Original Equipment: This term refers to those parts usually marketed through new automobile dealers. They are normally marked with a name or logo associated with the vehicle manufacturer. However, not all original equipment parts are manufactured by vehicle manufacturers. Many are made for the vehicle manufacturers by independent companies who often sell the same part under their own label.
Although usually new, these parts can be rebuilt or remanufactured. Therefore, the term refers more to the origin of the part rather than its condition. The vehicle manufacturers normally promote “original equipment” heavily, implying that such parts, because they are exact duplicates of the ones which came with your car, will work best and give longer service.
Customarily, new “original equipment” parts carry the highest price tag and rebuilt or remanufactured “original equipment” parts cost more than similar parts which are not original equipment. Your buying decision should be influenced by whether the price of an “original equipment” part represents the best buy or whether another part which would prove just as satisfactory can be purchased for less.
New replacement parts and rebuilt parts are in most instances, equal in quality to “original equipment” parts. Other grades of parts may cost considerably less but are usually not of equal quality and may not provide satisfactory performance.
New Equipment: The term “new” describes exactly what it means — a part which has never been installed or used. However, it is not necessarily “original equipment.” Not all new parts are made by the vehicle manufacturer. Many new replacement parts of good quality are available from independent manufacturers and are interchangeable with original equipment parts. In fact, many new replacement parts are identical to original equipment parts because the same manufacturer makes them for the vehicle manufacturers. The only difference is that the vehicle manufacturer markets the part under its logo while the independent cannot do so.
To ensure compatibility, the manufacturers of these parts furnish appropriate information with them to indicate the vehicle and model on which they will function properly. The cost of these parts is generally equivalent to original equipment parts of similar quality.
Recycled Parts: This classification is probably the least understood and the most abused in the current marketplace. Outside the automotive industry, the term “recycled” implies that the item has been restored to its original condition or is a new product manufactured from used materials. Thus, aluminum cans, glass bottles and newspapers are all “recycled” into new products. This is NOT the case with recycled automotive and truck parts.
The term is generally used by auto salvage and scrap yards to describe a part which has been removed from a scrap vehicle and resold with little or no work performed on it. As so used, it really refers to a “used” part. While originally associated with body parts such as doors. fenders, windshields, etc., it is now also being applied to moving parts such as engines, transmissions, starters and water pumps.
Some recycled parts are superficially cleaned, boxed and sold in stores. But no mater what claims the seller may make about the part, the fact is it is still an unreparied, used part whose continued serviceability is uncertain. It is not “recycled” as the term is commonly understood.
Due to their relatively low price, recycled parts are an attractive purchase, and it is certainly one way to make your vehicle operational again. However, such parts should be purchased with the understanding that they have not been restored in any substantial way to assure their future reliability.
Repaired Parts: This is an imprecise term. Essentially it means that the part has had enough work done to it to make it operational again, but it has not been “rebuilt.” Because it has not been fully disassembled or tested, the cause of the problem with the part may not have been fully corrected.
Restored/Reconditioned: These terms are used more often when referring to parts for antique or classic vehicles rather than for parts for general automotive use. They are generic terms implying that the part has been restored or reconditioned to or close to its original condition.
Bench Rebuilding: A bench built part, sometimes described as “custom rebuilt” or “bench rebuilt,” actually describes more the way restoration of the part occurred than its condition. The part is restored to the quality of a rebuilt or remanufactured part. The only difference is that the part was restored individually rather than on an assembly line basis and that testing may not have been done. In other cases, however, the part may only be repaired or not sully restored. Therefore, care must be taken when purchasing a part so labeled.
Modified Parts: These parts have been physically changed to perform or function differently from a similar new or rebuilt part. Typically, these parts are used by those car enthusiasts seeking an increased level of performance or styling from their automobile. However, the term can refer to any part which has been changed and would apply to parts illegally altered to avoid governmental safety or environmental regulations.
Used Parts: This is a part that has been subjected to previous use on a vehicle and is not new. Nothing has been done to repair it or correct any problems it may have. Therefore, its useful life and degree of serviceability are unknown. As a result, its cost is generally less than parts of proven quality, such as new and rebuilt parts.