Factories or repair shops will refurbish an old product by swapping out most of its older parts with brand new, up to date parts, theoretically making the machine as good as new. Refurbished items are sold at a discount over a new item with similar parts, and can by most accounts work just as well or even better than the new factory-model items as the components can be customized for performance.
Popular items to refurbish include computers and motor vehicles. Computer experts may refurbish a machine for any reason from wanting a faster and better custom-built machine to the challenge of doing so. An auto repair expert may want to refurbish a favorite classic car to make it not just road worthy, but a fun to drive custom built machine. Such repairmen are also driven by the challenge of making the old new again.
Many refurbished machines offer superior performance to similar store models. The store models are usually built to static, not necessarily optimal specifications. But most refurbishable items are modular: They have a main frame that can support a variety of parts beyond the parts it was originally built with. A computer’s mainframe can typically support a variety of video cards, memory chips, hard drives and other equipment. A car’s chassis can typically support a variety of engines and transmission systems, and the interior can operate with any number of designs.
Most candidates for refurbishment are either in good working order and simply old, or only broken in one major facet. A car, for example, may have a perfectly useful frame and simply need a new engine or transmission… but the repair agent decides to replace everything possible to get it up to date. A laptop’s motherboard may be fried, requiring a full replacement, but a computer expert can take the same machine, swap in a new board with a variety of upgraded chips and components and turn the laptop into a supreme computing machine.
Some stores sell ‘refurbished products’ that are simply store models or models slightly damaged that received the needed repairs. These are typically newer models that stores are still selling new. If you encounter older models, chance are more likely the product was fully refurbished, with most of the parts replaced by newer, superior parts. Smaller dealers and repair shops are more likely to sell fully refurbished products while ‘refurbished’ products are typically sold by bigger stores that are or were recently selling the model in question.
Obviously, if you intend to refurbish a machine on your own, you need to possess expert repair abilities with the respective product to successfully install the needed upgrades and end up with a functional machine. That said, a technically astute repairman can build a machine superior to most models on the market at a fraction of the cost for an average model. Provided the necessary acumen, a computer tech or auto repairman need only the cost for individual parts to build a needed machine. Often these parts cost a relative drop in the bucket compared to the full cost of a new machine.
Some refurbishment machines still come with correctable flaws that need troubleshooting. The only way to be sure of a machine’s capability is to build it yourself, but that’s easier said than done. Thankfully, most reputable dealers offer a limited warranty, so that if the machine has problems out of the gate, you can either have it replaced or repaired free of charge. Service contracts can also be negotiated with some dealers at an additional cost if you wish.
To buy a refurbished machine can prove a challenge because the skills of those who refurbished it vary and you can never be sure how good the machine is that you’re getting. Most machines work competently well, and the allure comes in paying the fractional cost to get it. Some machines are faster, better and stronger than any new model on the market.