine is needed.

And, what are the local options for a used engine?

Honestly, I’d have a hard time justifying that cost for an '02 Liberty. The Kelley Bluebook for one in excellent condition is just above $4K. You might want to get a second opiniuon on the whole situation. See if another shop can either repair yours at an affordable cost or put in a used motor for oa much more reasonable price.

I didn’t fully describe what is wrong and I don’t really know exactly what it is (I’m not that well versed in the lingo) but have had two shops look at the car, a dealer, and my normal mechanic (who is also a personal friend of mine). The problem requires the engine to be rebuilt. A used engine was also given as an option but it would only be about 400-500 dollars cheaper and wouldn’t be as reliable as a re-built engine.

I’ve looked around locally for something comparable but there’s a severe lack of vehicles in my price range and meet all the requirements that the jeep does (needs 4WD and need to be able to tow small trailers and carry my family of 5). The closest I can get is a mid 90s Grand Cherokee or a much older extended cab pickup.

I’ll keep looking though

Given these choices and criteria, then IF the Jeep is in otherwise good shape I’d go for the rebuilt Jasper engine.

Buying anything else in the $5000 price range that meets your needs would be far more risky than dropping the new engine in.

It would be interesting to know the details behind this failure anyway. The problem with sinking 5 grand into an engine is that you will still have a Jeep that has 150k miles on the suspension components, the transmission, and the differentials.
What happens if any of that goes belly-up 3 weeks after the engine is installed?

I’d be inclined to go with a good used engine, depending on the price of course.

You should be aware that the Jasper 100k miles warranty has a few caveats. This means you MUST maintain that engine to the hilt, keep all records, do not operate it while overheating exists or an oil light is on, etc. Any deviation will be a legitimate reason for denying any warranty coverage.

If a used motor comes in around $2000 I would go that direction. $5k is serious money to spend on a 9 year old vehicle.

If you do decide to buy make it a Jasper. Over the years I have let my customers decide and they all go with the Jasper. Everyone is satisfied and I mean everyone from the installer to the consumer. The Jasper product line is great, only thing I would caution you about is the transmission, check to see how much the unit is and ask your repair facility to install it for the cost of the part and you will replace the engine as well. Meaning, if you want to put an engine in my Jeep, put the tranny in for free and we are good to go. Also make sure the shop buys the install kit from Jasper, its complete, cheap and good stuff…