Your car is only as reliable as the engine that powers it (and the transmission, of course). If you’ve been sidelined with a damaged engine, replacing it is the only way to get back on the road. However, there are more options than you might realize out there, and it pays to know what each one is, and what it can offer you. Here’s a quick guide to engine replacement terminology and what each option actually means.

New Engines

New engines are not really new. There’s really no such thing. A new engine is the same thing as a crate engine, which is technically the same thing as a remanufactured engine. “New” is just a marketing term.

Remanufactured Engines

Remanufactured engines are the same thing as new or crate engines. They’ve been completely disassembled, all the internal components have been replaced, the housing/casing has been resurfaced, and the entire engine put back together within original OEM specifications. For all intents and purposes, it IS a new engine. Remanufactured engines are the longest lasting options on the market, and make the soundest investments for those who need to put a bit more life in their existing vehicle.

Rebuilt Engines

A rebuilt engine is exactly what it sounds like. In this situation, the engine is pulled from the vehicle, the damaged internal components replaced, and then the engine is reassembled. Only the failed components are replaced, and there is no resurfacing included (generally, speaking). Rebuilding generally takes place in a mechanic shop rather than a factory setting, as opposed to remanufacturing.

Refurbished Engines

A refurbished engine is basically the same thing as a remanufactured engine. However, it may or may not have undergone computer testing and resurfacing (and it may or may not have had all internal components replaced). Often, refurbished engines are somewhere between remanufactured and rebuilt in terms of what’s been done to repair them.

Used Engines

A used engine is nothing more than an engine taken from one vehicle and installed in another. There is no replacement or repair process involved, though you can always ask about the history of car engines for sale (tracking the VIN to the original). Used engines are very affordable, and they’re widely available, but they may not be the best choice for your particular situation since they come with no guarantee on condition or the amount of life left in them.

Salvage Engines

Salvage is the term usually applied to used engines pulled from junkyard cars. These are used engines, and they’ve generally had at least a cursory inspection by the junkyard operator. However, there’s no guarantee that there aren’t any damaged internal components, or that the engine will last more than a couple of miles.

With the information above, you should be able to determine which is the right option for your budget, vehicle and peace of mind. While remanufactured engines offer the best in terms of lifespan and reliability, this might not be the ideal choice for you, particularly if you just need to get the vehicle running so you can sell it. Consider your options carefully.