Dealer Wants to Replace Engine with a Questionable Engine

I bought an 02 Celica 4 months ago with 64K miles on it. The engine just took a poop. Thank goodness it still had the 5 month/5,000 mile warranty! Dealer I bought it from (not Toyota) wants to replace the engine with one that has 70K miles on it. I’m having a hard time swallowing this. Can they really do this with an engine with more miles than was on my original engine?? I know it’s only a couple thousand miles but it still doesn’t seem right. Can anyone offer me any insight or advice?? Hubby says to contact a lawyer. I’d rather not go that route just yet.

I think that you are really splitting hairs over a difference of 6,000 miles on an engine for a car that is already at least 6 years old. When you consider how much legal fees would cost you, I believe that you will come out as a loser monetarily if you hire a lawyer to demand an engine with fewer miles. And, litigation will only delay the repair process. At least the dealer is honoring the warranty, unlike many others that have been reported on this site.

Yes, they can do this. Their obligation is to make you “whole”, meaning you drive off with a car as good as you drove in with, not to give you a new engine. A few thousand miles more on the engine is insufficient to be considered significant.

I’m curious, what exactly happened to the engine?

I would say that if 12k miles per year is the “norm”, any engine with up to 72k miles on it would be considered “quite reasonable” for a car this age. So long as the replacement engine has a full warranty (5/5, and not whatever’s left on the old one), I think you should go for it. If the dealer only offers the remaining 1 month/x miles on it, I’d complain.

You don’t need a lawyer. The engine with 70K miles on it is a reasonable replacement for the one that pooped out. Most cars today run for 150 - 200K with proper care. The difference between 64K and 70K is nothing.

If this were an insurance job the installer would need to install an engine with less miles but that is a different story. I do not know how common this engine is but if it is specific to the Celica it might be slim pickens on finding one with less miles.

What I would be curious about is why an '02 Celica engine with only 64k miles on it went south.
If the engine went bad from not checking the oil, continued operation with it overheating, or a screwup by an oil change facility then you’re lucky (very) they’re even doing anything for you at all.

It is a used car less than 5mos/5000 miles old. The owner has no idea of previous history likely(the world of used cars).

An 02 just purchased should not burn up its oil enough to ruin the engine in that short period. The selling dealer should have replaced the oil and checked the level prior to selling it. If it did burn up the oil enough to ruin the engine in that period IMHO the engine needed replacement.

Based on many recent complaints from Audi owners, it would definitely be possible to burn enough oil in less than 5k to ruin an engine. Admittedly, the OP is talking about a Toyota, which normally does not have the oil consumption problems that Audis appear to have, but still, it is possible for an engine to burn an excessive amount of oil in less than 5k, especially if it was not well maintained.

Many years ago, I had a '74 Volvo that was purchased new and excellently maintained. By the time that it got to 60k on the odometer, that engine used to burn a qt. of oil every 1k or so. By the time that it got to 70k on the odometer, I used to have to add a qt. of oil every 600 miles. If I hadn’t checked and refilled the oil very frequently, I am sure that the engine would have self-destructed, due to insufficient oil in the crankcase. Incidentally, it did not leak oil, so the oil consumption of that dog was definitely due to oil burning, despite changing the oil every 3k with Pennzoil.

But, of course, this also leads to the inevitable question of whether the OP bothered to check the oil (and the coolant) between the time of purchase and the time of the engine’s unexplained demise. We are still waiting to find out exactly what led to the death of that engine.