Rebuilt, Remanufactured & Used Car Parts Explained

Auto repairs usually come at the worst time and always carry a cost that we’d rather avoid. When major parts in your vehicle need to be replaced, that cost can be significant. For example, if your car’s transmission fails, it can cost $1,500 or more for a new one. The repair shop to which you’ve taken your car will give you three options: a rebuilt transmission, a remanufactured unit, or a used transmission. In this article, we’ll help you understand what each of these terms involves.
What Does Rebuilt Mean?
Major car parts like transmissions are usually comprised of several smaller parts. If your transmission fails, it may be due to the failing of one or more of the smaller parts while other components are working properly. For example, the pistons and actuator band may need to be replaced, but the other parts are fine. A rebuilt transmission would involve replacing only the pistons and actuator band. Rebuilt parts are usually less costly than remanufactured parts.
What Does Remanufactured Mean?
When the O.E.M. (Original Equipment Manufacturer) releases a car part, it is expected to meet certain standards of quality and performance tolerance. Over time, the quality and performance of parts degrade. When a part is remanufactured, it is completely overhauled in order to ensure that it once again meets the O.E.M. standards. Continuing our example from above, a remanufactured transmission will have undergone an exhaustive review that checks every component. This can include the pistons, actuator band, the entire planetary gearset and clutch plates. Everything is restored and tested.
Because remanufactured parts are held to O.E.M. standards, they will often come with a comparatively long warranty. That being said, they are usually more expensive than rebuilt parts.
Used Car Parts
Used car parts are the least costly of the three options. They also require the most caution when purchasing them. The reason is due to the fact that few used auto parts come with a warranty that extends past a year. If the part fails after a year has passed, you’ll have no recourse. However, savvy car owners can find remarkable deals in used parts. By asking the right questions and knowing what to look for, they can often pay as little as 50% of what an equivalent new or remanufactured part would cost.
The decision of which type of part – rebuilt, remanufactured, or used – to invest in will depend largely on your budget and how long you intend to keep your vehicle. After all, if you plan to sell your car in six months, a rebuilt transmission is probably a better investment than one that is remanufactured. Choosing appropriately means knowing your goals, your plans for the vehicle and how much you can afford to spend.

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