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Benefits of purchasing used engines for foreign model cars

It's a fact: Americans are flocking to the brand names of Japanese manufacturers based on a slew of consumer report information about the performance of Japanese made cars. Whether that information is out of date is somewhat beside the point: consumers choose brands based on a wide variety of factors and many times based on issues like image and "collectivity". Whatever the cause, American drivers are scooping up Toyotas, Hondas and Nissans in every model year and driving them until they bust: whether a '99 Camry is still trundling down the road, or an '06 Celica is involved in a light front-end fender bender and shelved, there are a lot of foreign cars out there. With the proliferation of these cars on the road, the used parts markets are flourishing. Not the least of these is the trade in used engines; the full range of Toyota and Honda engines are bought and sold online, from USDM (US Domestic Markets) and JDM (Japanese Domestic Markets).

A quick glance at a used auto parts site will reveal a long list of foreign car engines in a variety of sizes and styles, with their own specific price tags and "Buy Now" buttons. Industry writers refer to the foreign car engines for Toyotas, Hondas, etc. as JDM engines, since the brands are originally Japanese. In many cases, used engines are shipped from Japan to the U.S.

for second-hand use. Reports that the Japanese are prohibited from driving their engines more than 40,000 miles have added to the appeal of buying a JDM used engine. The benefits of buying a used engine are mostly economic. Many online vendors offer a range of used foreign car engines starting at several hundred dollars. Drivers whose ride has left them stranded do the math, and clearly, purchasing a used engine can be much cheaper than replacing your car, even with the costs of labor for installation. When a driver connects with a good seller to get the right foreign car engine for their car, with the right accessories and a good strategy for installation, the costs are even lower.

The important thing is to be able to verify that the replacement engine won't be a "lemon", in the parlance of the auto industry. Sellers use various methods to reassure their customers. Some offer a warranty on a used engine: others use certified staff and used engine checks. Some offer a mix of both: representatives talk to buyers to find out what they need to make a deal work. In addition, some sellers offer re-manufactured or refurbished engines that are sent back to a manufacturer or other shop where they are re-worked back to the original specifications. The difference between a used engine and a re-manufactured engine depends largely on how far the used engine has gone afield of the original specifications through issues like low oil pressure, bad rod or piston alignment, or other issues of wear over time.

Different situations call for different solutions: a more cautious driver will want a long-term warranty or a re-manufactured engine, while a customer with a low-rent shop or their own tools and space will want to take a chance on a cheap used engine, which in some cases are pulled from damaged vehicles. When buyers choose to take the gamble on a direct-sale of a used engine, they might come up holding all of the cards; a replacement engine can give you thousands of more miles on a vehicle. On the other hand, there could be problems; the lack of a complete standard for the sale could mean your shop might have to do a little improvisation, and those labor costs could climb quickly as mechanics struggle to fit manifolds, heads, gaskets, or other accessories onto the bargain engine. It helps to have a plan for how the compressor, computer equipment, and transmission will be attached.

Your mechanic can tell you what will make the job easier; having a frank discussion about how the engine will be installed and what parts might be needed will help you both expedite the process. When you think about the process of buying a used engine, keep a kind of "timeline" in mind. You'll start with the purchase; how long the engine will take to reach you, and how long it will take to settle the financial end.

Then, you'll consider what happens when the engine reaches your shop. Finally, you'll want to keep in touch with the service staff to get an update on how things are going. Just as a mechanic can help you with installation issues, a seller can help you troubleshoot before you buy.

By: Brian Hanson: Specializing in wholesale used engines, transmissions, and fuel injectors. Brian Hanson's world famous company Got Engines Inc. consists of 27 combined years of automotive experience and excellence.

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