Frequently asked questions and answers by our professionals

I regularly check the engine oil level. I have noticed that lately I have to add oil regularly. What oil quantity is considered "normal" consumption?

Normal oil consumption ranges from 0 (zero) or no need to refill and up to 1 litre per service interval. When consumption increases to 1 litre per 5,000 km, this is already an indicator of overconsumption. In practice, we recommend engine restoration when consumption exceeds 1 litre per 2,000 km, although vehicle manufacturers often quote acceptable consumption of up to 0.75 litre per 1,000 km.

Lately I have had to refill 0.5 litres of engine oil every 500 kilometres. What actions can be taken against such high consumption?

With such high oil consumption, it is essential to think about service measures. The first thing to do is to check for any peripheral engine defect such as the turbine, breather valves, heat exchangers and similar. Nevertheless, measures should be taken in such cases; either replacement or restoration of the engine are possible solutions.

Is it worth repairing or restoring a vehicle showing signs of abnormal fluid consumption?

Here there are two possible answers; if you are attached to the vehicle, either emotionally, because you hold it dear to your heart, or financially, because you are still paying it off, the economic consideration is of secondary importance in relation to the market value of the vehicle, and repair or restoration makes sense.

Taking only economic factors into account, you might think of selling. But bear in mind that the resale value of a vehicle with a faulty engine is much lower than one may expect. We also advise against not telling the buyer about the defect, as case law often reveals cases of “hidden defects” that were known beforehand. In other words, if you are honest about the condition of the vehicle, you will quickly lose the expected value of the vehicle compared to the cost of replacing the engine; this can therefore represent a significant financial deficit. For this reason, customers more frequently choose engine restoration, which is also less expensive than replacement, and then either sell the vehicle under warranty or continue to use it themselves.

What is included in an engine restoration?

Engine restoration according to the Automotiv®’s proprietary method includes a thorough inspection and consultation with the user to identify the root cause of the defect. After opening the engine, a rudimentary measurement of the basic engine structure such as the engine head, block (cylinders), pistons, connecting rods, main shaft, valves, guides, valve seats, and also a visual inspection of the peripheral parts of the engine, will be carried out. All this is aimed at identifying causes of defects or excessive wear. Although peripheral engine parts are not covered by the engine restoration procedure itself, they are still inspected and the user is informed about their condition (e.g. turbine, injectors, EGR valve, etc.), as we aim to provide a complete solution.

How much does a repair/restoration cost?

The cost of engine restoration depends on the model of the vehicle and the extent of wear. For restoration, it is crucial that the vital parts are intact, since damage such as a hole in the engine block, a broken crankshaft or cracked cylinder head will require replacement of the engine or damaged parts that cannot be restored. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to symptoms of excessive oil consumption and other indicators in order to restore the engine before major defects or, in the worst case, engine breakdown occurs.

The average cost of an engine restoration ranges between €2,500 and €3,000 for 3-cylinder passenger car engines and between €3,000 and €3,500 for 4-cylinder passenger car engines. The final price is adjusted according to the customer’s expectations only after a thorough inspection and measurements have been carried out. In many cases, at the stage when the engine is disassembled “down to its bare bones”, it is discovered that an additional part (e.g. clutch, alternator, flywheel, or a specific part depending on the model of the vehicle) would be worth replacing. In such cases, an additional replacement is reasonable and advisable, as with an already disassembled engine, you save on labour costs.

In which cases does the investment in repair/restoration even make sense, given the value of the vehicle, which may be less than the cost of restoration?

If the vehicle is in good condition and you have already invested significant resources in it, it makes sense to consider a repair or restoration. In doing so, you can prolong your worry-free driving for the next 5 years or more. Such an approach allows you to spread the costs, which often do not outweigh the loss in sale value of the vehicle caused by a breakdown or by any subsequent defects, such as those caused by excessive oil consumption.

Is it possible to pay for the repair/restoration in several instalments?

Yes, customers often arrange their own instalment payments via bank cards or quick credit, which can be most economically obtained from their bank. If desired, we can also arrange instalment payments through a bank, which can range from a few instalments to multi-year instalment payments. If the vehicle is subject to a leasing contract, the current instalment can be adjusted (increased) in agreement with the leasing company, to include the cost of restoring the engine as a major adjustment to the vehicle’s value.

How long does an engine/vehicle repair/restoration take?

This depends on the particular vehicle model. In the case of a model for which we already have an engine ready, the restoration is quick; it takes 3 to 4 days to inspect the old engine and to install the restored one. If the engine is not in stock, the individual restoration of a vehicle’s engine takes 2 to 3 weeks. Although every effort is made to repair or restore the engine within the agreed time frame, in rare cases, unforeseen delays in the supply of spare parts may occur, or unforeseen complications may delay the execution of the work done by subcontractors. We are in constant contact with our clients, and in the vast majority of cases, we are able to meet the deadlines precisely.

Is it possible to rent a substitute vehicle during the repair period?

Yes, if you do not have an insurance policy with assistance that includes the rental of a substitute vehicle for the duration of the repair, you can rent a substitute vehicle from us.

Will the repair be temporary or rather how long will it last?

The repairs are carried out according to the Automotiv® procedure, precisely following the manufacturer’s standards. Objective measurements confirm that the permanence of the restoration is dependent on the durability of the materials. Often, the durability of the engine after restoration is longer than it would have been with the genuine parts of the original manufacturer. The installed components are of high quality, and include improvements resulting from experience and technological advances over time. Every engine restoration is therefore covered by a 100% warranty on the work done, valid for one year or until the first service (or 20,000 km), which covers all work carried out in the framework of the restoration.

How many more kilometres can I drive with a restored engine/vehicle, or rather by how much is the life-span of the vehicle extended?

After an engine restoration, you can expect at least the same range as before the restoration. For example, if you are restoring an engine at 150,000 km, you can expect to drive at least that much again, or even more if you are diligent (cold start, regular maintenance and replacement of components according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, etc.).

For older generations of engines, which usually show signs of weakness at 250,000–300,000 km, with appropriate maintenance and by correcting minor faults as they occur, you can expect to cover 400–500 thousand kilometres.

If only the vital and wear parts of the vehicle are restored, will the other non-restored parts on the vehicle last for the "extended" life-span of the vehicle?

Experience shows that the engine is often the most vulnerable part of the vehicle. If the engine is intact, the other parts of the vehicle are often also quite sturdy and last longer. Of course, the transmission, chassis and electrical parts of the vehicle also need attention, but these are usually quicker to address. Before the restoration, it is therefore important to inspect the vehicle as a whole, assess its current condition and assess the feasibility of the engine restoration.

What kind of guarantee on the repair do you offer?

After providing a repair service, we always carry out a test drive to verify flawless operation. We offer a 1-year warranty on the work performed or until the first service at 20,000 km. This period is the time frame in which it usually becomes apparent if there are issues with the engine. After handover of the vehicle and the first 1,000 km, we will also invite you for an inspection to check that everything works properly.

What sort of materials are being installed?

We install original spare parts or parts equivalent to original parts, which have been reliably tested for quality.

Can I bring my own spare parts to be installed in the engine/vehicle?

Generally you can, but we do not recommend it. With unfamiliar spare parts, it is difficult to be sure which materials (dimensions, versions and quality) are used. In that case, customers have to take responsibility if there is something wrong with the material. However, everything is a matter of reasonable agreement.

Does engine restoration mean that every part of the engine is restored?

Restoring an engine includes parts such as the engine head, cylinder block, main shaft, pistons, valves, connecting rods, distribution (belt, chain or gear train), oil pump – all of these parts are restored. Peripheral parts surrounding the engine (not part of the engine) are visually inspected and replaced or restored where necessary and with the customer’s agreement.

Can I purchase a rebuilt engine and have it fitted by my mechanic?

Yes, this is a common case, especially when the customer’s “in-house” mechanic discovers a major defect of the engine and does not take it on himself due to the specificity of the repairs or the extensive time scope. In this case, the “in-house” mechanic can deliver the defective engine to us (it is also possible for us to pick it up) and, once the engine is restored, reinstall it.

Such co-operations and orders are growing more and more frequent, as customers themselves already suggest to their mechanic the option of an engine restoration (instead of a replacement with a new one). In this way, the customer remains in contact with their mechanic, who removes and reinstalls the restored engine and continues to service it. Such an engine has all the accompanying documentation, measurements, images and instructions on what the mechanic needs to pay attention to when installing the engine in order to avoid possible complaints.

Instead of restoring, is it preferable to replace the engine with a new one or with one that has already been restored? What is the difference?

Technically speaking, there is no difference. A new engine is constructed of new parts, whereas a restored one is constructed of the existing base (block, head) with all the other parts replaced or technically repaired. In both cases, all parts must be within the factory tolerances and specifications prescribed by the type-approval of the vehicle.

Can you repair only as much (minimum) as necessary in order for me to sell the vehicle as a functioning vehicle at minimum cost?

No, this does not pass as good practice. The main purpose of such practices is mainly to deceive buyers under the pretence that the engine has been repaired, when in fact the defect (the consequence) has only been partially repaired, while the reason for the defect still remains. We advise against such practices, as the English phrase “We are not rich enough to buy cheap things” often proves to be true for the customer (user); as for us, this would mean we will be repairing it twice. When possible, it is sensible to have a proper consultation and only then decide what scope of repair is appropriate.

I wish to restore my engine, but the drive belt has recently been changed by another workshop. Can you retain the old belt/chain when restoring the engine?

A restoration always involves installing new wear parts such as a belt or chain. This way, the vehicle is guaranteed to function. Even if you could save some money by using old parts, the price of risk in the event of a malfunction might be too high.

As opposed to older engines that lasted 300,000 km or more, why do modern engines not last more than 150,000 km?

Modern engines are becoming increasingly “lean” in their construction. The walls of their components are thinner to make them as light as possible, and economically more viable materials are used. These should theoretically last as long as, or even longer than, the ones in previous models, but in daily practice, under different user conditions, they manifest differently. Everything is designed to a minimum, tolerances are reduced to almost half thanks to tribological advances, the capacity is reduced to a minimum due to emissions, loads are increased to a maximum, all in order to be as economically and environmentally efficient as possible. The intention is noble, but durability has not yet reached the point it was in the older variants. A decade ago, vehicles were engineered for maximum longevity, so pre-sale tests were carried out for 18 months or more. Today, advanced technology is being used to engineer vehicles that go from design to the end customer in just 18 months or less, with almost no testing at all. Correspondingly, there are more defects in certain parts than the customers expect.