Your Guide to Buying the Best Engine for Your Car

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Your Guide to Buying the Best Engine for Your Car

An engine is the main component of the car that converts potential energy into mechanical motion. Typically, engines are internal combustion engines that combines air and some type of fuel, usually a carbon-based fossil fuel, to power a component of the engine. This component, usually pistons or turbines, transform that combustion power into energy which powers the car. With concerns rising over fuel efficiency and global warming, electric engines are also growing in popularity. These convert electrical energy into mechanical motion, typically from a battery that is stored within the car.

There are many types of engines and buyers should do careful research to determine which engine best suits their car. This decision should be based on a combination of factors which includes driving style, type of car, fuel economy, power desired, price, and other considerations. Various engines all perform differently and have a variety of advantages and drawbacks. Shoppers must carefully evaluate their specific needs before making a final purchasing decision in order to ensure they get the right product for them.

Types of Engines

The first decision engine buyers may encounter is what type of engine they need. Some engines are not compatible with the rest of the vehicle without major and often expensive modifications, so buyers should be sure to consider this before making their purchase. Internal combustion engines are the most common and can provide high levels of power, but produce emissions and also require fuel to run. Other types of engines may be more attractive to buyers but also have potential drawbacks associated with them.

Internal Combustion Engines

Internal combustion engines have a combustion chamber. Within this chamber a fuel, usually a fossil fuel, is combined with an oxidiser. The combustion of the fuel causes high heat and pressure to be forced out of the combustion chamber and powering either turbines or pistons. These turbines or pistons transform the combustion energy into mechanical energy, which powers the car. The ratio of fuel and oxidant determines how much power the car generates and how quickly it can accelerate.

Fuel Types

There are two main types of fuel used with internal combustion engines, including gasoline and diesel. A third type of fuel exists and is known as bio-fuel, however this is used much less frequently. Gasoline is the standard fuel type most engines are compatible with. Diesel engines can produce better mileage, but also have increased emissions and higher rates of maintenance. Buyers should consider any emissions restrictions in their jurisdiction to help guide their purchasing decision. Fuel prices are very volatile, so there is no definite way to state that one is less expensive than the other as this can change with time. Some diesel engines can be modified to run on bio-fuels, such as ethanol or vegetable oil. These are popular amongst environmentalists due to reduced emissions, but can also be less reliable and fuel can be more difficult to find.

Electric Engines

Electric motors use electrical energy to produce electrical energy. This is usually achieved through the interaction of magnetic fields and current-carrying conductors. Since electric engines do not require fuel and do not produce emissions, they are growing in popularity. Additionally, legislation is being enacted around the world mandating improved fuel economy and many auto manufacturers are turning to electric engines as the most cost-effective way to achieve this. The main downside of electric engines is reduced power and long charging times. Since electric engines typically employ battery technology, when the battery runs empty, it can not simply be charged again instantly like a fuel tank can be filled.

Hybrid Engines

Hybrid engines are a combination of internal combustion engines and electric engines. They typically rely on electric engines for the bulk of their power, but have a small combustion engine as a backup in case of a battery failure. Interestingly, alternator technology has improved such that when a hybrid engine is running on the internal combustion engine, it can simultaneously charge the battery. The main downside of these engines is that they are complex and can be costly to maintain and repair.

Additional Considerations

When searching for an engine that best suits a car, the type of engine is not the only consideration to make. Factors such as driving style, fuel economy, price, and environmental considerations all play a role in the final purchase of an engine as well.

Driving Style

Once a shopper has decided on which type of engine they desire, they should ensure that it is compatible with their driving style. An electric engine does not usually provide the high end performance many sports cars enthusiasts prefer. There are a few high end electric motor manufacturers that have made electric engines competitive with internal combustion engines in terms of performance. For commuters who are looking to improve fuel efficiency, an electric engine may make sense. However, it is important to consider the rest of the vehicle as installing a new engine is not usually as simple as just installing the new hardware. All the components of the car must be compatible, so shoppers looking to transition from one type of engine to another should consult an expert to determine the cost of such a transition and if it is even feasible.

Fuel Economy

Of the engines commonly used in cars, gasoline powered internal combustion engines offer the lowest levels of fuel economy. This is somewhat offset by the fact that gasoline is the most widely available and quickest means of powering the vehicle. It is also the most commonly known, so repairs are typically more straightforward than with other engines. Diesel engines offer impressive fuel economy, but the increased emissions have lead to them being prohibited in some jurisdictions. In addition, diesel engines require more frequent maintenance than gasoline power engines, but can get up twice as much mileage from the same amount of fuel. Electric engines offer the best fuel economy because they do not require any fuel at all, but again, once the battery is depleted it can take a significant amount of time to recharge.


Price is always a consideration. Gasoline powered combustion engines have the widest range of prices. Basic gasoline powered engined can be very affordable. On the other hand, high-powered gasoline powered combustion engines can provide extremely high levels of performance and also come with a very high price tag. Diesel engines are usually more towards the middle in terms of cost. Electric engines are rapidly becoming more cost competitive as they continue to rise in popularity. Also, shoppers should be wary of the potentially high costs of installing a different type of engine or even a different version of the same type of engine.

Environmental Considerations

Some environmentally conscious buyers prefer engines with lower emissions. In addition, some jurisdictions have enacted laws that restrict the amount of emissions a car can produce in order to properly licensed registered. Electric engines are the most emission friendly producing virtually no emissions. There is an argument that the electricity required to charge electric engines produces emissions to generate. Although this does not affect vehicle registration, it may concern environmentally conscious shoppers. Gasoline internal combustion engines produce less emissions than do diesel, but more of it needs to be burned.

How to Buy the Best Engine for Your Car on eBay

eBay has a wide selection of engines suited to fit a variety of car models. A basic keyword search can get shoppers started. By typing general terms into the search box, shoppers can see all the results available on eBay. Buyers who know what kind of car they are hoping to put the engine in or what type of engine they desire can add those specific terms into the search to get more focused results. As an alternative, shoppers can navigate eBay's intuitive categories to car engines to display a wide range of results.

Once the initial search is completed, shoppers can refine their results by selecting any of the many options. These may include features, type of engine, condition of the product, and brand. Further, shoppers can sort their results by price, buying format, and time left at auction. Buyers should be sure to consider installation costs and compatibility concerns. Also, since engines are typically large and heavy, shipping costs may be a relevant consideration. No matter what type of engine a shopper is seeking, eBay is sure to provide the ideal product.


Buying a car engine is a big purchasing decision and not one you should take lightly. Engines power the vehicle by converting either electrical or combustion energy into mechanical energy moving the vehicle. It is arguably the most important component of the vehicle and therefore it is critical that the right engine is selected. Different engines have different fuel and maintenance requirements which buyers should be sure to consider.

There are many different types of car engines, so you should be sure to consider price, compatibility, and performance of the engine. Buyers should also consider installation as different engines may require extensive modifications to the vehicle in order for the engine to be compatible. Some buyers might also consider environmental aspects. Regardless of the type of engine a shopper is seeking, eBay has a wide range of options that buyers can search to find the ideal engine for their car.

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