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Worlds apart – remanufacturing versus reconditioning

By autotech-nic on March 7, 2023

Remanufactured, reconditioned, refurbished, rebuilt – words that are often used interchangeably. Yet, whilst they may sound similar, the truth is they’re very different. Here, OE-approved remanufacturer, Carwood, explains why, and how to tell.

What is remanufacturing?

Put simply, a remanufactured part has been returned to the VM’s original specification through a highly-engineered, regulated process. This includes core inspection, product disassembly, cleaning, reinspection, replacement of all wearable parts with like-for-like OE, assembly and test and calibration. Such is the complexity of the process, and the level of equipment and skills required to do it, Carwood likens remanufacturing to the production of the original component – the difference being that it restores a used part to its original condition, instead of producing a brand new one.
“All Carwood pumps, injectors and turbochargers conform to BS 8887-220:2010 standards and are backed by ISO 9001:2015 quality and ISO 14001:2015 environmental management certification,” explains Lee Jacobs, head of engineering – automotive, Carwood. “They’re remanufactured in-house by factory-trained technicians, using the very latest OE standards, equipment and test plans. So, for all intents and purposes, they’re new. And is why they come with an OE-matching warranty.”

Carwood technician testing a turbo on Turbo Technics Rig

What is reconditioning?

In contrast, reconditioning, also known as rebuilding or refurbishing, involves disassembling, cleaning, and replacing only worn or damaged parts. This means that serviceable parts with some level of wear and tear, may be reused, compromising the product’s performance and lifespan.
Illustrating this difference, Jacobs adds: “When remanufacturing common rail injectors, the nozzle assembly may be in serviceable condition for reuse. But it may not be. So we replace 100 percent of these critical components, eliminating the chance of potential issues, whilst also ensuring our product lasts and performs like the OE, sometimes better.”
Testing is equally variable. Some reconditioners will test, some won’t. Either way, it won’t be to the same demanding schedule as the OE. Carwood technicians, for example, test against hundreds of points to recalibrate most common rail injectors. Reconditioners, will either skip this crucial step, or won’t have right equipment to do it to OE standards, meaning the ECU will have to ‘guess’ how much fuel to deliver, when the injector is reinstalled.

How to tell the difference?

Besides both lower prices and warranty, there are some easy ways to spot inferior quality reconditioned products. For example, Carwood machine finishes all turbo mating faces and taps and threads the holes. Most reconditioners won’t, causing warped surfaces and installation issues.
Its remanufactured fuel components for Bosch come with a Bosch QualityScan label, certifying they have been made to the OE’s exacting specifications. Units from other OEMs include a new correction code. And its turbos, a Carwood plate with serial number which links to job-specific data. All aftermarket products come in either Carwood or OEM branded packaging.
So now you see why it makes sense, for both you and your customers, to choose remanufacturing over reconditioning. Whilst it may cost a little more, you’re getting a proven-quality part, that will last a lot longer, comes with assurances to match, and is just as good for the environment.


About Autotechnician
Autotechnician is a magazine published nine times a year, delivering essential information to independent garage owners and technicians in the UK. Delivered both digitally and in print, autotechnician provides readers with technical, training, business advice, product and news, allowing our readers to keep up to date with information they need to run and work within a modern workshop.
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