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The Big Fix: Are Refurbished Auto Parts Better Than New Ones?

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Filed under Automotive, Automotive Help

How Does One Choose Which Spare Parts to Use?

Replacing engine parts is considered a necessary evil by most motorists: no matter how carefully a vehicle is maintained, the wear and tear of regular use will soon make replacements necessary.

Mechanics usually give their clients choices regarding parts replacement: purchasing new ones from reliable vendors or automotive partners, salvaged parts, or – in many cases – refurbished parts.

Most motorists usually settle the question by considering either the cost, but not necessarily thinking of the long-term benefits or potential disadvantages their choice may have on their vehicles’ performance. In which case, motorists need to know the differences to make better decisions when it comes to spare parts.

In this article, let’s resolve the question of whether you can depend on refurbished auto parts, or do you stand to benefit more if you buy new ones from O’Reilly Auto Parts or Napa Auto Parts.

Know Your Auto Parts

You need to know your auto parts first before you decide if refurbished spare parts are better than new ones. Numerous auto repair shops give their clients a selection of choices when it comes to parts replacement: new parts made directly by automotive manufacturers, engine components salvaged from irreparable vehicles, remanufactured spares, and refurbished auto parts. Get to know the differences among new factory-direct parts, salvaged parts, remanufactured spare parts, and refurbished spare parts.

New Factory-direct Parts

Also known as original equipment manufacturer parts or OEMs, these are engine components produced directly by automakers or by their licensed partners. These are usually replicas of factory parts installed into new vehicles.

Salvaged Parts

These are usable engine components taken – recovered – from junked vehicles that are either irreparably damaged by accidents or have reached their end of life. These are usually cleaned and drained of industrial fluids such as motor oil and coolants before being tested for possible resale. Salvaged parts are the cheapest option offered, as there is no need to manufacture them.

Remanufactured Spare Parts

Remanufacturing parts involves replacing the worn-out components of used OEMs. While these parts have some wear and tear, their overall quality is almost as good as new.

Refurbished Spare Parts

These are bench-tested and cleaned parts that are backed by a warranty, making them a popular choice among mechanics who can easily install them into vehicles. Refurbished parts also cost considerably less than OEMs and even remanufactured pieces.

Pros and Cons of OEMs and Refurbished Spare Parts

Having pointed out the differences, let’s consider OEMs’ pros and cons against those of refurbished parts.


The Advantages:

  • Quality assurance is guaranteed as these come directly from the original manufacturer and have undergone strict quality control;
  • OEMs are more compatible as these are, essentially, replicas of factory-installed parts and fit in perfectly on installation; and
  • They come with a warranty, enabling the car owner to count on service whenever necessary.

The Disadvantages:

  • OEMs can be expensive due to limited availability;
  • Limited availability also means they can be hard to find: most original parts are sold exclusively at official service centers as opposed to mass-market distributors, auto detailing stores, or even registered/licensed dealerships; and
  • Even when you find new parts, these take some time to arrive as shipment takes a few days – and this is something that can’t help when it comes to emergency repairs.

Refurbished Spare Parts

The Advantages:

  • Refurbished parts are more cost-effective as these are priced considerably lower than OEMs;
  • Refurbished parts can help lower one’s carbon footprint as these are upcycled materials; and
  • Testing and repair work ensures that these parts function correctly once installed in a vehicle.

The Disadvantages:

  • One can’t exactly expect perfect performance from refurbished parts as these have some wear and tear on them;
  • Compatibility may be an issue on installation: they may be similar in make to the parts that need replacing, but one can’t be sure if they’ll work with the rest of the engine;
  • Service warranties may be limited.

Wrapping up

When it comes to replacing parts of a car engine, owners often weigh the advantages of using refurbished car parts as opposed to either remanufactured or new auto parts. We talked about the pros and cons to consider when it comes to choosing between new and refurbished parts.


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