How Much Is A Nissan Altima Engine? (Read This First!)

The Nissan Altima is a mid-size executive-look sedan.

It was originally built to compete with the likes of the Toyota Camry and Corolla, as well as the sportier and more luxury models of other brands, including Lexus.

It first arrived on the scenes in 1992 and has been consistently popular during its production run.

This article answers the question “How Much Is A Nissan Altima Engine?”…

How Much Is A Nissan Altima Engine?

The exact cost will of course depend on the model year of your Altima. On average, however, owners should expect to pay in the region of $2,000 to $4,000 for a new engine, plus another $1,500 in labor costs.

Older Altima model engines may be cheaper but could also be harder to find. If it’s too hard to find, then the cost might actually be similar to a newer one, ironically.

Pros & Cons Of Replacing The Engine


Replacing the engine is like giving your car a hard factory “reset.” It means that you get optimum power, increased reliability, and long life.

A brand-new engine will likely last up to 200,000 miles, especially on a car with high reliability like the Nissan Altima.

Another advantage of replacing the engine altogether is overall savings on maintenance.

You spend a lot of money in one go to buy and install it, but then very little for years afterwards because it’s brand-new and of a high order of quality. That delivers some balance.

One more advantage is that an older car with a newer engine enjoys all the benefits of a modern and new engine, in particular power and efficiency, but at the same time retains its “classic” or retro looks.

Another benefit of replacement is that you don’t have to choose a brand-new engine.

You could also choose a rebuilt or refurbished engine to reduce costs and still get a high order of quality and performance.


The first drawback is certainly the cost.

For a car like the Nissan Altima, which already has a low starting price of around $24,000, investing as much as $5,000 in a new engine can seem a strange choice.

You could use that money and an old broken-down Altima as a down payment on a brand-new one.

The second drawback is the time it takes to install. It’s a very time-consuming task and complex.

It’s very unlikely that the average person, even the most enthusiastic amateur, could handle an engine installation all by themselves.

Having to draft in professional assistance for the installation only adds even more to the cost.

How Much Is A Rebuilt Engine?

A rebuilt engine is one that was perhaps previously consigned to scrap or at least set-aside but is then remanufactured using partial new components and some restored components.

For a Nissan Altima, for instance, a rebuilt engine would be an older engine that is now disused. A mechanic would take it apart and clean up all the working parts individually.

Any parts that were damaged or broken would be replaced with new ones. It’s quite typical to always use new smaller components too like gaskets.

After reconstruction, the engine is then tested to make sure it can work properly within the Nissan Altima, and it can then be installed.

The quality of the building work is typically such that it can be offered with a 90-day warranty, and some with as much as 12,000 miles, which is about 12 months driving for a lot of people.

The cost for a rebuilt engine will depend on the supplier, but it typically doesn’t go north of $2,500, which makes it a lot more affordable than choosing a brand-new engine.

That cost might include labor, but if not then labor will cost $50-100 an hour and it will usually take 10-12 hours.

What Parts Are Needed For A Rebuilt Engine And What Is The Process?

When you are rebuilding an engine, the process has to be very methodical and you need a large stock of replacement parts on hand to use.

The tricky part is knowing which parts will need replacement.

If you don’t have enough variety in your stock, the process takes longer because you have to order additional parts.

The following parts are most commonly needed in every engine rebuilding process:

  • O rings and other gaskets
  • Seals
  • Bearings
  • Timing belt
  • Valve springs
  • Pistons
  • Crankshaft and camshaft
  • Oil pump

You may notice a pattern that there are quite a number of smaller components involved, even more than the larger ones.

This is because larger components actually last longer and can usually be restored with proper cleaning.

Smaller components, on the other hand, are more easily worn and broken and so are the most likely to be replaced even as default when rebuilding engines.

The crankshaft, camshaft, and pistons, for example, are all the largest individual components and will only be replaced if they are physically broken and therefore unusable.

In the vast majority of cases, cleaning them up works just fine.

As for the process, there are five critical stages to any Altima engine rebuild:

Step 1: The engine is removed, disassembled, and inspected. It has to be taken apart right down to its individual components so that everything can be thoroughly checked.

Pieces that can be cleaned and restored are kept, those that need replacing are tossed.

Step 2: The second stage involves machining to smooth out various parts that won’t be replaced.

They need to work in sync with other components and that requires them to be smooth and unblemished. Those that aren’t machined are just cleaned up.

Step 3: Next comes reassembly. The components are put back together along with new components that replace broken or unusable ones.

Step 4: Testing: the engine has to be checked out to ensure that it will work properly in Nissan Altima cars of different specifications.

Step 5: The engine is reinstalled and then tested some more within the car to make sure it’s working stably and safely.

How Much Is A Refurbished Engine?

Your first thought at seeing this question might be “aren’t refurbished and rebuilt engines the same?” It’s a fair question, but there is a difference between the two.

A refurbished engine is one that is also cleaned, repaired, and restored to its former glory but it does so without using the same level of brand-new components.

The refurbished engine is not disassembled and rebuilt again with all the individual parts cleaned or replaced.

Rather, a refurbished engine is cleaned and repackaged, usually from one that a previous owner has discarded while still in perfect working order.

If the owner of one Altima upgraded his engine but not because the original was broken, then what happens to the original?

It is cleaned up and repackaged. If it has some minor damage, it will be fixed. This is a refurbished engine.

Refurbishing happens to other products like laptops and smartphones.

Engines that are refurbished by OEMS typically come with 12-month warranties and are a fraction of the price of a brand-new one.

It could cost as little as $500, or as much as $2,000 depending on the exact specification.

Labor will still cost between $50-100 an hour, but refurbishing is less time-consuming than rebuilding.

How Do Specialized Factories Refurbish An Engine?

Engine refurbishing is much simpler than rebuilding.

A lot of OEM shops run specialized refurbishing facilities where usable engines from older cars are taken out, inspected for defects, cleaned and minor repairs carried out if needed.

After the factory has cleaned up and fixed any damage, they repackage the engine and it is prepared for resale.

When done to proper OEM standards, the quality is very likely to be close to that of a brand-new engine.

If during the inspection process any kind of major damage is found, the engine is scrapped or sent for rebuilding purposes.

It can’t be refurbished if there is serious damage done to it. That’s what rebuilding/remanufacturing is for.

How Long Do Altima Engines Last?

When properly cared for and managed, a Nissan Altima engine could easily last 200,000 miles. Many owners have reported reaching such heights on their odometer.

Nissan is a reliable brand, and the car engine health mostly relies on the owner sticking to the OEM-recommended service schedule.

When done, as well as the owner responding to any sudden signs of problems, the engine will last a very long time.

How Much Can I Get For An Altima With Dead Engine From A Scrapyard?

A Nissan Altima is a good car, but it doesn’t have collector’s value. You might only get up to $500 for even a complete Altima.

With a dead engine that has the most vital components in place, you might get $300-400.

How Much Is A Good Used Altima?

The following are low-end estimates on used Nissan Altima cars from different model years:

Model YearPrice ($)

How Much Is A New Altima?

The latest Nissan Altima for the 2022 model year is estimated at $26,000. The 2021 model brand-new starts at $24,450 MSRP.