If you have found yourself in a position where either you have determined yourself, or have been told by a qualified mechanic your current engine needs replacing with a second hand unit there are a few things to consider.
First and foremost you need to verify that the engine itself is at fault. It is quite easy to think the worst and assume the engine needs replacing but there is always the possibility there is something else wrong with the vehicle. If you do not find the original fault and replace the engine with a second hand engine then you risk having the same issues after the engine is replaced.
Find a trusted mechanic in your area, do not go for the cheapest as in this line of work you often times get what you pay for. In the cheaper places the mechanics are more willing to have a quick look and automatically diagnose the problem as the engine being at fault rather than actually taking the time to look the vehicle over thoroughly to determine why the engine has failed in the first place.
Word of mouth is probably the best way to find a good mechanic, ask your family or friends who they go to for work and use their experience to help you find the right garage.
Word of warning: do not go to a main dealer to have your engine changed. Unfortunately the way main dealers are set up they make more money on servicing (brakes, oil services and suspension) than they do by taking up ramp space for a few days by booking in engine jobs. This fact in itself leads many dealerships to price themselves higher than local garages quite often just so they themselves try to talk you out of having them do it. And if you do decide to have the dealer handle it for their exorbitant price they feel they didn’t lose out so much on the service work since they are charging you top dollar for the engine change. used auto parts
Once you settle on a garage book the vehicle in with them and allow them time to do their work. It doesn’t benefit anyone if you are on the phone with them every 30 minutes asking them for an update. Give them the space they need to go through it thoroughly and give you an informed decision.
After they are given the time to diagnose the problem, if they then tell you that you need to install a second hand engine then ask them why, what happened to the original? All of this information will help you make an informed decision when it comes time to purchase your second hand engine.
Most garages do not have a problem with installing a second hand engine that is purchased by you the customer.Confirm this before you start looking for a engine. You can more than likely help your garage find a replacement engine for you.The internet is a wonderful marketplace but if you do not have the information or the knowledge about your vehicle then it may be easier for you to have the garage source an engine for you.
Once you have found and purchased a second hand engine, have it delivered to your garage so they can confirm it will fit your vehicle. Many different manufacturers offer the same engine code that covers multiple ranges of vehicles, all this means is that the engine and head may be identical but the ancillaries can possibly be different. This should not pose a problem for a decent garage as they would then just swap your ancillaries onto the new unit and install it as normal.
After the engine is installed in the vehicle you need to make sure to take care of it.
Check your oil and coolant regularly
Do a basic oil service on it every 3000-5000 miles
Try to park in the same spot as often as you can to help identify if your engine develops any leaks
Have regular servicing done by a trusted garage on normal intervals, the more the garage gets to know your vehicle, the easier it is for them to alert you if something looks out of place.
If there is ever an instance where you notice any overheating or abnormal noise pull the vehicle over as soon as possible and have it towed to your garage to try to prevent any major damage from occurring.