Hearing you need a new semi truck engine is not music to any truck owner’s ears. The engine replacement cost and time spent off the road are inconvenient and frustrating.
But at some point, you will have to deal with replacing your truck engine, and the upside is your beloved vehicle will remain on the road for many years to come. So, let’s find out what replacement options are available to make the best decision for your situation.
Semi-Truck Engine Replacement Cost Averages
Prices for refurbished 4-cylinder engines typically start at $3,000 and a refurbished V6 engine will start around $4,000. A more complex refurbished V8 engine usually costs between $6,000 and $8,000.
New engines can run anywhere between $10,000 and $25,000. The exact price depends on the manufacturer, year, size, and any extras the engine may contain.
Using free online calculators can help determine if rebuilding or purchasing a new engine fits best into your budget based on your current operating capacities.
What You Need to Know About Replacing Semi Truck Engines
When it’s time to replace your truck engine you have the choice between a brand-new engine or a rebuilt one. Of course, a new engine comes straight from the manufacturer in perfect condition.
One advantage of a new truck engine is you won’t have to worry about it working with other parts of the vehicle. Another benefit is the warranty that will cover the engine if something goes wrong. However, a brand new engine can be very costly.
However, a rebuilt or refurbished semi truck engine is a less expensive option that will keep you on the road. These engines have already completed their original lifecycle so they have been completely overhauled with new components.
The truck engine is removed, repaired, cleaned, and refinished to restore a vehicle and extend its lifespan. Now you may be wondering why you shouldn’t just buy another truck instead of putting money toward a new engine.
After all, you may find a used truck for less than the price of a brand-new engine, so is replacing the engine the most cost-effective decision?
Is it Worth Replacing an Engine?
In short, the answer is yes, and here are a few reasons why. Financially it’s a good choice as you can avoid taxes and insurance expenses that come with a new vehicle, even if it’s used.
This is especially true for fleet managers who may have several vehicles needing a new truck engine. Thousands of dollars can be saved by simply replacing the engines instead of purchasing new or used trucks.
Used trucks also come with their own set of engine troubles. Remember, the vehicle has already been through a significant amount of wear-and-tear, and so have its parts.
The engine replacement cost will be less than investing in a truck whose engine may go bad and end up costing you much more. At some point though, the inevitable will happen as the engine wasn’t made to run forever, so it’s important to know just how long you have before it’s time to replace your semi truck engine.
How Many Miles Will a Semi Truck Last?
A semi truck engine has a life expectancy of 720,000 to 750,000 miles. Some can make it to the 1 million mile mark, but experts suggest replacing it before that. On average, truck drivers rack up about 45,000 miles per year, which means the truck engine will last for a good 15 years.
What’s High Mileage for a Semi?
The high mileage mark is between 500,000 and one million miles. With that much time spent behind the wheel, you need to know that you can depend on your engine, so which ones are the most reliable?
What Is the Most Reliable Semi Truck Engine?
The most reliable semi truck engine is the one that helps your vehicle perform its best. It’s the engine you need for your work and not the cool one with all the extra bells and whistles you don’t need. You’re in business to make a profit and sinking a large sum of money into an engine just for bragging rights will eat away at your earnings.
That being said, some of the top engine brands recommended by experts are PACCAR, Freightliner/Western Star, Mack, Volvo, and Navistar. These brands have a reputation for durability and longevity among truckers and mechanics.
Once you know it’s time for a new truck engine, you need to determine your budget and figure out if you want to pay to have it rebuilt or buy one brand-new.
Is it Cheaper to Rebuild or Replace an Engine?
Rebuilding an engine is always less expensive than purchasing one fresh off the assembly line. Next, let’s dive deeper into what happens during the replacement process so you know what to expect.
Closer Look Into the Engine Replacement Process
Replacing a truck engine is a huge job that should be left to professionals. Having a trustworthy mechanic on hand will ease the process for you. Expect the replacement to take 10 to 12 hours, and the mechanic may charge anywhere from $90 to $150 per hour.
Whether you’re having a new engine installed or the current engine rebuilt, it can take up to three weeks for the parts to reach the repair shop, so the truck may be out of commission for a longer time than expected.
Once the truck engine has been replaced make sure other components related to the vehicle’s performance are in good working condition. That will maximize the engine’s lifespan and overall life of the truck. Keep in mind that replacing the engine does not reset the truck’s mileage. The odometer will continue to rise as the car’s body technically has that many miles.
3 Ways to Afford a Replacement Engine
Swapping out your engine can put a dent in your savings, but there are a few ways you can keep the engine replacement cost down. Keep reading for some tips that can help you reduce your upfront costs.
If you have unpaid invoices from clients who regularly make their payments on time, you should consider factoring those accounts. A factoring company will essentially purchase your invoices and pay you a percentage, usually 70%-85%, right away.
They will then follow up with your client and collect the remaining payment for you. Once they have the full payment, the factoring company keeps between 1.15% and 4.5%, while the rest is forwarded to you.
Your business credit isn’t checked, but your client’s credit will be run. As long as they have a good payment history, the factoring firm will approve you rather quickly.
That is a great way to have cash readily available to pay for your new or rebuilt semi truck engine. You won’t have to take out a loan and worry about paying back interest rates, instead, you can use factoring to make the payment and keep cash flowing through your business.
Many repair shops offer a financing option to help alleviate the burden of coming up with the entire payment on the spot. The shop may have a bank or a few banking institutions that they work with to obtain a loan that is repaid incrementally.
Your business credit will be checked and must meet the requirements stipulated by the lending institution before you gain access to the capital. Your mechanic knows you need your truck to mﬁake money, and a financing program allows you to get back on the road and make monthly payments to clear the debt.
Working Capital Loans
Working capital loans are finances loaned to businesses during slow seasons to fund daily operational costs. These loans are used to cover payroll, rent, and other debts. The flexible loan option gives small businesses cash needed to cover immediate expenses, like an engine replacement cost.
While a working capital loan can assist with short-term funding, it should be noted that they are demand loans. That means the lender can demand repayment at any time, so think this option through carefully.
Advantages of Replacing a Semi Truck Engine
If you plan on replacing your truck engine here are a few advantages that can help you make an informed decision.
Replacing a truck engine is cheaper than buying an entirely new truck. Monthly payments for a new vehicle are an added expense you may not be ready to take on, and an engine replacement ensures you won’t have to. Your insurance premiums and registration fees won’t increase, and those savings will be added to your business account.
Having your engine replaced is a long-term solution for your problems. Save yourself the time and money consumed by making smaller repairs that only add up over time.
A new replacement engine is usually covered under warranty for 3 years or up to 100,000 miles. Rebuilt engines typically have a warranty period of 24 months, which tends to cover the refurbished parts. You’ll have the peace of mind you need to drive confidently knowing that your purchase is protected should something go wrong.
Better Resale Value
A new engine is a great starting point for a sales pitch should you decide to sell your truck. No matter the age of the vehicle, a new truck engine will instantly let buyers know that the vehicle is in good working condition. Add the cost of the engine to your sales price and get the value you deserve.
Disadvantages of Replacing a Semi Truck Engine
There are also a few disadvantages to replacing your semi truck engine, so let’s look at the cons.
Unfortunately, you might end up with a poorly rebuilt truck engine. The trouble it can cause to the other systems, like the transmission, may cost you more money in the long run.
The older parts reduce the engine’s life and efficiency, defeating the purpose of having a new engine. Do your research and make sure the mechanic knows what they’re doing.
The swap isn’t worth the expense if the engine replacement cost is more than the vehicle’s blue book value. You’d be better off purchasing a new truck than pouring money into a vehicle that likely has other failing systems.
As time progresses technology improves the efficiency of vehicle engines. Not only are newer models greener and contribute to decarbonization, but they’re also much more fuel efficient.
Depending on your truck’s age, it may not be able to fit one of these models, and you’ll have to settle for an older, rebuilt semi truck engine that does more harm to the environment.
Replacement vs Overhaul
An engine overhaul is when the engine is taken apart, cleaned, and any damaged parts are replaced. The truck engine is then put back together and placed in the vehicle.
Overhauling is a great option for those who don’t have the means to pay for a new truck. However, just know that they’re closing in on that 750,000-mile marker or they’re taking their vehicle in for repairs way too often.
An engine replacement is perfect for those vehicles in good condition that will continue to be used for the next few years. While brand-new engines are expensive, a rebuilt one may be a viable option for those looking to save money.
Give Your Semi to a New Life with an Engine Swap
Your truck is your livelihood and if you take care of it, it will take care of you. Get to where you’re going without worrying about breaking down due to engine trouble.
Your truck and clients will thank you as you continue to make deliveries on time. No matter if you go with a rebuilt or completely new semi truck engine, you’re sure to extend the life of your favorite vehicle and enjoy it for several more years.
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