Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Buying a Used Engine for a low mileage 2009 Honda Fit

The engine on my 2009 Honda Fit (with 22k miles) needs to be replaced due to the error of a unnamed, large oil change company. Their insurance will pay for the engine replacement and they want to use a “recycled” engine with similar miles (23k miles). The total cost with labor is estimated at $3600 and the insurance will pay for all of it. I would like to trade in my car for a new one.

My question is, what is the downside of getting a used engine installed? Will it effect the value of the car? Is there anything that I should do or look for to ensure that the new engine is a good one? Will this effect my warranty from Honda? Is there anything else that I should know? Given that this is a rather large payout for the insurance company, I am a bit skeptical that I will walk away whole from the arrangement. Is there anything that I am missing?

Maybe I am a cynic, but it seems like every used engine is a low mileage engine. The insurance company has no idea what maintenance was done when the engine was in the original car. If the car was in an accident, the oil pan may have been damaged and the oil pump messed up. I think that the insurance company should either put in a new engine or give you the top book value for your car.

You can say good by to any warranty from Honda. If you end up with a new or used engine. They need give warranty coverage for the same amount of time you have left cover by Honda. I would not except a used engine. If it was my car it would new with warranty or by the car from me at market value plus some for inconvenience.

If you can get the VIN from the car the motor came out of, you can run a carfax. Sometimes this will give you an idea not only of maintenance history, but true miles as well.

Also to answer other parts if your question, this will void the warranty on the motor. However only on the motor.

Value loss, hard to say. Some will not care others will.

Value loss? When you trade it in at 150K, who’s going to know? Even if you trade it in next week, the miles are so similar that it does not matter.

That said, I think for $3600 the oil change company’s insurance company, if they even have one, is getting screwed. Either that, or they are lying to you about the cost. I’m betting on the latter. There are literally dozens of those engines listed on for under $1000. Many have miles under 26K. Some have under 5K. $2600 on top of $1000 to install the engine is highway robbery. You can also bet that a national chain probably gets a huge discount on EVERYTHING they buy. For $3600 they should be able to install a good rebuilt, (Jasper?) but probably not factory new, engine with an excellent warranty.

They should also be furnishing you with a rental car while yours is unavailable.

Can you spell iffy Lube? They are so big, they are probably self insured. No fake insurance company is involved.

Salvage yard engines are a crap-shoot…UNLESS you get the VIN of the donor car and pictures of that car before they pulled the engine. That’s the only way to verify the mileage and serviceability of the engine.

Today, replacing an engine and having everything work as it’s supposed to is a job for only the BEST mechanics. Be sure to check the heater, defroster, air conditioner, cruise control, all the dashboard gauges and instruments. Does the check engine light function as it should…The devil is in the details…

My daughter had a problem at one point after an oil change by a large oil company that shall remain unnamed but the first part of the name starts with “fire” and the last part rhymes with “bone”.

She calls me, I head over and found the oil plug was missing. That can’t be a coincidence so I called the stoners.
They said that 99 percent of the time, the plug is just fine and there aren’t any problems at all.
In other words “it is very unlikely it was anything they did…”.

“I don’t know what’s more scary: that you kept track of a statistic like this or the fact that you think that this statistic is a good record because a ninety nine percent success rate means that one in one hundred cars you change the oil in will have that plug fall out…”.
Well, after a bit of back and forth, they agreed to change the engine with a low mile one. They weren’t happy but they wanted to keep her as a customer - yeah, like that will happen. They acted like they did us all this huge favor.

After we got it back and she had been driving for a week or two, she calls me again. “It is making a weird clanging noise…”. No lights were on and it accelerated normally. She was only two miles away so I told her to get it to my driveway. First thought was that the replacement engine was junk.

After she shut it off, it would not restart again.

Looking at it, all the driveplate bolts had walked out. It had physically torn the driveplate to pieces and bits were flopping round. The last bolt and part of the driveplate were holding on for dear life and she must have just made it to my driveway when the bolt finally snapped off.
I decided to just yank the engine and redo it myself. Morons that think a 99 percent ‘bolts tightened properly’ record is perfectly good can’t be trusted with cars. The driveplate being held in with four bolts, two studs, two nuts and various other fasteners to mount an engine, you’re playing with fire thinking that stuff is snugged up tightly. That’s just statistically less probable at a place like that.
The torque converter was jacked up but after some retapping of holes, it all went together fine.

Long story short: do not have them replace your engine!

You deserve and they owe you a brand new crate engine from Honda. If you had an older car with a lot more miles, then a reman or used engine would be justified, but you have what is essentially a new car, so you should get a new engine.

I think they only have to bring the car up to what it was before they damaged it, so putting in a used engine of about the same condition and miles at their expense is about all you can expect. You could reasonably argue they should give you a warranty the same as you had before. And they should guarantee it will pass emissions if you have that requirement in your state. That will give them incentive to make sure it is a good engine before they stick you with it. You’ll have to check w/Honda about how it affects the original warranty. That may give you add’l leverage with the insurance company. You won’t walk away whole in any event, b/c of all the time this is costing you. But there’s not much that can be done about that.

I’m assuming they are providing a free rental car while all this takes place. If not, I think you should ask them. One other thing you might check into is how or if this affects the car’s title. I think the car serial # is pegged to the engine serial number somehow or the other, both for theft protection and emissions. You might want to call Honda and the DMV to see how this works when you change-out the engine.

It’s a pain, but it could have been worse. My cousin parked her car at the airport and when she came back from her trip, the car wouldn’t start. She popped the hood and the entire engine was gone! It was the middle of winter, -10 Degees! Somebody stole the engine! That makes for a bad day. And I heard on the news just today about someone who used one of the oil change places for his motorcycle, and he says the drain plug wasn’t tighted properly and jiggled loose while he was driving it away from the place, oil ran out, locked the engine, and causes a crash. That makes for even a worse day.

I hear about this oil change problem quite often. You’d think they’d train the folks doing the work to check and double check that the drain plug is tight and not leaking. After all not is it a big problem for the customer, but it is a big expense to the oil change place in the form of customers disinclilned to use the service, and increased insurance premiums.

There’s one upside: This may give you incentive to get someone to show you how to change your own oil! On most econoboxes it isn’t particularly difficult provided you have the correct equipment, and only takes 1/2 hour - 45 minutes to do.

I think that you should contact your auto insurer, tell them the story, and ask for advice. They might be willing and able to help. For instance, they may be able to tell yo if a used engine will affect value. They might even represent you against the other insurer.

I also think that the oil change shop should provide a new engine since the mileage is so low. Don’t give them any ultimatums. that is too much like extortion, and they will block anything you want after that. Instead, play on their sympathy and tell them that you never thought that this would happen in their shop. The last part is when you talk to the oil change company. When you talk to the insurer, make sure they understand that you will not accept a used engine. If all else fails and you are still representing yourself, try to get the oil change franchise to pay the difference for a new engine.

And they should provide you with a rental car while all this goes down. Not for a week or two, but until the issue is settled and you have your car back with the new engine.

If everything else fails, and I do mean everything, burn all your bridges, take no prisoners, and hire a lawyer.

If the car had a 100k miles on it then I might say a boneyard engine may be suitable (assuming it’s good) but an '09 model with only about 20k miles should get a new crate engine.
Just consider it punitive damages… :slight_smile:

I agree with OK…And a Honda dealer should be the one installing the engine…I would talk to a lawyer before I accepted less…

If the car had a 100k miles on it then I might say a boneyard engine may be suitable (assuming it's good) but an '09 model with only about 20k miles should get a new crate engine. Just consider it punitive damages......... :-)

I also agree with that.

Add me to the agrees. If they don’t want to be paying for new crate engines installed by dealerships, then they should pay more to get more competent techs so that engines aren’t wrecked in the first place. They don’t get a free pass for cheaping out on the front end by not being held accountable for the problems it causes.

+1 that you should hold out for a new Dealer-installed engine. There’s just no excuse for not being able to do an oil change correctly and ruining your engine, and they should not be allowed to get off by fobbing a used engine onto you.