An engine swap involves removing and replacing the existing engine with a different one. Whether it’s due to a failed engine or because you’re looking to upgrade to something more powerful, swapping an engine can be quite expensive.
The cost to swap an engine is usually between $2,000 and $8,000. However, some people spend $20,000 or more, depending on the price of the new engine and transmission.
The labor cost for an engine swap is typically around $2,000, and the rest of the price tag depends on the parts that you choose.
- How Much Does it Cost to Swap an Engine?
- Labor Costs to Swap an Engine
- Reasons to Swap an Engine
- Engine Swap Versus Engine Rebuild
- Can You Swap a Gas Engine with a Diesel?
- The Bottom Line
How Much Does it Cost to Swap an Engine?
The cost to swap an engine depends on a few key factors. The biggest variable is, of course, the new engine. You may choose to swap your engine for another engine that’s made for your vehicle’s make and model, or you may choose to go with something completely different.
For example, people trying to build performance cars usually want a more powerful engine than what came in their vehicle from the factory.
Other factors include the transmission and other parts, the labor, and what kinds of tools you may need for the job. When all these costs are figured in, the total price to swap an engine can be anywhere from $2,000 to $8,000+.
If you take your vehicle to a garage and have the engine replaced with another stock engine, then the price will probably be on the lower end of that cost estimate, in the $2,500 – $5,000 range for the parts and labor. On the other hand, some people spend $10k or $20k (or more!) on the engine alone.
With so much potential variation, it’s difficult to give an exact price for the job. So, let’s look at the different factors that contribute to the price for swapping an engine.
Replacement Engine ($500 – $10k)
The biggest investment and the most important choice you’ll make in the engine swap process is your new engine. Not only is it probably going to be your biggest expense, but it will also have an impact on how much the rest of the swap is going to cost.
For example, if you choose an engine that doesn’t fit your vehicle exactly, you’re going to incur a lot of additional expenses due to the extra work to install it.
The quality and performance will also have a big impact on the engine’s price. This is where you’ll need to determine your budget and figure what factors are most important to you. A higher quality engine may cost more initially, but it may end up saving you money in the long run.
It’s a good idea to select an engine that fits your intended use for the vehicle. How much power does it need? How much torque? These are factors that will impact the price as well as how much value you get out of the finished product.
The engine’s brand, features, and specifications are all going to contribute to the price. Whether it’s a used or remanufactured engine will also affect the price.
You’ll have to decide what’s most important to you and what you need for your vehicle in order to choose the right one for your budget and situation.
Whether you go with a short block, long block, or complete engine will also determine the price for your new engine.
A short-block engine may be cheaper, but it only comes with about one-third of the parts and components that you’ll need. It doesn’t include cylinder heads or a head gasket. That means that you’ll have to spend more money buying these parts to complete the job.
If you go with a long block engine, it will have almost everything you need, including cylinder heads (unlike the short block). But, you’ll still have to purchase some of the necessary parts to finish the installation.
A complete engine will have everything that you need to swap the engine and you won’t have to go hunt down any extra parts. Of course, this is the most expensive option of the three, but it’s far more convenient and can end up being cheaper than buying everything separately.
Sample Engine Prices
|Sample Engine/Vehicle Type||Sample Engine Size||Sample Price Estimate|
|Honda/Acura K20||4-cylinder/2000cc||$1,000 (short block)|
|2002 Honda Accord||2.3L VTEC||$3,225 (remanufactured)|
|2004 Chevy Silverado 1500||4.8L||$1,400 (used)|
|2007 Ford Mustang||4.6L||$2,300 (used)|
|2007 Ford Mustang||4.6L||$3,300 (remanufactured)|
|2010 Honda Civic||2.0L||$2,500 (used)|
|2010 Honda Civic||2.0L||$3,360 (remanufactured)|
|2011 Jeep Wrangler||3.8L||$2,800 (used)|
|2012 Lexus LS460||4.6L||$6,900 (remanufactured)|
|2014 Mazda 3||2.0L||$1,100 (used)|
|2017 Mini Cooper||2.0L, S-model||$3,500 (used)|
|2001 Pontiac Firebird||3.8L||$2,300 (remanufactured)|
|2003 Subaru Impreza||2.5L||$1,800 (used)|
|2003 Subaru Impreza||2.5L||$3,375 (remanufactured)|
|2005 Toyota Camry||2.4L||$1,850 (used)|
|2005 Toyota Camry||2.4L||$3,000 (remanufactured)|
Replacement Transmission ($250 – $3,000)
Depending on the engine, you may or may not need to replace the transmission. If you don’t need to, then you will save quite a bit of money. Even if you do need a new one, however, you can save some money by going to a junkyard or salvage yard to find the new part.
If you’re looking to upgrade to a performance transmission, you should plan to spend a little more. Many people who swap their engine choose to convert their vehicle to a manual transmission if it’s not already.
Swap Kit or Parts Cost ($100 – $5,000)
There are many, many parts and components that go into swapping an engine. If you don’t have all the right ones, it may seem like a huge bill to purchase a swap kit.
One option is to go to a junkyard and find the parts you need one by one. Not only is this a time-consuming and tedious task, but you have no guarantee that the parts will fit or function correctly.
The price for an engine swap kit depends on the engine. It may be a few hundred dollars or several thousand. Either way, it will be worth it to know that you have the correct parts for the engine and everything you need for the job.
Other Expenses ($100 – $6,000+)
It’s easy to forget about all the other vehicle components that interact with your drivetrain. However, there may be other parts that need to be replaced when you swap out your engine.
This may include things like a new fuel pump, a new fuel tank venting system, regulator, exhaust, and so on.
The price for these parts will depend on what exactly needs to be changed, the type of parts you replace them with, and your vehicle’s specifications. Still, it’s important to consider these costs before you start the swapping process.
The year, make, and model of the vehicle will be another big factor when determining the price to swap the engine.
There are many other parts and components that go along with putting in a new engine, and all of them will be cheaper and easier to find in more common vehicles. However, a luxury import or rare vehicle will have higher prices for virtually any parts that you need.
Similarly, standard, mass-produced cars have standard-sized components that make it much easier to remove and replace the engine and other components.
Custom, luxury, high-end, or performance vehicles typically result in a more labor-intensive job that will require more care and time. Additionally, the work may require certain skills that the auto shop will charge a premium for.
Labor Costs to Swap an Engine
If you have your engine swapped at a garage, you should plan to spend around $2000 for labor. Most mechanics charge $85-$125 per hour for labor. Swapping an engine is no small task, and it can take anywhere from 20 to 80 hours to do the work.
If the technician runs into other problems that need to be addressed or repair work that needs to be done outside the scope of the engine swap, then you should expect that number to increase.
|Minimum Price Estimate||$800 – $1,300|
|Maximum Price Estimate||$4,000 – $8,000+|
|Average Price Estimate||$1,750 – $2,500|
If you’re swapping your existing engine for the same one or just a higher-performance version of the same engine, the labor cost will probably be on the lower end. The engine should fit into the existing bay with ease and many of the components will be compatible with the new parts.
If it’s a different engine, but it’s a common type of motor or one that has engine swap kits available, it may be in the mid-range for labor costs.
The most expensive engine swaps will be those with a lot of customization, engine swaps that haven’t been done before, or those that need a very high level of skill to perform.
Reasons to Swap an Engine
Most people purchase a car and never even consider changing out the engine. So, why do other owners decide to invest in such a costly vehicle upgrade or repair? Sometimes, owners are looking to increase their vehicle’s power and performance, but there are other reasons to consider swapping an engine as well.
The vehicle is very rare or an antique
In this case, an original engine would be very difficult to obtain. If the engine needed to be replaced, an engine swap would be the only option.
It’s too expensive to rebuild the engine
If the engine fails, the owner may find that the cost to rebuild it exceeds the cost to swap it out for a new one.
In that case, it makes sense to swap the old engine for something more updated and with better performance.
The current engine isn’t reliable
There are some vehicles out there that are known for having reliability issues even when they’re in great condition.
If the owner wants to keep the vehicle, they may decide to swap the engine for something more reliable for daily driving.
Towing and off-road capabilities
Some owners decide to swap their engines for diesel to improve their off-road performance and towing capabilities.
In that case, they can keep their luxury import vehicle but have the benefits of a diesel-powered engine.
Adding on parts and upgrading the stock engine is one way to add power and performance, but it can get really expensive.
Sometimes, it’s a more economical option to swap the engine out for a more powerful motor.
Engine Swap Versus Engine Rebuild
If your engine fails, you may find yourself making a decision between rebuilding your current engine or swapping it out for a new one. Understanding the cost difference between these two options will help you make the best decision.
Rebuilding an engine typically costs between $2,500 and $4,000. In some cases, this will be the best option to give you a like-new motor at a potentially lower cost than replacing it altogether. However, if there’s more extensive damage, the cost can go up significantly.
If the crankshaft is damaged or cylinder heads need to be replaced, it will be more expensive.
In some situations, a rebuild might not be an option. For example, if the engine block itself is cracked or the engine has seized, you’ll have to swap it out for a new one.
Can You Swap a Gas Engine with a Diesel?
When you’re selecting your replacement engine, you’ll need to make sure it’s compatible with your vehicle and its existing components, unless you want to replace even more parts.
One of the most important factors is whether the engine is gas or diesel-powered. Some people may want to swap their gas engine for a diesel.
It is possible to swap a gas engine for a diesel engine, but the job is more complex and expensive. There are many extra considerations with this type of swap that you should be aware of.
The fuel savings and additional power that you can get with a diesel engine may be appealing, but there will be extra costs up front that you’ll need to plan for.
Keep these things in mind:
The engine’s weight
Diesel engines are heavier than gasoline engines, so you’ll need to ensure that the existing structure can support the additional weight.
The engine’s dimensions
You’ll need to carefully check the engine’s dimensions against the vehicle’s engine bay. The diesel engine may not fit exactly the same as the original motor.
Transmission and Rear Axle
If the diesel engine is going to have more horsepower and torque, you’ll need to ensure that the existing transmission and rear axle can handle the additional power and forces.
You will likely need to adjust and/or upgrade these components.
The vehicle’s electronics
If the new diesel engine is electronically controlled (most modern engines are), then you’ll need to ensure that the connections are compatible with your existing transmission.
There are specific regulations and laws regarding diesel emissions that don’t apply to standard gas-powered engines. If you swap your motor for diesel, you may need to have your vehicle inspected or go through emissions testing. These laws vary by state, so you’ll need to check your local regulations.
The Bottom Line
Doing an engine swap on your vehicle is a major project that will require a significant investment of time and money. Most people spend at least $2,000 if they’re swapping a standard, mass-produced engine for another stock engine.
The price goes up significantly for more power, performance, and customizations.
The biggest factor for price is the engine itself. The type, brand, and specifications that you choose will all have a big impact on the price. Depending on your needs and preferences, it may be worth it to pay more for certain features and capabilities.
If you’re swapping the engine because you want more power and performance, then you’re probably already expecting to pay more of a premium price for high-performance parts.
On the labor side, most people pay at least $2,000 to have their engine swapped. It’s a time-consuming job that may take up to 20 hours. This means that your car will be in the shop for several days, so you should expect a significant labor bill.
However, you may be able to save some money by doing some of the work yourself. It’s always a good idea to shop around and get multiple estimates before you choose an auto shop.
Consider the shop’s reputation and what kind of warranty they offer for parts and labor. These are important factors that will add value to the work.
Once you have estimates and a good idea of what the job will cost, you need to think about whether the price tag is worth it for your situation. If you’re looking for improved performance, it may be more cost-efficient to purchase a new vehicle or rebuild your existing engine.
Everyone’s situation is different, so you’ll need to use all the available information to make the best decision for you.