Not exactly, but to the automotive parts industry they are sometimes more precious than gold.  There are almost 20,000 different OEM part numbers that have been listed for electronic control modules since their introduction in 1957.  This means that no other part of an automobile has been made in such variation and uniqueness since the automobile itself!  Try to think of an ECM as you would a rare stamp or coin.  Only a certain number of units exist and each part number is unique in its own way.  Every unit that is lost or destroyed makes the remaining units more vauable.


With few exceptions, no one has ever made "new" ECMs for the automotive industry.  If you read the label closely on an ECM bought from a dealer, you will most likely find the word "remanufactured" on the label.  This


Dealing with a customer on a core return is sometimes like buying a work of art.  If he says it is a Rembrandt, are you going to buy it from him without looking at it first?  Is it really what he say it is?  Maybe he doesn't even know it is not the real thing.  If it is damaged, is it worth the asking price?  If you buy the wrong thing, what are you ging to do with it now?  Unfortunately some units get sent down the line until the company that makes or rebuilds the real ones finally exposes the fake, but now it is too late to catch the mistake at the source.  the rebuilder is forced to absorb the loss and must continue to look for the real thing in a constantly shrinking pool of available units.  This is why some units are nearly impossible to find, or extremely expensive when you find it.

Vehicles that have been damaged by flooding are becoming a growing problem in the auto repair industry and present some unique situations for ECM rebuilders.  An ECM damaged in a flood is usually DESTROYED and should be discarded.  Most vehicles have battery power supplied to the ECM at all times and live electrical circuits submerged in water usually prove fatal to any microprocessor on board.  If the ECM is lucky enough to live through the dunking, the corrosion, rust and mud inside the unit starts to eat away every bit of exposed metal until components start shorting or breaking connections.  Ask any shipbuilder about rust and corrosion -  it is a a virtually unstoppable force of nature.  Trying to rebuild a unit with flood damage is usually a colossal waste of time and effort.  The unit might work for a while, but nature always wins in the end.  Vehicles that have the ECM in this condition will also have a multitude of electrical problems that will only be corrected by CRUSHING IT!



By identifying and inspecting a core return, you may help fix a customer's problem vehicle by proving the unit was wrong for the application.  Have you ever seen a mechanic bring a work order to the parts counter?  Most mechanics order parts completely from memory and are usually working on more than one vehicle at a time.  You might catch a misapplication before the customer walks out the door with the new unit.  Catching an application error will help eliminate a warranty situation and give  the mechanic more confidence in knowing he has the right part.  By solving a problem the customer didn't know existed, you get to be the hero in someone's eyes that day.

means even the original manufacturers are rebuilding units taken from the same salvage yards that every mechanic has access to.  The salvage yard operators know that the fewer number of parts made to fit a specific vehicle, the higher the asking price for that part.  When many companies are actively seeking the same part, prices can easily spiral out of control.  Core prices charged on ECMs reflect the supply and demand situation found in the core market today.