Should I replace my engine or try to sell it "as is"?

I drive a 2004 Toyota Corolla S model and have unfortunately received the news that I should replace the engine. My car has 98,000 miles on it. This is due to lack of oil and driving like a maniac, unfortunately. The bearings have been stripped and the oil pan was full of metal shavings. The shop recommended I replace the engine with a used one with only 44,000 miles. Along with that they will replace the timing belt and some hoses, etc. All totaling $3500-3800. (Engine is $1400, $110/hour labor x 16-18 hours + parts). After researching the value of the car in good condition on KBB (private), I see that it’s worth around $5000. Not sure how much it would be worth if I tried to sell it “as is”. Maybe $2000? Any suggestions on if it’s worth replacing the engine?

I don’t knpw where you live, but I would shop around for cheaper labor. Some of the wrecking yards in my area have people who change engines for them at a flat rate that is much less expensive than your quote

A little econobox like that with a bad motor from lack of maintenance and maniacal driving habits? You’d be doing well to get $500 for it.

As noted, the price is steep. You’d be better off getting a couple more quotes, getting the engine done, and just continuing to drive it - but in a sane manner with an eye to maintenance.

Shop around for another estimate to replace this engine. The hourly rate and estimate for labor time is astronomical. I think they are quoting you for replacing the short block. Are they doing that or replacing the complete engine? Complete engine replacement would be a little more than half the labor, since they don’t have to transfer the head, manifolds, etc. It would be unusual for a salvage yard to sell just a short block, which is why I ask. I also wouldn’t transfer that head, if they intend to do so, without replacing the camshaft, bearings, and possibly performing a valve job since the car’s been ran low on oil and beaten.

A 2004 Corolla is worth a lot more than $500, even with a blown engine. My 1998 Civic with a blown engine (still driveable) and 160K miles sold for $1300 on Craigslist.

Unless you have body damage or other problems, you should be able to get $1500-$1800 no problem.

Does the car still run after an oil change? How is the compression in the cylinders?

I don’t see this car being worth more than 3-500 dollars with a trashed engine and from the sound of things it may have been beaten into the pavement and not even worth that.
“Lack of oil and driving like a maniac” is what leads me to this conclusion.

The hourly labor rate could be about right depending on what part of the country you live in. Labor rates on the east and west coasts are generally higher than other parts of the country.
The labor time in the number of hours seems high to me but if that’s what the flat rate manual gives for both an engine R & R and a timing belt change along with incidentals then it could very well be about right.

I thought the newer (post '96) Corolla engines all use timing chains, not timing belts.
If so, you’re mechanic might be confused.


“lack of maintenance and maniacal driving habits” being the key.

I wouldn’t even pay the $500.

Let’s see, the car was maintained and driven in such a way that it toasted the engine by 98K. Is the transmission really far behind? What about everything else?

I wasn’t talking about a “hypothetical” '04 Corolla. I was talking about this completely abused one.

Replace the engine. You are likely to destroy it anyway, and this is about the least expensive way to start driving again.

The biggest reason as stated, to replace a car is the body/chassis condition. That’s where the safety aspect lies. If the body is in excellent condition, do it but shop around.

We still have dealers offering 3000, push pull or drag trade in, Maybe an option?

I got 2k for a toyota echo with a busted manual trans that would have cost me thousands to fix. The guy that bought it got a junker transmission and put it in himself for about 400 bucks. A good deal all around. I would sell as is.

While I don’t doubt that some have gotten four figure amounts for 6 year old cars with totally destroyed engines, I don’t think the expectation of doing so should be a factor in the decision. Personally, I’d assume no more than $500 and hope to get lucky.

And, since the car has apparently been beaten to within an inch of its life, I’d try to get $500 for it rather than replacing the engine. The chances of having other major problems such as having to replace the tranny in the immediate future is probably extremely high.

I want to commend the OP for his honesty and forthrightness. I respect a man who takes “ownership” of his own self-induced problems. I tip my hat to you.

Sell it and be as honest to any prospective buyer as you were here. Then go and lease your next vehicle and turn it in after the minimum lease expires. Some folks don’t appreciate cars and beat the crap out of them, ignore maintenance, and then pass their problems on to someone else. You seem to one of those folks . . . just lease a cheap econobox, do their required maintenance, and enjoy your life. Not trying to judge you here . . . you owned up to why you are where you are with this vehicle, good for you. Sell it or junk it, but be honest with the next owner. Rocketman