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What is a Core and Why am I Being Charged?

Core charges and conditions vary so it’s worth your time to understand what these and other terms mean before purchasing a part that requires a core deposit, or is sold in “exchange.”

What is a Core, and Why Am I Being Charged?

Simply put, your broken or malfunctioning part, typically an assembly of some kind, is the “core” in “core charge.” I’ve sold used parts since 2013, and I don’t know why it’s called a “core,” but that’s not important. Your money and your time are important, and we want to save you both.

A core charge is a deposit you pay upfront that is refunded once we receive your broken part, so long as any core conditions have been met. There are methods that you can employ to avoid a core deposit in some situations, and there are some parts that we will not sell without a reasonable guarantee of a usable core in return.

Why Do You Want My Junk?


The short answer is it’s worth something to us. Your need for a working part and our desire for your broken one is mutually beneficial. For example, if your backhoe shuttle transmission is not working, it’s MUCH faster and cheaper to buy the complete assembly with the torque converter from us and have it installed in a day instead of paying a mechanic to remove it and rebuild and reinstall yours. In return, we get a rebuild-able core that we can sell as-is, have refurbished, or keep on hand.

How Much is This Going to Cost Me?

The core charge is determined by many factors. Some parts are so difficult to find in working or rebuildable condition, that the core deposit is equal to or greater than the price of the part itself. There is no set cost for each type of part, and the charge may change over time, largely dictated by the law of supply and demand. Not all core charges are Non-negotiable, but some cannot be avoided. Some common core charges are $350 for a rebuilt torque converter to fit a Ford 555D or Case 580K Backhoe. In general, torque converters can be rebuilt by a skilled mechanic as long as the housing is not compromised. So in that case, you will pay the $350 deposit when you order the part, and once our rebuilder inspects your core housing, we refund that $350 back to you. Once all is said and done, it will cost you $0 as long as any and all core conditions are met!

What Are Core Conditions?

Core conditions are the terms under which we will accept your broken part. In other words, there are some parts that are “too broken” for us to accept as a core. On the other hand, there are some cores we want back regardless of the condition. As with the amount of the core deposit, the core conditions are determined by a number of factors, similar to those listed above. 


When there are specific conditions that your core must meet, they will be listed in the product description on our page. 


Some rebuilders have a sliding scale depending on exactly what components are use-able, meaning they will inspect a core engine or transmission, and refund you in full or partially depending on what components are not rebuild-able. While it’s understandable that a company would structure its core conditions this way, we try to avoid these conditions if at all possible.


If you have ANY questions, please call us, and we will be happy to explain further. Again, cores can be complicated, and effective communication is the best way to make sure all parties involved understand each other.

What if I Don’t Have a Core?

For many parts, if you do not have a core, we will simply charge the core deposit with a note on the sales receipt stating that you do not have a core, and we are selling you the replacement part “outright.” In that case, the core deposit is not refunded.


There are some parts that we CANNOT sell outright. These parts are either so scarce, or we use a rebuilder that does not allow it because their business depends on being able to rebuild and re-sell them.


Some rebuilders have a sliding scale depending on exactly what components are useable, meaning they will inspect a core engine or transmission, and refund you in full or partially depending on what components are not rebuildable. While it’s understandable that a company would structure its core conditions this way, we try to avoid these conditions if at all possible.


There are some cases where we will offer partial credit if a core does not meet the conditions laid out by our sales staff. For example, we may charge a $500 core deposit for an engine. If there is a hole in the block, we may offer $300 back or we may work out another deal. Not all core conditions are inflexible.


As I mentioned earlier, some parts cannot be sold unless there is a reasonable guarantee that we will get a rebuildable core back. Of course, there are situations where a customer will buy a tractor missing some parts to fix up. That’s one way to get a great deal on it, but you should do some research into just how difficult it is to locate the missing parts before you pull the trigger. Again, in some cases, it is simply not possible to sell you a replacement part without a qualifying core, given the scarcity of the part. 


I’ll give you an example, so you won’t get stuck with a great deal on a 1-ton lawn ornament. The Ford New Holland compact series, including the 2-cylinder 1500 is a powerful machine on a small frame. They will last for generations AS LONG AS you are careful not to run the engine too hot, or you will likely crack the cylinder head. If that happens, the best-case scenario is to buy a rebuilt head for $1,250 + a $750 core charge and shipping one way. If you have luck like me, that head will crack in the one place it cannot be repaired and even good used ones are either not available to buy outright, or are extremely expensive.

How Does My Core Get to You?

In the great majority of cases, we will pay to get your core back to us. For small parts, we can simply have UPS pick it up from you, or we can send you a pre-paid label through the mail, to your e-mail, or in the box with your replacement. Freight gets a little more complicated because we have to schedule a time for pick up and get a copy of the bill of lading over to the pick-up location via email or fax, but it’s not prohibitively inconvenient.


In some cases, you are responsible for the cost to get your core to us. IF YOU ARE, we will make sure you are aware of that before you make the purchase, and there are ways that our shipping and freight discounts can lower your return shipping costs.


We will often ask you to write an RMA (Returned Goods Authorization) number on the outside of the box, directly attached to the core itself, or on a copy of the invoice that we send you. These instructions are essential and will be communicated clearly to you. The time it takes to process your core refund depends on it, which brings me to your next question.

How Long Will My Core Refund Take to Process?

Once again, I don’t have a one-size-fits-all answer for you, but I will give you a good idea. As always, our sales staff can give you the most accurate lead times on a case-by-case basis.


Some cores are picked up from you and sent back to our rebuilders. We regularly tack these and follow up with our vendor to check the status of your return. It can take several business days once the core is received to be inspected, depending on the volume.

Cores shipped directly to us tend to be processed much quicker. We are able to inspect the cores and process your refund within one business day.


We can refund your core deposit directly back to your credit or debit card, but keep in mind that once the refund is done on our end, your bank or lender may take additional time before the funds are available to you. That is beyond our control. We are also happy to mail you a company check if you prefer.

Can I Buy a Part Exchange Without Paying the Core Charge Up Front?

Yes. You absolutely can, but you will need to get your core to us before we can ship your replacement part. In this scenario, you are responsible for the cost to get that core to us or our rebuilder. In that case, if your core meets all conditions, you will not be charged when we ship your replacement part to you.

If you do not see the answer to your question in this article, please call our sales staff at 1-800-462-8118. We are always happy to answer any of your questions before you make your purchase. We believe an ounce of prevention prevents a pound (or in our business, TONS) of headache. Give us a call today!