Remanufactured, Rebuilt, Crate And Used Engines – How Are They Different?

Are you in the market for a new engine? Your options include remanufactured engines, rebuilt engines, used engines, and crate engines. Unless you’re an experienced mechanic, understanding the pros and cons of these choices can be daunting. In this blog, we’ll explore each option to help you decide which is right for your needs.

What’s The Difference Between Crate, Reman, Rebuilt, and Used Engines?

First off, let’s shed some light on what all these terms mean:

Crate Engines

  • A brand-new engine
  • Mostly for performance applications
  • They can be an expensive option

A crate engine is a brand-new engine. They are typically designed for performance use. A good quality crate engine will cost more than rebuilt or remanufactured engines.

Rebuilt Engines

  • A used engine that has been rebuilt
  • Rebuild is done by hand
  • Old parts are replaced with factory or upgraded parts
  • Rebuild quality will vary

When someone rebuilds an engine, old and worn-out parts are replaced with new items. The quality of the rebuild can vary greatly depending on the quality of the mechanic and the parts used. Rebuilt engines tend to be cheaper than crate engines. But costs vary greatly depending on whether or not you add performance modifications.

Used Engines

  • An engine from a wrecked or salvaged vehicle
  • History is usually unknown
  • Usually cheaper than other alternatives

A used engine will have come from another vehicle. Its service history, mileage, and condition are usually unknown. They tend to be cheaper than the other alternatives here but will come with little or no warranty. (Unless you go with Powertrain Products – our used engines come with a warranty. See below.)

Remanufactured Engines

  • Complete rebuild of an old engine
  • Comprehensive cleaning, machining, and testing
  • Upgraded to remove known design issues
  • Remanufactured engine quality varies greatly

A remanufactured engine is completely torn down, cleaned, machined to spec, and reassembled. A PPI-remanufactured engine will get new parts like pistons, rings, bearings, valve springs, guides, lifters, timing set (to include phasers when applicable), gaskets, freeze plugs, galley plugs, and seals. Most importantly, the engine is upgraded to remove any known design flaws.

Which Engine Makes Sense For You?

Now, let’s take a more in-depth look into which of these engine options will work best for your vehicle and driving needs.

Crate Engines: Pros and Cons

Crate engines are great for the performance enthusiast with cash. A crate engine is a good option if you are a racer or building a hotrod. They are designed to offer enhanced performance but cost more as a result. Fancy a 1,004hp Chevy motor? Then be prepared to part with over $30,000. That is admittedly one of the priciest options out there. But even a 627hp LSX Crate motor will set you back close to $17,000. Great for a race car build but perhaps a bit much for the school run.

If you want to replace the engine in your daily driver, a powerful performance engine isn’t always a great idea. It can put extra strain on the standard brakes, transmission, and axle shafts. Upgrading those will just add to your costs.


  • Brand new 
  • Often designed for high-performance
  • Great for hot rod and racing car builds


  • May not be the best choice for daily driving
  • Can shorten the lifespan of unmodified drivetrain components
  • Maybe less fuel-efficient than a standard engine
  • Tend to cost more than a remanufactured or rebuilt engine

Rebuilt Engines: Pros and Cons

Rebuilt engines can work but are sometimes a risky optionRebuilt engines can be a good choice if they are done right. Rebuilt engines are done by hand; only a professional can do it properly. This can mean higher costs, and there is still a risk of failure if even one part isn’t installed right.

And one important thing that a rebuild doesn’t address is any inherent design flaws in the engine. This makes engine rebuilds a risky option. To see why, take a look at our video about the factory design issues we solved with the popular but potentially troublesome Ford 5.4-litre V8.


  • Can work well if done right
  • Can be more cost-effective than a remanufactured engine


  • Rebuild quality depends on the skill of the mechanic
  • Rebuilds don’t address factory design flaws
  • Risk of poor performance or failure due to inferior quality parts or workmanship
  • Warranty won’t always match a properly remanufactured engine
  • Costs can escalate quickly

Used Engines: Pros and Cons

Used engines are cost-effective if you buy from reputable suppliers.You may be tempted to buy a used engine because they tend to be cheaper than rebuilt or remanufactured motors. Sometimes they run fine. But they can fail on you at any moment. The service history, mileage, and condition of a used engine are usually unknown. This makes them a very risky option.


  • Tend to be the cheapest option


  • No way of knowing the condition of the engine
  • The engine may fail at any time
  • Could cost you more in the long run

The PPI difference: Our used engines are a cut above the usual salvage yard find. Every used engine we sell must run right and pass a compression test. Wiring harnesses are kept intact, and all fluids are drained. That’s why we can offer an industry-leading 2-year/1,000,000-mile parts and labor warranty on our used engines.

Reman Engines: Pros and Cons

Remanufactured engines are the best price/performance option – with the Powertrain Products difference. Reman engines are renewed and completely remanufactured. This means that they are stripped, cleaned, machined and re-assembled. New parts are used where needed. The quality of remanufactured engines varies greatly.

Some rebuilders claim they sell remanufactured engines when in fact, they are just cleaned-up used engines. PPI reman engines are professionally rebuilt. And upgraded to remove any known design issues.


  • The complete engine is rebuilt, machined, cleaned, and tested
  • Cylinders are honed or bored
  • Sim tested – tested for compression, proper oil pressure and any undesirable noises
  • PPI reman engines are also upgraded to remove design flaws


  • Remanufacturing quality varies
  • They can cost more than used or rebuilt engines

The Powertrain Products difference: All our reman engines undergo a rigorous remanufacturing process. They are not simply rebuilt; they are remanufactured from the ground up. We also upgrade every reman engine to remove any known design flaws. This is something that you just won’t get with a basic rebuild. PPI also simulation tests each reman engine to ensure that it works perfectly. It’s the only way we could offer our industry-leading remanufactured warranty.

Experience The Powertrain Products Difference

To sum up: if you are on a tight budget, a used engine from Powertrain Products will give your vehicle a new lease on life. And with a 2-year warranty for peace of mind.

Looking for the best longevity, performance, and long-term value? Then our remanufactured engines are the way to go. We offer several warranty options, including an amazing 5-year million-mile (no-fault) parts & labor warranty. Every reman engine is completely rebuilt. And design flaws are removed.

Powertrain Products Inc. offers 1–3-day delivery times to most of the continental US. Contact us online or call us at 888-842-0023 for your professionally remanufactured engine or drivetrain component.

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