"Core" charges for an alternator?

Yeah I felt a response was needed, but really a 6 year old thread?

Yeah, and topped by a debate about whether sales taxes on core charges are fair? Now there’s a cutie. Never has the tax been created that was fair. :grin:

I think this thread needs to be left for dead.


Here’s a way to think about the core fee: The removed part still retains some value, so if you want to sell it, the parts store will pay you for it. Think of the price you pay for the purchased part and the core fee as the total price for the replacement part. BTW, you don’t have to sell the used part back to the auto parts store. I seldom do that, I keep it. I’ve found the old part holds value to me too, and more than the price the auto parts store will give me for it. I’m often able to do a fix using something I’ve scavenged off a “core” part I’ve kept for myself. Especially true for electrical items. But I was even able to use a brake part recently from a core, and that saved me a lot of grief b/c finding that part alone would have been a chore.

Unless the customer wanted to keep his old alternator because he owns it and would like to fiddle around with it someday maybe try to rebuild it himself and make a windmill, or sell it for scrap. Then the mechanic would not give back the core fee and it would be added to the bill. It is not a lease and it is not a rental. It is a purchase. It does not make sense to charge a core fee. It is double dipping by someone. How sweet it must be for whoever gets to keep that fee and sell the the re-manufactured part later. I like the business model. The supplier pays the buyer. It’s almost the same as a customer charging the mechanic for providing repair services. Totally backwards. I think this is a case of “that’s just the way it is.”

Yep sorry to respond to something from 2011 but core charges are very basic. They are charged so that the company gets the old one back to rebuild and sell. That’s where rebuilt parts come from. Nothing sinister about it. Normally there is also a tag that says it must be a rebuildable core also. Sheesh.


Eliminate all cores and then you’re left with only new and usually much higher priced parts. Not that I need one, but AutoZone shows a reman transmission for my Lincoln is near 1600 dollars.
The core charge is 500 dollars.

If cores were not required this means everyone is going to be between a rock and a hard place. Instead of 1600 + core it will be 3500 outright, no core required.
And with cars aging the transmission pool will dry up on many models as manufacturing new ones would not be cost effective.

Cores are no different than deposits on cans or bottles. The parts have residual value and that’s reflected in a core charge. If the exchange to the end user takes place in a single transaction, then the core charge exchange should also be transparent to them. That being said…

The trend in all businesses seems to be full disclosure and itemizing every last thing. So a core fee for a part might be listed but then subtracted back off if the old parts are not taken by the car owner. What might appear instead is a handling fee. Someone has to take that old core back to the merchant that charged the core fee in the first place and the back office work to resolve the billing. In the old days, all that may have been bundled into the hourly rate or parts pricing. But with competitive pricing comes itemization. Otherwise, your prices may APPEAR higher than the competition and end up losing business to price shoppers…

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It’s pretty easy for me to bring the old part back in and get my deposit back, but there are also other ways to promote recycling. Parts stores could offer a small financial incentive for bringing in your old part. If they want to profit off of your old part, they could at least give you $10 for it, or some type of coupon. Whoever is profiting off of the old part is still winning, just not as much. It also creates a better atmosphere in the store. Not everyone gets mad about seeing a core charge added on the total, but there’s no way it makes anybody happy. Some kind of incentive for an old part would make anyone feel good. Getting your deposit back doesn’t promote the same kind of good vibes. Are there any online stores that don’t have core charges?

You are way off base here, There is almost no profit in core parts. Most of the time it is either a loss or break even deal. Don’t you think keeping all the things possible out of landfills is a worthwhile goal?

This is not a case of someone making windfall profits and inconveniencing you in the process. The price of the part you just bought has been reduced by the core exchange process.

The manufacturer/rebuilder is counting on those old parts to use on the next replacement they build. The core charge is just a form of insurance that you will complete your end of the deal to get the lower price. Otherwise they have to buy brand new parts and that costs way more than one that is already fabricated.

Would you prefer a higher initial price and the inconvenience of disposing of that part yourself? Around here, you can’t just throw any old thing in the trash anymore so it’s a major inconvenience for me to dispose of it AND it’s not very responsible, environmentally.

But if you like that option, just don’t return the core and they keep the core charge. Simple.

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My 05 4runner had a known issue with front calipers. I replaced them at least 8 times for the 305k miles I owned it. The last set I bought was from NAPA which gave me a life-time warranty…so the last 5 calipers were for free.

The calipers cost about $90…the core charge at most parts stores was $150. They really really really wanted those cores back.

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Axelknight, you also need to consider from the reman facility point of view is that many of those cores they get in return are simply not rebuildable and end up in the scrap pile.

Cores are SUPPOSED to be useable, rebuildable, and complete but that is not always the case.

It’s not like core charges are some new thing, they’ve been around for 50 years, probably way more.