How Much Will I Get For My Scrap Engine?

For a breaker yard to have the right engine in stock for the right customer at the right time can be very profitable, this is the basis of a successful used auto parts business. But that doesn’t mean, the engine you want to sell will match that equation.

Seeing and hearing an engine in a car running and being able to assess its condition is a critical requirement, in before any decision of demand is made. So in most cases that old engine in the garage, will be seen as scrap only, even if the last time it was in a car it ran OK.

So that leaves only 4 options.

open old engine showing oil

Price Will Be Based On Weight

The first option is where the block is “weighed in”. This is the process of weighing the engine and offering a value based on the price per Kilogram at the time. It is bit like selling gold to a bullion dealer, but without the value. Most metals can be melted down and re-used to make other items such as washing machines or even steel buckets. If the metal can be made cheaply then, the price is low, but if it can be recycled cheaper than manufacturing then weighing in (recycling) metal prices can be higher.

The second option is a shot in the dark. It is where there are valuable parts attached to the engine. An example could be a “Turbo Charger”. Parts that can be easily unbolted cleaned and shelved then resold can add extra value to that scrap engine providing they are in good condition of course.

The third option is where the engine is a rare find, say from a classic or performance car. The investment of stripping it down and re-boring or reconditioning, is worth the eventual financial return. You may be surprised though how there can be an abundance of engines available for some classic cars, especially if they were scrapped for bodywork issues, rather than mechanical. Do not assume, older engines will automatically be worth something substantial.

(The fourth option to be discussed later in article)

So now we have established that on most cases, this scrap engine is not going to be worth much, so let’s look at the costs to the scrap merchant or breaker yard.

The first thing to cover off is collection. An Engine block can be very heavy, even the aluminum ones. Many would not want to put it in the back of the car, to drive it down to the breaker yard. So in most cases a lorry or van will be sent out with a worker. Who will pick the engine up using a crane or trolley and load into his van.

Well his time, petrol and wear and tear all ads up to the point where there may not be any profit in collecting the engine. The yard is also responsible for disposing of the fluids within the engine, such as oil or antifreeze. Again, proportionally, this can be an expense beyond the worth of the engine.

Draining all those liquids from the engine and disposing legally and responsibly is also an extra cost to the engine buyer. Dirty oil is the most likely liquid found with the sump. This will need to be drained and stored in dedicated containers, until it is taken and then ‘processed in a treatment centre.

Just supposing you are thinking about buying a replacement used engine form a breakers yard, there is a good article on this here at Carunited

empty car engine bay

Here Is That Fourth Option

Your engine, even though in a scrap state and not worth repairing in the UK, could have more value abroad, specifically in third world countries. The cars that we see as outdated and past their best, are still been bought and kept on the roads in countries with less wealth. Some countries keep their nations cars moving through little backstreet workshops and DIY engineers. Here, that old engine becomes an opportunity to keep another older car going.

So you shouldn’t be surprised at how many breaker yards, pallet up old engines and send them out to poorer countries in Africa and Asia. Does This Make Your Engine Worth More?

Of course not, engines are sent out at a little bit more money than their scrap metal value and it saves on time and procedure. This is unlikely to transfer into more money for your scrap engine.

As a whole, if you have an old engine that is from a popular car, where it is likely that scrap yards are full of similar engines, it is unlikely you will get paid much for it and in some cases, nothing at all. Be careful of course, to ensure you don’t have that rare case that does have some value, but it is likely the owner would know how desirable the vehicle it came from.

Weigh It In Yourself

If you are brave enough and have some space in the back of your car. You could consider taking your engine to weigh in location and miss out the middle man. We have all seen those vans that drive around the houses looking for scrap metal. Chances are you would get your weigh in quote from the same place they take the scrap metal they pick up from their rounds.

Of course, you would need to be careful of oil leaks and fully understand the heavy weigh your rear suspension will be bearing. Not all good news, but hopefully this has cleared up a few concerns.