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What is a Core Charge?

If you have recently tried to buy auto parts online, you may have come across something called a “core charge”—which probably leaves you with two questions: What is a core? And why am I getting charged for it? A car part generally has many external components that fail, but those components can be rebuilt or replaced to bring the part back to working order. It’s like if you had a hammer and one day the handle broke in half. If you didn’t have any way to fix it then you would have to buy a new hammer. Let’s say that instead of throwing the broken hammer away the hardware store asked you to bring in your old hammer so that they could rebuild the handle and sell it for a discounted price. That is what a core is-- it’s like the head of the hammer. Without a handle the hammer is worthless, but it can easily be rebuilt by someone who has the right tools and expertise.

A core charge is a temporary deposit that the retailer takes from you (the consumer) to ensure that they get the “defective” part back from you after you have replaced it. For example, if you purchase a brand new steering rack, turbocharger, or A/C compressor from you will get charged for the price of the part plus an additional core charge. Let’s say the part costs $500 and the core charge is $150. You would pay $650 at the time of purchase. When you received your new turbo, rack, or compressor you would install it into your vehicle and take the defective one out. You would then ship it back to When Buy Auto Parts receives your core they will inspect it to make sure that it can be repaired and then we will refund the $150 back to you.

Core charges are important because they encourage recycling of old parts that would otherwise get thrown away. Instead of constantly making new parts, cores can be rebuilt and sold at a discounted cost which in the end benefits the consumer—that’s you!

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