Can I Trade In A Car With A Blown Engine?

Sure. If you find a car dealer who can find value in broken-down cars, it may be possible to trade in your car with a blown engine. That’s the simple answer. Unfortunately, the real answer to “Can I trade in a car with a blown engine” is more complicated.

Read on to learn more about trying to sell a faulty car with serious engine problems.

What Engine Problems Could You Have?

vehicle engine is blown

If the engine is the heart of a car, a  blown engine is the equivalent of a heart attack. When a car has a blown engine, that means its engine has suffered catastrophic internal mechanical damage.

An engine doesn’t really blow up (usually). It does, however, suffer various afflictions: there can be smoke, steam, and fire on occasion.

There are four common causes of a blown engine:

  1. Valve Punching Through the Top of a Piston

  2. Broken Connecting Rod

  3. Complete Engine Oil Depletion

  4. Depleted Coolant

A valve breaking and punching through a piston will lead to incredibly hot, pressurized oil and blue smoke to shoot out of the top of the engine. Plus, your car will stop running without a working engine.

A broken connecting rod isn’t much better. The connecting rod is the part that connects the piston to the crankshaft. Because the other pistons might be connected and working, the crankshaft will keep spinning at thousands of rotations per minute, jamming the broken piston rod through the wall of the engine block.

vehicle engine

A broken piston rod will cause the oil to come spilling out of the engine and crankcase. Here, you might see blue smoke and maybe a fire.

Losing oil is bad. In an engine, there are a lot of parts that move very, very quickly very, very closely together. Oil is the main thing preventing moving parts from making enough friction and heat to fuse together.

If your car loses enough oil, the moving parts (like pistons) can seize up and stop moving, causing tremendous damage to your engine.

Losing coolant is similar to losing oil. Coolant works to keep the operating temperature of an engine low enough for the oil to do its job of lubricating the moving parts.

If your car is burning coolant, you'll probably see white smoke coming from the exhaust. Oil that is too hot is almost as bad as no oil at all.

Can I Trade In A Car With Its Engine Light On?

After your engine stops working your car gets 'broken' status, but can you trade in a broken car? Will a dealership take a broken car? What about a non-running car, or a car with transmission problems and engine issues?

When trying to trade in a car in bad condition, usually massive dealerships like CarMax are your first option. Does CarMax buy cars that don't run, though?

Well, technically, you can trade in a car in almost any condition. Large, nationwide dealerships, like CarMax, will take cars in pretty much any condition on trade. Trading in a car with problems might be possible, but what's the value of a car with a blown engine?

You might start hearing the words 'the salvage value of my car,' but you should try and aim for a higher price than this. They probably won’t give you much for your non moving car, and smaller dealerships may sing a different tune.

The purpose of a car dealership is to buy and sell cars. There aren’t many people who want to buy a car that doesn’t run (like one that has a blown engine), so why would they take one in on trade? It's a hard sell to a dealership to trade in a car with known problems.

The only reason a car dealership would take your broken-down car would be if you were buying another car from them. Even then, they would hedge their bets by negotiating less on the price of the new car. Other dealerships won’t take a damaged or broken-down car as trade-in at all.

There just isn’t value in the car for the dealership. The question of 'Can I trade in a damaged car for parts?' is answered with a swift 'Probably not'.

How To Sell A Non-Running Car With A Faulty Engine

So what to do with a car with a blown engine or mechanical problems? You could check for junk yards that buy cars near you, or find a better way to sell your car.

Selling a car with a bad engine to traditional car buyers is frustrating. There is a better way. Sell your damaged vehicle to a company that specializes in buying broken-down and wrecked cars. will make you a guaranteed offer for your car, blown engine and all. We're also the best option if you just don't want the hassle of repairing your car, or you don't want to deal with the diminished value of your car resulting from having an engine replacement on your vehicle history report.

get a check for a car with a blown engine

Transmission issues? Non-working car? Not a problem for us.

Our team of professional and courteous buyers will work with you to sell your car with a blown engine, fast. We buy cars throughout the United States. We're a superior option to trading in a car with mechanical problems.

We will pick up your car for free and pay you on the spot. At, we buy cars in less-than-perfect condition, nationwide. Get your offer now and get paid fast!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Repair My Car Before Trading It In?

If you’re thinking about trading in a car with a bad engine, it generally doesn’t make sense to try and fix it first. The cost of repairs for an engine with problems is typically much higher than it’s worth. This is especially true if your vehicle is older or damaged otherwise.

Instead, you can trade in a car with engine problems as-is. Of course, dealerships aren’t generally the best place to try to get payment for a damaged car, since they specialize in vehicles they can sell, not vehicles that need work.

Instead, a service like DamagedCars might be right for you. DamagedCars will make an offer on your car with a damaged engine, bad transmission and more. We even include free towing and title transfer with all of our quotes.

What To Do With A Car That Is Not Worth Fixing?

If you have a car not worth fixing, your best option is to sell it to someone who specializes in vehicles with blown engines, bad transmissions and other mechanical problems. For instance, DamagedCars purchases vehicles with mechanical defects every day.

Get an offer for your vehicle through DamagedCars in just 90 seconds. We work with reliable partners in your area to help you get the best offer, free pickup and on-the-spot payment in just 24-48 hours after you accept our offer.

How Do I Sell My Car With An Engine Problem?

You can trade in a car with a blown head gasket, seized engine and other mechanical problems through a dealership, sell it to a junk car buyer in your area or choose the easy route and find an online car buyer like DamagedCars.

All you need to do is describe your vehicle and get an offer. We can help you schedule your free towing in 24-48 hours, pick up your car and pay you on the spot!

How Much Can I Sell My Car With A Bad Engine For?

The trade in value of a car with a bad engine will depend on a couple of factors, including its year, make and model, what condition it’s in otherwise, your location and more. You might get anywhere from $200 to several thousand dollars for your vehicle.

The best way to find out how much you can sell your car with a blown engine for is to get an offer from DamagedCars. It takes just 90 seconds, includes free towing and title transfer, and relies on nationwide data to figure out what your car is really worth, so you won’t be lowballed.

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