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What's the difference? Rebuilt vs. reconditioned vs. remanufactured auto parts

With so many different replacement part options, knowing the difference between rebuilt, reconditioned, and remanufactured go a long way in confidently choosing a replacement part to install in your vehicle.

We get it. When it comes to replacing automotive parts, the aftermarket can be a confusing place. Some of the most confused definitions surround the product recovery processes of rebuilding, reconditioning, and remanufacturing.

If these processes all sound the same to you, you are in for a surprise! Read on to find out what makes them different, and why you should care.

First, what do rebuilt, reconditioned, and remanufactured parts have in common?

Rebuilt, reconditioned, and remanufactured parts fall under the umbrella of product recovery manufacturing processes. Rather than allowing old, worn, or non-functional parts to be scrapped or left to rust in the salvage yard, product recovery processes involve restoring the functionality of these parts, known as cores, to like, or better-than, new quality.

While all forms of product recovery have immense environmental, energy, and cost benefits associated with them, the type of product recovery process used to restore injector functionality and performance has huge significance for the longevity and performance of your car's engine.

The Breakdown: Rebuilt vs. Reconditioned vs. Remanufactured

Rebuilt: A rebuilt product is recovered by inspecting, cleaning, and replacing all parts that are worn or broken. Provided that the parts that are not worn or broken fit into the acceptable wear limits laid out by the manufacturer, they will not be replaced, and therefore, the components in the product will have different levels of wear. Whether a product is rebuilt or remanufactured, its functionality will be restored. However, remanufacturing is a more comprehensive process in which each component of the product is returned to manufacturer standards.

Reconditioned: Reconditioning is the product recovery process that is the most similar to remanufacturing. Both involve the replacement of damaged or worn components, but the big difference is that in remanufacturing, the process is meticulous enough to return the product to the manufacturer’s original specifications, which maintains the warranty. Reconditioned products, on the other hand, cannot use the product’s original warranty.

Remanufactured: Remanufacturing is a standardized industrial process by which previously sold, worn, or non-functional products are returned to same-as-new, or better, condition and performance. The complex and stringent remanufacturing process is in line with specific technical specifications, including engineering, quality, and testing standards. The process yields fully warranted products that meet or exceed OEM specifications.

So, why do these differences matter when it comes to fuel injectors?

Often, the terms rebuilt, reconditioned, remanufactured are used interchangeably with each other due to the fact that they are each product recovery manufacturing processes. However, when it comes to fuel injectors, understanding the difference between these processes is imperative. Why?

A fuel injector is one of the most complicated components within an engine. They are responsible for pressurizing fuel and injecting the atomized fuel mist into the combustion chamber, or intake valves on some vehicles. Needless to say, injectors are subject to various operating conditions under extreme pressure and they must be timed perfectly to ensure ideal fuel usage.

The complexity of the fuel injector is a double-edged sword. While the technology and precision required for fuel injectors to operate properly is astounding, the downside is that there are many things that can go wrong within a fuel injector. Fuel injection problems can lead to a handful of issues for your car's engine, including:

  • Loss of Engine Power

  • Hard Starts

  • Smoking

  • Knocking

  • Rough Running

  • Poor Fuel Efficiency

The problems listed above will almost certainly lead to another trip to the service shop.

Now that we've addressed the complexity of injectors and how they operate, let's get back to the question we posed above.

Why does it matter if an injector is rebuilt, reconditioned, or remanufactured?

When it comes to injectors and the complexity of their operation, unquestionable quality is essential. Remanufactured injectors, especially those remanufactured by GB, are the only injector replacement that you can be sure will meet or exceed OEM specifications.

All GB remanufactured injectors are completely disassembled, internally and externally cleaned, and components will be replaced with all new, OEM quality components. GB injectors are tested under multiple operating conditions at each stage of the remanufacturing process, as well as during the final phase of the reman process, to ensure that each injector performs like a new OEM injector.

In addition, GB engineers often improve the original design of the injector to address and resolve the original design that led to the failure of the injector in the first place, resulting in an injector that exceeds OEM specifications. For more on this, we invite you to check out our article "Can Reman be as Good as New?"

Here's the bottom line.

With GB remanufactured injectors, you can be sure that your injector replacements will function exactly like or better-than new OEM injectors, and we think that's worth a great deal.


Curious to learn more? Visit our Knowledge Center, packed with fuel injection-related articles and topics to assist you in better understanding fuel injection systems and technologies.


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