• Image Credit: Corbis
When rebuilt parts cost hundreds or thousands less than their new equivalents, they're most likely worth using. The same goes when using rebuilt parts involves very little risk to safety or reliability. Based on our conversations with several parts and repair experts, here we list several repairs that will be considerably cheaper -- but likely just as lasting -- with reused parts brought back to top condition. For more information on how much you might be able to save on repairs using rebuilt parts rather than new ones, we recommend looking at the range for repair costs on RepairPal.com, and asking your repair shop the next time you're there.
Engines
  • Image Credit: General Motors

Engines

Typically Called: Rebuilt

Potential Savings Per Repair: Thousands Of Dollars

A rebuilt or remanufactured engine can still be installed for about $2,000 to $4,000, including the cost of the engine itself, but brand-new engines can cost three or four times that amount, especially for some luxury brands. Good rebuilt engines typically come with a one-year warranty and include ancillaries like new water and oil pumps -- and fresh timing belts, of course -- so if you can keep it affordable you're getting some valuable extras in the deal. Rebuilt engines often outlive the vehicle they're installed in.

And if your mechanic decides that your existing engine is salvageable, you might be able to save some money in the process by using rebuilt cylinder heads.
Automatic Transmissions
  • Image Credit: Corbis

Automatic Transmissions

Typically Called: Rebuilt

Potential Savings Per Repair: Thousands Of Dollars

A top-tier rebuilt transmission should last 150,000 miles or more and last just as long as a new one, according to AAA's Nielsen, while costing a fraction. Going with a new transmission costs around $5,000, on average, while substituting a rebuilt one will cost under $2,000. Transmission rebuilds often include new assembly methods -- or even revised parts -- to accommodate for design flaws, so in some cases they'll work better and last longer.
Control Modules, Sensors, Harnesses, And Relays
  • Image Credit: General Motors

Control Modules, Sensors, Harnesses, And Relays

Typically Called: Remanufactured

Potential Savings Per Repair: Hundreds Of Dollars

Control modules for the engine, transmission, and anti-lock braking are relatively straightforward to replace, but these little boxes can approach or exceed a thousand dollars, while installation is usually relatively easy -- for an experienced mechanic who knows how to install these often-delicate components. Replacement modules might even have design improvements, like redesigned connecting pins or better shielding from dust and grime.
Alternators
  • Image Credit: General Motors

Alternators

Typically Called: Rebuilt, Remanufactured

Potential Savings: More Than $100

Control modules for the engine, transmission, and anti-lock braking are relatively straightforward to replace, but these little boxes can approach or exceed a thousand dollars, while installation is usually relatively easy -- for an experienced mechanic who knows how to install these often-delicate components. Replacement modules might even have design improvements, like redesigned connecting pins or better shielding from dust and grime.
Starters
  • Image Credit: General Motors

Starters

Typically Called: Rebuilt, Remanufactured

Potential Savings: More Than $100

Starters typically require more labor time to install than alternators, so going with a rebuilt one is a little more of a gamble. At the same time, if you have an older model you might not even be able to find a new OEM one. In this case, trust your mechanic's advice, whether it be a rebuilt original or an aftermarket model that offers improvements. Just as with alternators, a suspiciously cheap rebuilt part might leave you stranded.
Pumps & Boosters
  • Image Credit: General Motors

Pumps & Boosters

Typically Called: Remanufactured

Potential Savings: Over $100 Per Repair

Most hydraulic and vacuum components are just fine in rebuilt form (or remanufactured, in this case). After all, it's the soft parts, like gaskets, seals, and diaphragms that are likely to wear out first. Thorough rebuilds replace all of those soft parts with new ones, so you're truly getting a like-new part anyway. Power steering pumps, like starters, are next to impossible to find new for some older cars.
Radiators
  • Image Credit: Corbis

Radiators

Typically Called: Remanufactured

Potential Savings: Up to $100

Some owners will be able to save money by using a so-called remanufactured radiator. According to AAA's Nielsen, it's an obvious candidate to purchase reconditioned, as your mechanic can inspect and pressure-test it before installation in the vehicle. "It's either good or it's not," he said. Also, with core structures that are reused, you can rest assured that you're making the environmentally sensible choice along with the frugal one. Watch out for new replacement radiators that are often sold as 'OEM-equivalent' -- if that's all you can find, you might be better off with a remanufactured original.


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