What Do I Do With A Car With A Blown Engine?

A blown engine is probably in your top 5 of “last thing I would want to happen to my car.” Some immediate symptoms that indicate your engine is blown can be smoke, steam and, rarely, fire.

Most often, blown motor damage takes the form of a valve breaking and punching through the top of a piston, making a hole. A broken valve will cause incredibly hot, pressurized oil and blue smoke to shoot out of the top of the engine.

Broken engines are one of the most costly car problems you can encounter. If it makes sense to sell your damaged car instead of repair, you can get a free car value estimate. Otherwise, you’re going to want to explore the options you have regarding that blown engine.

Did you know?

Repairing a blown engine can cost as much as $6,000 or more since the engine likely will need to be replaced. Don't fix it. Sell it. Maximize your time and money by selling your car to us. 

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How to Tell If an Engine is Blown

Diagnosing A Blown Engine

While the term “blown engine” sounds like something out of a melodramatic action movie focused on cars and “family,” it is actually something much more grounded — but still a headache, nonetheless.

Much like the issues that ail the human body, an engine will give signs of its impending problem before it grows into something catastrophic. The key to avoiding a full breakdown of the system is identifying the warning signs and acting on them early.

There are six main symptoms of a blown motor to look for. If you have any suspicion of engine damage, here is how to tell if an engine is blown.

1. The Check Engine Light is On.

Blown Engine Symptoms Most people, sadly, ignore their check engine light when it comes on. If that little light on your dash turns on, you need to get yourself to a mechanic, dealership or auto parts store ASAP. There, someone can plug a scanner into your car and read the error code. The code may tell you how urgent a repair might be.

2. Burning Oil / Using a Lot of Oil 

If your car is using up more oil than it should then that's a sign your engine has issues. You could have a blown head gasket or a leak somewhere else. In any case, losing oil can lead to a blown engine. Find that leak or find why you're burning oil and get it taken care of before you blow your engine for good.

3. Burning Coolant

No coolant means your engine will be running too hot which could cause you to burn oil or, worse, your engine could seize altogether. A blown head gasket, damaged cylinder head or cracked engine block could all lead to burning coolant. Keep an eye out for thick white smoke because that's a surefire sign of burning coolant.

4. Suddenly Getting Bad Fuel Economy

Almost an imperceptible symptom, a sharp dip in fuel economy may be an indication of engine deterioration. If you find yourself driving the same distances, but at the pump much more frequently, then get your engine looked at immediately.

5. Odd Smoke Coming from Your Exhaust

  • Black smoke means you're burning too much gas or diesel.
  • Blue smoke means you're burning oil.
  • White smoke means you're burning coolant.

In all cases, it's probably in your best interest to get your car to a mechanic to determine the cause before it's too late. All three colors of smoke can point to symptoms of an engine that's about to blow.

6. Engine Knocking Noise

Your engine is, in its most simplified form, a series of well-regulated, well-timed explosions. If a bad cylinder is throwing off that timing, you'll hear a very clear knocking noise. In short, that’s a bad situation. You’re going to want to have it looked at and (likely) sold afterwards.

For a more detailed look at the symptoms of a blown engine, we have a post dedicated to that topic here. Take a look. 

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How to Sell Car With Blown Engine

What happens when a car engine blows?A car with a blown engine may seem worthless to you, the owner. However, as the “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” idiom conveys, that car has value to someone, blown engine and all.

Dealerships & Private Buyers

If your car is in great condition (minus the “past-tense” engine), then it draws value in being a vehicle that can be repaired and repurposed. Many dealerships or private buyers will gladly trade-in/purchase your car and it’s blown engine for that express purpose.

Unfortunately, because it doesn’t presently run, these potential buyers will absolutely try to low-ball the price they pay for the vehicle. In their mind, they have to factor in the cost of repairs for an undrivable car and will try to balance out those costs by reducing how much they pay for it.

Sell The Parts Online

You also have the option of dismantling your vehicle one piece at a time and selling them on an online platform like Craigslist. If you’ve got the knowledge to accomplish this without damaging any of the parts, it’s a decently lucrative endeavor.

That said, the average person has neither the mechanical expertise nor the space and equipment to dismantle all 30,000 pieces of a car in their home.

Sell To A Junkyard

Not trying to find buyers, part out your car, or get undersold at a dealership? Junkyards exist as another option. You can sell your entire car to a junkyard, blown engine and all!

Now, you can either sell it as is or you can sell it as scrap. The latter option won’t net you nearly as much as the value of your car, blown engine and all.

Your car, regardless of its blown engine, still retains some semblance of value. If the engine is the only issue with the car, then it’s worth its parts and/or as a repair and resell venture. If, on top of the blown engine, the car’s overall condition is poor, then it may only be worth its weight in scrap metal.

With prices on metal varying daily, what’s the best way for you to get the most bang for your broken down vehicle?

DamagedCars.com & Your Blown Engine

Fortunately, DamagedCars.com specializes in dealing with cars just like yours. Getting rid of a vehicle with a blown engine is no cause for stress when we’re involved. With 11 years of experience buying cars that don't run, we’ve simplified the process of getting rid of a broken-down car for your convenience!

Once you contact us, one of our associates will provide you with a quote for your vehicle within 90 seconds. That quoted price is valid for seven days and will not change should you accept it: there’s no “saying one price, but giving you less money later” around here.

When you accept our offer, we can schedule a pickup with one of our local service providers within 24-48 hours. Don’t worry: the tow is completely on the house, along with any title transfer costs.

The vehicle is off your hands and cash for the quoted amount is in them, all without the typical pains of getting rid of a car. Contact us today and let us handle that car of yours with the blown engine!


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