Fix or Sell 2011 CX-9 with blown engine?

Looking for advice here. I have a 2011 Mazda CX-9 with roughly 135K miles. The water pump failed unnoticed and the engine blew a head gasket contaminating the engine block with coolant. Long story, the thing kept starting up after shutting off on its own to try and save itself and bit the dust. The vehicle is well maintained (just serviced in fact) and the mechanics’ inspections show no real problems other than the engine. The recommendation from two mechanics is to replace the engine with a used one with about half the mileage and a 1yr warranty. But cost to fix is 11K which is more than the car is worth and almost what I paid for it a year ago. I can get very little for it as is probably for the same reason. We tend to keep cars for a long time (have a '95 Accord and an 06 Highlander too) so if I fix it, would probably keep it for a while. What are your thoughts? Should I “double down” on the CX-9 or take my losses?

I always tell people under these circumstances, if you’re unable to to perform the repair yourself, and are going pay someone else to do it, walk away.

I forgot to add.

You have to remember, when the engine overheated, so did the transmission.



It seems you have two choices

  1. Pay the $11k and continue to drive your CX-9 with the same insurance and road tax.
  2. Pay more for a newer car, and drive it with increased insurance and road tax.

The best choice depends on how much you like the CX-9 compared to the newer car you would buy. Would you like newer car better? Probably has more safety features and likely will be more reliable. But anytime you buy a new car, it’s a crap shoot how much you’ll end up liking it , or not. Or would you like the CX-9 better, your thinking in part is the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t?

$11k for a used replacement engine seems a little more than I’d expect. If you are on the fence, maybe get a few more estimates. If it were a Mazda 3, I’d be more inclined to repair & keep it than for a CX-9 myself, but that’s just me.

You have a used car . Why buy a NEW motor
Many used motors have been installed with no issues.
Buying a “new”, as in different motor is never hassle free.
It could end up netting you more money in the end.
Vs selling car as is

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Seems they already agree with you in the original post-

$11k for a used engine is beyond absurd. Especially because that only gets you what, a 1-year warranty? If you can’t get a used engine installed for $5k or less, I would bail on this vehicle. Tow it home and post it for sale on Craigslist as a “mechanic special” which “needs the engine rebuilt or replaced”. Ask for $2500 obo, and be prepared to go as low as $1500. Someone who can DIY will buy this, fix it, and drive it.

Things cost a lot these days.

It kept starting up on its own?

A lot of the cost for your new/newer engine is the labor. As the trans has to come out too. I believe it is close to two days of labor, depending on where you are. My mechanic charges $175/hr.
I feel for you as we had the same exact car and it is a great car, but knowing the Ford engine issue, I got rid of it at around 60K miles.
I will say, Hyundai just put in a new engine in ours because of the class action lawsuit. Their techs do 2-3 engines a day and have a lot of experience but even then, after we have gotten the car back, we are having a lot of issues that even though might be coincidental, I think it is probably related to the whole “rocking the boat”.
The engine bottom panels are all messed up with cross threaded bolts and missing parts. The trans cooler lines were crossed, radiator leaking, starter went bad, the list goes on.

The labor time is about 18 hours for replacing (R&R) the long block in the AWD CX-9 Sport and Grand Touring, didn’t look up the other option and don’t know if 3.5L or 3.7L engine or Sub Model…

At $200.00 an hour the labor is only $3600.00… I am guessing the $11,000 is for a reman or new dealer engine…
Could even go with a reman engine from Jasper engines, they have a 3 year/100,000 miles year nationwide warranty parts and labor…

$11k for a Jasper engine (with installation and warranty) would still be high, but not absurd. However, $11k for a junkyard engine (with just a one year warranty) is beyond absurd. It is a very poor investment, because it is more probable than not that the used engine will not last long enough to recoup the cost compared to new or used car loan payments over the same timeframe.

To put this in perspective, I had the engine in my 1991 Toyota Tercel replaced by a Toyota dealer when the car was approximately 11 years old. They offered to install a used engine from a junkyard with a one year warranty for about $3000, and I instead opted to have a new engine installed, which cost about $5800. Of course, there has been a lot of inflation during the past 21 years, but $11k for a junkyard engine is just too much, even ignoring the fact that this particular engine has design defects, and the used engine will probably fail in the not-too-distant future.

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Thanks everyone for your thoughts and advice. Really appreciate your sharing your knowledge and experience! Looking into Jasper and other alternatives but have already decided 11k for a used engine in this car is a no go.

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A used motor from an auto recycler comes with warranty. And you can buy labor warranties to replace a bad motor.
A business that sells motors does not want to sell junk.
There is a market for good used motors.

The OP and others have decided that a used engine is too expensive.

The motor OP found for $11k is too expensive. Car is 12 years old. Might be time to move on

I’m sort of surprised there were brand-new Toyota engines sitting on a shelf somewhere for an 11 year old car. Is this a common occurrence?

That motor was used through the 1994 model year for U.S. market Tercels, and even later in certain foreign markets. U.S. regulations require that the manufacturer supply parts for 10 years, so parts for a 1994 model–which happen to fit the 1991 model–were available until at least 2004.

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That’s a lot of incompetence for $175/hr!

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You could do this and drive the Mazda for a couple of years then sell it if you don’t trust the car to last much longer. At least you will get some use from it before parting ways.

This does not make economic sense, because the (perceived) unreliability of certain models is priced-in to the KBB value. For example, everyone knows that the 2008-2011 GM 3.6L engine is junk, so the value of models with this engine (Enclave, Acadia, Traverse) is depressed. Same thing with the Chrysler 2.7L engine, though those vehicles are so old now that people have largely forgotten.