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Rebuilt vs. Remanufactured Engines



ou may believe that there isnít much difference between a rebuilt engine and a remanufactured one. However, if you do your homework, you will soon find out that YOU ARE WRONG. There is, in fact, a huge difference between a rebuilt and a remanufactured engine. To decide which is the best process for your car, read on.


First, and most important, a rebuilt engine will have a much shorter life than a remanufactured one because the process of rebuilding is significantly less precise and that translates into less predictablity. Rebuilding is performed in local automotive body shops and is dependent on the skills, judgement, and experience of the individual mechanic. Parts that appear to still be functional are merely cleaned and reused; only those parts that are worn down or broken are replaced. So, if those parts that are only cleaned break down in the future, you will be looking at a very costly diagnosis to determine what the exact problem is, and then an even more expensive repair.


Remanufacturing is a science ó it is precise and exacting. The work is done in a factory and all the engine parts are disassembled and thoroughly cleaned. This includes not only the larger parts of an engine, but also the small components, such as starters, alternators, clutches, brake calipers, and wiper motors. Other new parts may include pistons and pins, piston rings, connecting rod bearings, the timing gear and chain, valve and camshaft bearings, pushrods, valve lifters, gaskets and seals, freeze plugs, and oil pumps. Cylinder heads are cleaned and resurfaced, cylinders are bored and valve seats are resurfaced. Then they are tested, repaired, reworked, or replaced. When all this is finished, the engine is reassembled and tested, using state-of-the-art computerized equipment. With remanufacturing, the performance of the engine must meet certain performance requirements during oil pressure, compression, and vacuum testing.


Remanufacturing is as close as you can get to installing a new engine. It far surpasses the simple replacement or rebuilding of parts that constitutes rebuilding. There is a world of difference between the quality of a remanufactured engine.


A rebuilt engine is not completely disassembled or inspected. Letís look at an example. If you have decided to have your engine remanufactured, once it is taken apart, the remanufactured alternator will have both new diodes and brushes, an undercutting of the armature coil, new bearings, and pulleys. Your rebuilt alternator may have only the brushes replaced.


In fact, a remanufactured engine may perform BETTER than your original engine! The individual parts have been replaced with upgraded components that are free from the problems encountered when you first bought your car!

Besides giving you a better than new car when you choose remanufacturing over rebuilding, there is the issue of warranties. A rebuilt engine has a significantly shorter warranty period, usually 30 to 90 days. A remanufactured warranty generally runs for a much longer period, such as one year to the lifetime of your car.


So how do you decide which process to go with? If your engine performs well, except it has certain quirks, like stalling or taking its time to start, or it works well but you just canít locate that mysterious buzzing noise whenever you take it up over 40 mph, you might want to try rebuilding. But if your vehicle is in good shape, but your engine is giving you panic attacks every time you go for a drive, replacing that engine with a remanufactured one will give you a car that may very possibly outperform the one you drove out of the factory showroom. 

Also see

Your Car's Mechanical Condition

Change Your Oil Once a Year or Every 35000 Miles! -learn about synthetic oil and it's advantages for you.

Glossary of Automotive Terms -from crankshaft to horsepower to spark plugs, find out what those auto terms mean!

Troubleshooting Basic Problems -a handy little checklist covering an area of potential problems.

5 Unusual Odors From Your Vehicle -Do a little detective nose work on your car!



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