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Summary
  • “Remanufactured” refers to old vehicle parts that have been restored to make them as good as new.
  • “Refurbished” means a vehicle or a part of a vehicle has had a cosmetic upgrade, but no vehicular components have been replaced.
  • “Rebuilt” means the components of a vehicle have been replaced and brought up to OEM specifications.
  • “Reconditioned” means parts have been replaced to make the vehicle run better, but not to the same degree as a remanufactured vehicle.

When some of your vehicle’s parts become damaged or worn out, you’ll likely only consider OE parts and brand-new aftermarket parts for their replacements. But what if there’s a more sustainable option?

Remanufactured parts are a great option for your repair and replacement needs. Find out what they are, how to differentiate them from refurbished, rebuilt, and reconditioned parts, and why you should consider buying them over brand-new replacement parts.

What Does Remanufactured Mean?

Remanufactured refers to an old part that has been restored to “like-new” condition in terms of performance and reliability.

A remanufactured part is usually a used OEM part that has been stripped down and had its worn components replaced with repaired or brand-new parts. Although it won’t be brand new, its quality and performance are equivalent to a brand new component. It also meets the manufacturer’s factory standards.

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Compared to buying a new OE or aftermarket part, opting for a remanufactured part is more sustainable because you’re essentially buying a used part. This helps reduce e-waste by keeping older components out of the landfill.

man holding remanufactured alternator
Compared to buying a new OE or aftermarket part, opting for a remanufactured part is more sustainable because you’re essentially buying a used part.

The remanufacturing industry has been around for more than 70 years. Before then, manufacturers simply scrapped defective units. Fortunately, times have changed and there are options to replace defective products without discarding them outright.

Remanufacturing is only one of the many ways a product can be recovered. Find out how remanufactured parts differ from refurbished, rebuilt, and reconditioned components?

Remanufactured vs. Refurbished

The difference between remanufactured and refurbished parts is their level of restoration.

In remanufacturing, the old component is usually worn out and unable to function without replacing some of its parts. In refurbishing, the defect is usually only cosmetic and does not require replacing or rebuilding.

Remanufactured vs. Rebuilt

A remanufacturer repairs or replaces the component’s core to bring it up to OEM specifications. Whether a component is rebuilt or remanufactured, its functionality will be restored. However, in rebuilding, not every component of the part is restored to the manufacturer’s standards. That means a rebuilt part might have components in different stages of wear.

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Remanufactured vs. Reconditioned

Although remanufactured and reconditioned products are similar, they differ in terms of the result. The process of reconditioning a product isn’t as comprehensive as remanufacturing it.

Remanufactured products are completely taken apart, cleaned, and restored to the manufacturer’s specifications. Meanwhile, reconditioned products aren’t restored to brand-new conditions.

What Parts Can Be Remanufactured?

A lot of car parts can be remanufactured, including (but not limited to) the following:

How Much Does a Remanufactured Part Cost?

While how much a remanufactured part costs depends on the component, you can expect to pay less for a remanufactured part compared to a brand new replacement.

remanufactured car parts
You can expect to pay less for a remanufactured part compared to a brand new replacement.

As for labor, you should expect to pay the same range as you would have your damaged part replaced with a brand new aftermarket variant. Labor costs largely depend on the rates in your area.

Why Should You Consider Remanufactured Parts?

Still not convinced about switching to remanufactured replacement parts? Here are some of the benefits of buying remanufactured parts:

  • Get “like-new” products for less the price of a new replacement
  • Reduces ecological footprint
  • Minimizes waste
  • Maintains product warranty
  • Offers similar condition and quality as the factory component
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What to Consider When Looking for a Remanufactured Component

Shopping for a remanufactured part can quickly become overwhelming because of the wide variety of options on the market. To help you choose the right one for your vehicle, here are some factors to consider when you’re looking for remanufactured parts:

Application

remanufactured car mass air flow sensor
Like shopping for a brand new part, you still have to check your part’s fitment before buying a remanufactured part.

Like shopping for a brand new part, you still have to check your part’s fitment before buying a remanufactured part. Get a remanufactured replacement that is designed specifically for your vehicle’s year, make, and model to guarantee a perfect fit and hassle-free installation.

Quality

To ensure that you are getting remanufactured components with exceptional quality, check if the product’s manufacturer is licensed to remanufacture parts. Better yet, order your remanufactured product from a trusted brand.

Finding the perfect remanufactured product for your vehicle should be easy as long as you follow the tips listed above and look through credible product reviews. Also, don’t forget to check your vehicle specifications or consult your trusted mechanic to double-check the specifications of your remanufactured part.

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Contact Center Manager and Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

William “Bill” Guzenski has produced hundreds of how-to videos for the automotive community. He’s an ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician, and is affiliated with the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). He loves attending race events and car shows throughout the country, as well as traveling in his 40-foot motorhome, exploring abandoned mines and ghost towns.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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