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Should I replace the engine of my son's 2001 Honda Civic?

My son got a 2001 Honda Civic with about 170,000 miles on it. We did all the maintenance, etc and it was running well. He neglected to add oil and blew the engine (threw a rod). My question is it worth repairing?/Is there other damage that could have been caused? ? The car was in really good shape until this happened. The going price for high mileage engines for his model is about $800 and we can get it put in for $500.

If you do buy an used engine see if its possible to hear it run before you by it. does the car have any needs like needing tires or brakes in the near future? I would buget about 3 to 4 hundred for new belts, hoses, gaskets, timing belt. water pump. little stuff if the car is a stick shift time for a new clutch kit. finding anouther usded car for 2 grand is hard to do. if the civic is clean and safe i would put a used engine in it as long as it dosn’t need a ton of other work.

A used engine is always a tough call because you never really know what you’re getting. Note that salvage yards always guarantee their engines; engine that they have never heard run for the most part and ones on which they have no idea about the maintenance or how they were driven.
Any used engine should get a new timing belt kit and water pump before the motor is installed.

A compression or leakdown test on a used engine can help to determine the condition of the top end to a certain extent but will reveal nothing on the lower end. It’s all a roll of the dice so make sure that you and the mechanic are on the same page if you go the used engine route.

I will add that your son needs to be taught to check under the hood on a regular basis and make sure the fluids are full, oil is changed regularly, etc. Otherwise, what has now happened will be repeated at some point in the future.
A connecting rod is seldom thrown without some warning signs; oil pressure light flashing on, knocking sound that becomes progressively worse, etc, etc. Any hint of a problem means to stop then and there instead of motoring on.

I’d tell my son he’s got a problem.

Two things you can do to help get a good used motor. 1) try to get a motor out of a car that was wrecked, preferably rear ended or t boned. It stands to reason the car was running at that time. B) run a carfax on the vin on the motor. Many dealerships / repair shops (not all though) report to carfax. This may give you a better idea of how the car was taken care of.

When I look at this problem financially, I’d probably buy another used 7th generation Civic (2001–2005) and keep the old one for the parts.

When I try to put myself in your shoes as a parent, things get more complicated. I wonder what “He neglected to add oil” means. Do you mean he never changed or checked the oil, and let it go so long that all the oil leaked and burned until there was no oil left in the engine, or do you mean he was changing the oil and forgot to put oil into the car before driving it?

I know you didn’t come here for parenting advice, but there is a pretty big difference between having his heart in the right place and making a mistake (forgetting to put the oil in after draining the oil) and outright neglect (never checking the oil or getting the oil changed until the engine was bone dry); although if he was changing the oil and forgot to add new oil, I’d have to wonder what he was smoking or drinking.

Not everyone is cut out to own (and maintain) a car, and your son might fit this description. If he was changing oil, and forgot the last step, I might forgive him and bail him out this one time with a new engine or a new car. If he just flat out neglected the car until the engine stopped running, bailing him out will keep him from learning a much needed lesson.

I just ran into a similar situation with my son. He picked up a used car about a month and a half ago and it decided to throw a rod bearing. It sounded like a machine gun while running but luckily it happened while he was pulling into his driveway. We went through the same dilema on how to handle the fix.

We went with a short block and after getting a new timing chain set, oil pump, full gasket set, water pump , and a couple other misc. items we had about $800.00 into it. There is a cylinder head exchange here locally and picked one up for $300.00 out the door. Took us a couple weeks working on it after work and on the weekends but basically we got a new motor in the car for less than $1,500.00

$1300 while a kick in the pants can be a repair on another car. Small used cars a hot commodity and you will get your money back in usage or selling this one off eventually after repairing.

Me, I’d just buy a new car. And give the old one to a teenager who needed a car and couldn’t afford one, he wants to do a fix-up instead. Sweat equity and all that. But that’s just me.

As long as you can get an engine installed with a guarantee, like the kind they sell at a recycle yard, I think replacing the engine is a perfectly reasonable way to go.

If it were my kid, I’d front the money for his engine, and then make him install it himself. He’ll learn something about cars, and something about taking care of his valuable possessions. :wink: