Home » Is rebuilding your engine a better alternative than buying a new car?

Is rebuilding your engine a better alternative than buying a new car?

by Press room

Do you really love your current car and not want to part ways with it? 

Or are you simply reluctant to offload your existing motor knowing that you will soon only be able to buy an electric car when the Government outlaws the sale of new petrol and diesel models from 2030?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then there is a solution that is helping motorists and businesses keep hold of their current vehicles for longer.

Ivor Searle, the British engine remanufacturer, has enjoyed its best-ever year for unit sales in its 76-year history on the back of record demand for rebuilt powerplants.

Surging demand for remanufactured engines: British business that rebuilds petrol and diesel powerplants has recorded best-ever annual sales, primarily due to pandemic-related factors 

The leading engine remanufacturer, which is based in Soham, Cambridgeshire, has reported its most successful 12-month trading performance since the company was founded in 1946.

It says it has experience a boom in demand caused by ‘macro-economic factors’ brought on by the pandemic.

One of these factors is the increased use of vans since Covid-19 struck.

Businesses have increased their delivery and courier services, adding extra pressure on existing – and ageing – fleets of commercial vehicles. 

This has seen a huge spike in orders for diesel engines for vans.

It has also received record orders for remanufactured car engines, mostly due to the ongoing lack of availability of new models brought on by the global semiconductor supply shortage.

This has limited car production for the last two years, with major auto makers continuing to struggle to get their hands vast reserves of computer chips. 

This has resulted in long lead times for new cars – in some cases customers being told to wait up to 12 months on orders – and seen many drivers keeping hold of their existing cars for longer. 

And there could be another factor that triggers consumer interest in rebuilt engines in the not too distant future. 

Since the pandemic hit, businesses have upped the availability of delivery and courier services. This has added extra pressure on existing - and ageing - fleets of vans

Since the pandemic hit, businesses have upped the availability of delivery and courier services. This has added extra pressure on existing – and ageing – fleets of vans

The company has also received record orders for remanufactured car engines because of the lack of availability of new models because of the global semiconductor supply shortage that is strangling outputs of new cars (pictured, Jaguar Land Rover UK production facility)

The company has also received record orders for remanufactured car engines because of the lack of availability of new models because of the global semiconductor supply shortage that is strangling outputs of new cars (pictured, Jaguar Land Rover UK production facility)

With the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars due to be introduced at the end of the decade, those who don’t want to own an electric vehicle will need to consider alternative solutions if they want to keep driving combustion-engine cars.

Various reports have predicted that motorists reluctant to drive battery-powered vehicles will be looking to keep the motors they already own for longer, or look to replace them with the final run of petrol and diesel vehicles entering the market as the 2030 deadline approaches. 

Having achieved growth of 35 per cent in remanufactured engine sales over the past year, Ivor Searle says it has expanded its operational capacity in response to demand from both UK and EU customers. 

It is currently producing up to 150 engines per week – so around 7,800 a year – which is its highest output ever recorded.

Pictured: The Ivor Seale factory in Soham, Cambridgeshire. It is currently producing up to 150 engines per week - so around 7,800 a year - which is its highest throughput ever

Pictured: The Ivor Seale factory in Soham, Cambridgeshire. It is currently producing up to 150 engines per week – so around 7,800 a year – which is its highest throughput ever

Donor units are sourced from vehicles that have sustained terminal failure of the engine

Donor units are sourced from vehicles that have sustained terminal failure of the engine

Bosses anticipate that this will grow further during 2022 with the introduction of additional units to its range of petrol and diesel powerplants. 

‘During the first lockdown in 2020, our orders started to climb significantly as van fleets were worked around the clock, placing severe stress on older vehicles,’ explains commercial director, David Eszenyi.

‘Coupled with this has been the impact of the semiconductor crisis, that’s forcing car owners, online delivery firms, tradespeople and van fleets to run vehicles longer, due to lengthening new build lead times, as well as increased pricing and supply chain issues for other components. 

‘This trend has generated further momentum for Ivor Searle over the past year and we expect demand to increase further, particularly in Europe, which is fast becoming a major growth market for our remanufactured products.’

Rebuilding engines is part of a circular economy and 40% cheaper than buying a new unit from car makers

Remanufacturing of engines is part of a ‘circular economy’ that’s often overlooked due to most drivers replacing their cars rather than refitting them with refreshed components.

Ivor Searle tells us that a remanufactured engine, gearbox or turbo typically costs up to 40 per cent less than buying a ‘brand new’ unit, making it an affordable solution for some drivers who aren’t quite ready to let go of their existing cars. 

It is a cost-effective alternative to manufacturing brand new products and at the same time saves raw materials and energy: typically, every engine produced saves around 50kg in core metal, whilst using 85 per cent less energy than manufacturing.

Remanufacturing of engines is part of a circular economy that's often overlooked due to most drivers replacing their cars once the engine goes bang or other vital components give up

Remanufacturing of engines is part of a circular economy that’s often overlooked due to most drivers replacing their cars once the engine goes bang or other vital components give up

Toyota is plotting its own UK sub-brand for remanufacturing

Toyota has spoken about its plans to remanufacturer cars after their 'first cycle' so that second-hand buyers have an 'almost like new' used vehicle

Toyota has spoken about its plans to remanufacturer cars after their ‘first cycle’ so that second-hand buyers have an ‘almost like new’ used vehicle

Earlier this year, bosses at Japanese car maker Toyota said they intend to create a new sub-brand in the UK that will focus on the remanufacturing of ex-customer cars.

In an interview with Autocar, president and managing director of Toyota GB, Agustin Martin, said its factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire, will have a fleet-focused mobility division called Kinto that will refurbish ‘to the best standard’ end of cycle models.

He told the title in an exclusive interview that Toyota will take vehicles back to the factory after their ‘first use cycle’, such as at the end of a lease contract or when a finance agreement comes to an end.

The vehicles will then have a full refresh to ensure the second user has a car that’s almost like new – though this will likely result in higher second-hand prices.

The same process could also be carried out ahead of a vehicle’s third use cycle in a bid to prolong the quality of cars over a longer period of time.

He said: ‘We need to stretch the way we look at life for both the vehicle and the customer.’ 

The Toyota boss explained that this will also help to reduce the environmental impact of new vehicle production.

How does it work? 

Donor units are sourced from vehicles that have sustained terminal failure of the engine.

These are then completely stripped and components are assessed and replaced where necessary. 

Quality inspections and testing is carried out on each unit before the units are painted and placed into storage awaiting orders. 

All units come with a 12 month unlimited mileage parts and labour warranty. 

These are the ten steps the businesses takes when it gets their hands on a donor engine and how it remanufacturers it ready for reuse

These are the ten steps the businesses takes when it gets their hands on a donor engine and how it remanufacturers it ready for reuse 

Typically, when a vehicle is taken to a mechanic for repair and a new engine is needed, the garage would buy a remanufactured unit from Ivor Searle. 

Once the rebuilt engine is fitted, a vehicle’s odometer should not be reset as it is a record for all the components of a car, not just the powerplant up front. 

However, owners of cars with remanufactured engines, gearboxes and turbos should keep a record of the mileage at the date they were installed as part of their documentation.

Ivor Searle tells us that the most popular engine request currently is for 2.2-litre diesel units for vans, particularly Ford Transits.

This is followed by 2.0-litre and 1.6-litre diesel engines for Ford, Renault, Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi cars.

The third most popular is the 1.0-litre Ford petrol engine, usually found in the Fiesta and Focus.

Motorists who don’t want to go through a garage or mechanic to source a remanufactured engine for their existing car can, in principle, directly request one from Ivor Searle via it’s Customer Own Unit service.

However, a spokesperson for the company said this is currently not available because all its engineers are currently deployed for ‘commercial customer workload’.

However, the company hopes to reinstate the service as additional engineers are recruited. 

‘This is highly skilled work and there is a challenge in finding individuals with this skillset,’ the spokesperson explained.

The automotive parts remanufacturing market in Europe is valued at around €10billion and expected to reach €20billion by the end of 2024, as diesel vehicles constitute the highest proportion of cars and vans across Europe, the business says. 

According to a recent report, Europe’s vehicle parts remanufacturing market is forecast to grow by up to 10 per cent annually. 

By the end of 2024, the number of remanufactured products will surpass 56 million units per year.

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