Remanufacturing is the disassembly, cleaning and upgrading of parts to "sound working condition," according to the Remanufacturing Institute. Though remanufactured, or rebuilt, parts come from scrapped cars, many are just the ones replaced on your car. Your old part, known as a core in the industry, is sent to be restored to like-new condition and distributed to parts stores and shops to be installed on another vehicle. Rebuilt parts, including engines and transmissions, have considerable advantages over original equipment components. According to Mike Pfau, a spokesman for Jasper Engines & Transmissions in Jasper, Ind., remanufacturing saves not only money but also aggravation. "If you have a car you like and have taken good care of, you may not want to buy a new car. For one thing, you know where all the knobs and buttons are, and you are comfortable. Besides, replacing the engine is often about the same price as one or two car payments." And they are cheaper. Usually, a rebuilt costs 25 percent to 45 percent of OEM, depending on the part, said William Gager, president of the Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association in Chantilly, Va. Their life, likewise, depends on the part, Gager said, with electrical components the trickiest to diagnose and sustain. But should something happen prematurely, remanufactured parts carry the same or longer warranties than OEM parts, Gager said. And they're safe. "Brakes have been remanufactured for as long as the car has been in use," Gager said. "Steering has been remanufactured as well." For the environment too. "On the average, only 1 percent of the energy is consumed in remanufacturing a drivetrain component in comparison to manufacturing the entire vehicle," Japser's Web site says. "Our customers ... saved enough energy in 2007 to power an estimated 598,000 households, or every residence in a city the size of Washington, D.C., for a year," the site says. "Remanufacturing is the greenest of the green," added Gager. "When you can use the same part over three, four, five or six times, you save a lot of resources and energy and reduce environmental impact." According to the Remanufacturing Institute, the energy needed to create a remanufactured alternator is 14 percent of a new one. A remanufactured starter uses 9 percent versus new.

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