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Can you trade in a car with engine problems or even one that isn’t running at all? Repairs can be costly and likely to not make a positive impact on your trade-in value.

Believe it or not, your car, van, or SUV doesn’t have to start or run to be worth money. If you’d like to get money for your car with a blown engine now, click here to get an instant value calculation.

So today, we’re going to cover a few things you should know about trading in a car with mechanical problems.


Our expert evaluators can help you get an accurate estimate for your car's value, FAST!

How to Determine the Value of a Car with a Blown Engine

Engine problems in your car don’t automatically mean you have a blown engine, but they are often signs of impending engine failure. If you neglect to address these signs of engine problems in your vehicle, it could likely lead to a blown engine.

The most common cause of a blown engine is a loss of fluids, whether by a sudden loss or a gradual leak. However, anything that results in overheating in the engine could cause it to blow. Signs of a blown engine include:

  • White smoke coming from the engine

  • Water or antifreeze in the oil chamber

  • Grinding or metallic noises when the engine turns

  • The engine refuses to turn

  • Extremely low compression in the cylinders

vehicle being towed away to a junkyard

Engine replacement costs for most cars can range between $3,000 and $5,000 on average. Depending on how complex the engine is, the costs can jump upwards to $6,000. Most four-cylinder vehicles, however, will need around $4,000 to complete a total engine replacement.

If your vehicle is 15 years old or more, then $4,000 may be more than the car’s actually worth. That money would be better off put towards a new vehicle, but what do you do with your car without an engine?

The fastest and easiest way to determine your car’s value is to use the online pricing tool here at CarBrain. Even if you’re not planning to sell it right away, we’ll give you a guaranteed, top-dollar offer in just 90 seconds on practically any vehicle.

It doesn’t matter whether your car is totaled, has a salvage title, or major damage, we’ll give you an instant online quote to set your baseline price.

If you’re comfortable with our offer let us know, and we’ll send a tow truck out to pick up your vehicle for FREE and put payment in your hand within 24-48 hours. Depending on your location, you might qualify for same day pickup.

We’re committed to making it as easy as possible to get rid of your old clunker and put cash in your pocket.

Trading in A Car With A Bad Engine

Once you’ve got a baseline idea of what your car is worth from CarBrain, selling it becomes much easier. Most local dealers will give you very low trade-in values on a car with damage, and much lower if it isn't running.

Since used car dealers sell cars in pristine condition, they will have to sink large amounts of money in order to flip your car. As a result, they won't give you much value on a car trade-in.

And all those valuable parts and features we talked about before? They might try to tell you those parts are worthless since they’re just going to scrap your car anyway.

In reality, those parts are where many local junkyards make their biggest profits. Especially if they’re advertising themselves as “you-pick” junkyards. They’re almost certainly going to sell those parts for extra cash.

But if you’re in a hurry, and you decide to trade in a car that needs work to a local dealer, make sure they include towing.

Some junkyards try to charge for towing. But practically all of the cars they buy aren’t running, so they should be prepared to pick up your vehicle.

Who Buys Cars With Blown Engines?

When it comes down to selling your vehicle with a blown engine, you have a few options. However, which option you choose depends on your needs:

  1. Junkyard/Scrap Yard: Faster sale. Lower payout.

    Junkyards and scrap yards specialize in taking in undesirable vehicles. You’ll likely get the vehicle’s weight in scrap metal as payment, because these yards make their money off buying low and then selling the individual components for more profit.

  2. Dealership: Faster sale. Lower payout.

    Dealerships will allow you to trade-in your car with its blown engine. They specialize in vehicles that are roadworthy and ready to be sold. An engineless car isn’t their first choice, so they are likely to give you an extremely low offer. Furthermore, the offer might be in the form of credit on a new vehicle from that exact dealership (as opposed to cash you can spend anywhere).

  3. Private Buyer: Slow sale. Potential for higher payout.

    Selling your car to a private individual is a great way to get more money for your engineless car. Sifting through prospects in order to find a serious buyer can be a long and frustrating process.

get a check for your blown engine car

As a final option, there's us. CarBrain is one of the most trusted names in the industry, with a nationwide network of approved junk car buyers. We have a web-based pricing tool designed to get you the best possible offer on your car with mechanical issues within 90 seconds.

CarBrain offers:

  • FREE towing in 24-48 business hours
  • Quotes that are guaranteed for seven days
  • Top-quality customer service to help you through the process
  • On-the-spot payment when we pick up your vehicle!

Rather than calling every junkyard in town and haggling for the best price on your car, you can just sell your vehicle directly online.

Why not get a free online quote from CarBrain? Our experts have made over a million offers on less-than-perfect cars and we’re happy to help you get rid of a car that isn’t running!

Need answers? Get FREE advice from our client care experts NOW!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Trade In A Car With A Blown Engine?

If you have a non-running car, you are probably wondering, “Can you trade in a car with a bad engine?” The simple answer is yes, you can.

While a used car dealership will allow you to trade in your broken vehicle, you won’t be taking home a large check at all. Other options that might net a larger payout are selling your car to a junkyard or parting it out.

How Much Is A Car Worth With A Blown Engine?

You would be right if you thought that the trade in value of a car with a bad engine was worth less than one that worked just fine. But, it’s hard to determine the exact value without a professional evaluation. Often, a car with a blown engine is worth its weight in scrap metal, the price of which can vary based on location, time of year, and supply-and-demand.

Who Buys Cars With Blown Engines?

If you’re looking to sell your car with a blown engine, you’re in luck. Various companies and regular drivers are interested in cars that don’t work. Used car dealerships, salvage yards, and car hobbyists all find value in broken cars.

It’s important to note that many companies do not provide complimentary towing services. You may be taking a hit to your profit because of towing fees.

How Do You Sell A Car With A Dead Engine?

Selling a car with a dead engine usually becomes a matter of selling a car for its scrap metal.

You first have to decide who you want to sell to: selling to a dealership might be quick and easy, but you are not likely to get the most money there. On the other hand, you can place a listing online. This way, you can negotiate with private buyers over the price but this may be a longer process.

How Do You Know Your Engine Is Blown?

A faulty engine will display symptoms of its decline. Once several of these symptoms show themselves, you can assume your engine is on its last legs. These are the most common signs that your engine needs repair:

  • You hear knocking noises coming from the engine.
  • The engine behaves inconsistently when in use.
  • You can smell exhaust when you drive.
  • You’re burning through fuel faster.
  • There are oil puddles under your vehicle.
  • There is black, gray or even blue smoke coming out of the exhaust.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace An Engine?

Engine replacement costs can range between $3,000 and $5,000 on average. Depending on the complexity of the engine, the costs can increase to $6,000, but the average cost for engine replacement is around $4,000.
For what it’s worth...

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