Should I replace my engine or get rid of the car?

Hi, I have a 1999 Honda Odyssey. It has 140,000 mileage on it. I bought it for $4000 with a rebuilt transmission second hand July 2013. Since then, I have been using and abusing the vehicle and not have done any kind of maintenance on it. As a result, the engine’s first cylinder does not have compression. My mechanic says it needs a new engine that will cost about $2500. It also needs new rotars. I was wondering is it worth fixing or should I just get rid of it and get a new car??? Is there a cheaper way around this such as buying a used engine myself and having a mechanic putting it on??? I don’t know what to do. Please help.

It’s worth virtually nothing with a bad engine. Who, besides a salvage yard would buy it?

Your cheapest way out of this mess is to find a good used engine. Check and (surprisingly) ebay for an engine near you. Another tactic I have had success with is to advertise on craigslist with a WTB (Want To Buy) ad. I successfully advertised for someone to install a convertible top and for a headlight for a rare motorcycle a while back. Someone out there has what you need and can install it for you.

"I bought it for $4000 with a rebuilt transmission second hand July 2013"

Not quite sure what to make of this purchase, but I think the OP may have some unrecognized talents which might prove lucrative if used carefully…

@JackieKim I believe it’s possible the engine has no/low compression because the valves are in dire need of adjustment. They are most likely too tight.

Too tight = low compression and possibly burnt valves

Too loose = noisey

Perhaps they are already burnt, but IMO a valve lash check/adjustment should be attempted before condeming the engine.

You should consider yourself somewhat fortunate, in the sense that Honda valves are rather easily adjusted.

What do I need to look for if I buy my own transmission have someone install it??? How do I know if the used engine is still good?

Well your post doesn’t mention needing a transmission, but if it does, then junk the thing

It doesn;t matter. Because if you “use and abuse and not do any maintenance” on your next engine, whether it’s in this vehicle or a different vehicle, you’ll be back asking the same question nine months from now.

If you don’t maintain a vehicle, its engine will fail. Period. It’s cheaper to maintain it than to replace it regularly. But the choice is entirely yours. Sorry.

“if you “use and abuse and not do any maintenance” on your next engine, whether it’s in this vehicle or a different vehicle, you’ll be back asking the same question nine months from now.”

In addition, I would add that, if the used engine (and transmission??) that you install came from a vehicle that was as badly-maintained as yours was, the “new” engine (and transmission?) may not last long enough to make it worthwhile to install them. Unfortunately, some (or perhaps, many) people do not maintain their cars and you stand a decent chance of buying the cast-offs from somebody else who does not believe in maintenance.

Ok so I have decided I want to try and save the car and get a USED ENGINE not transmission. I am looking online to purchase a new engine but don’t know exactly what to look for??? Am I suppose to look for an engine with the lowest mileage on it? Or should I just bring it to a auto shop and have them look for an engine for me and then install it. I am just thinking about budget and honestly, I don’t have $3000 to get it repaired.

Look for a donor vehicle, good engine, bad transmission and transplant the engine.

why were you considering another transmission?

@JackieKim so you’re not going to try to check/adjust the valves and save your engine?

It wouldn’t cost much to try, and it might help.

Usually a mechanic will try to determine the cause of low/no compression before condemning and replacing an engine.

I agree with @VDCdriver. There is no guarantee that the used engine will be well maintained and in good shape.

If exhaust valves are tight enough to cause low compression, it won’t take long to burn them out.

It’s still worth the attempt. If it doesn’t help, then the exhaust valves are probably burnt, as @EllyEllis said.

Maybe you need to find someone else to service your car. A diagnosis of no compression on one cylinder usually points to a tight valve and that’s certainly no reason to recommend another engine, transmission, or even trading the car off.

This is like stubbing your toe and amputating the leg to make the pain go away.

@ok4450 I’ve pointed that out a few times already, and OP apparently has made up their mind to install a used engine.

Intereting that no one has noticed the date Jackie Kim mentioned she purchased the car other than WesternRoadtripper. I agree with Western that she obviously has some hidden talents, considering that July 2013 hasn’t been reached as yet (obviously she meant 2012). :slight_smile:

Yes thank you for that mistake. The vehicle was purchased july 2012.

The vehicle is making really loud noises. My mechanic has said it is going to lock up at any point so I am assuming he has diagosed the exhaust valves to be burnt already and engine needs replacement.

I don’t need a transmission. For some reason I keep mistaking engine for transmission.

FYI: 4 years back in Maryland it cost me >$900 to get an engine removed and replace (+ other incidentals), and almost $1500 to have a local guy rebuild it in between. Now I don’t know what the prices are now, or in your area, or who is trustworthy, but this looks like it’s going to cost you a “chunk o change” in any case and you might want to assess whether the savings is significant between:

  1. a random used engine that no one’s opened up
  2. an engine where someone took the time/care to examine all the internal parts, replace the ones that need it, and made sure it’s all running smoothly again.

This was on a 1997 Honda Accord that’s never had an internal engine problem since (but plenty of other issues periodically). It’s still less than a new car payment would be, though, so I support not giving up to get another car.