Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: How Long Does an Engine Usually Last?

asked by on

How long should an engine last?

A: How long an engine lasts requires a long li...

How long an engine lasts requires a long list of variables to consider before a time frame or mileage can be given. I have seen engines last less than 40,000 miles and others that lasted more than 300,000 miles. When it comes to the time an engine will last you, look at mileage per year or how the vehicle is stored if there is very low mileage on the engine. Think of a 1916 car engine that is driven only 100 miles a year and put in storage after each use. After 100 years the engine will only have 10,000 miles on it. This motor may last a few hundred years before it would need rebuilding or replacement. This is why we use mileage to rate how long an engine will last.

Most engines on the road today are designed to last well over 100,000 miles. An engine will last much longer if the engine is not abused in any way and all maintenance that the manufacturer recommends is done on or before it is due. All repairs should done as soon as possible without damaging the engine by waiting to get repairs done, like overheating the engine from a failing water pump. If you take great care of the engine then it will last a long time for most manufacturers. Some manufacturers of engines made their engines from lower quality parts or materials and these engines may not last that long even if they are taken care of well.

Abusing the engine, no matter its quality, can and most likely will shorten the life of the motor. When you do not change the fluids and filters when recommended by the manufacturer then you will cause excessive part and component wear on parts like bearings, pistons, valves, or timing chains and gears. If the engine is overheated and driven till the engine stops because of ignoring the temperature gauge or warning lights, it can cause irreversible internal engine wear or damage. If the engine is used for towing all the time, like pulling a trailer everyday or hauling extra weight all the time, your engine works much harder than usual. It’s like you walking ten miles every day wearing a heavy backpack versus not having the backpack on. You will get more tired and worn out with the extra load on you and over time may get problems with your body that you may not have gotten had you not been carrying the extra load. The same holds true with the engine. If it does less work it will last longer and require less maintenance and repairs.

The engine will last longer in most cases if you do not overload it all the time and keep up on scheduled maintenance. Make sure you get repairs done as soon as possible. Drive the vehicle normally without abusing the engine by over-revving it or overloading it.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Need tips on maintenance for my car that has passed the 80,000 mile mark

There are quite a few service items such as air filter, spark plugs. Also, various fluids such as engine coolant and brake fluid. Idle and valve adjustments are maintenance items as well. Honda has a full maintenance schedule for these...

Q: car not starting battery

Hi there. It sounds like you need a new ignition switch. This is the most common failure on your vehicle that will cause this. It can also be a failure in the body control module, but that is not nearly...

Q: Noticed a small oil leak and intermittent coolant leak

Hello. The blue smoke on startup is likely worn valve stems or valve stem seals, which leak a tiny amount of oil overnight, but burns it off quickly. Nothing to worry about unless it gets worse quickly, or smokes all...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.