Auto Part Categories And Why It's Important To Understand Their Differences

If you do not know much about cars, it might surprise you to learn that auto parts are categorized by where they are purchased and how they are used. These categories are listed on your receipt when you purchase the parts. Understanding what these categories are and why the differences important will help you purchase parts for your vehicle when you need them.

Certified New

These are factory-direct, name-brand parts. They are extra parts produced by the same company that makes the make and model of car you drive. Usually, people who want to keep factory parts the same as the vehicles they drive (e.g., authentic Lexus parts for a Lexus) is the biggest reason why these parts are made and sold. Certified new parts are also the most expensive.

Certified Used

These are still name-brand parts, but they have had another life in a different vehicle. They are still in very good condition, which is why the company/manufacturer has certified them. They cost less than certified new parts, but provide the same name-brand quality parts as the new parts. Certified new parts often come with a warranty and/or guarantee that lasts a few months to a year.


Used parts could be generic or name-brand. They are not certified, but they are safe enough to install in your vehicle. Used parts are very economical because they will last a year or more but only cost you about a third of certified new parts.


Rebuilt parts are parts that were taken from another vehicle or from a salvaged vehicle. They had slight faults in their functionality, so a mechanic took the parts apart and rebuilt them. Now the parts function just as well as used parts. They will cost more than salvaged parts but less than used parts.


Salvaged means exactly what it sounds like. These parts were taken from a salvaged auto. They have been checked and tested for safety. These parts are the cheapest and least expensive option for replacement parts.

Requesting Specific Parts

If your vehicle ever needs to replace some parts, the mechanic usually replaces them with whatever is available. However, if you want a specific category of parts used in your vehicle, you need to make that request. Using the list of auto parts categories above, you know exactly what to expect for cost, where the parts will come from, and how the parts will perform.