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Renault reconditions its mechanical parts

The French manufacturer has been reconditioning the mechanical parts of its vehicles since 1949 - a way of encouraging motorists to repair their vehicles rather than scrap them.

Recognizing the need to optimize resource consumption in the automotive industry, Renault has been engaged on a circular economy approach for some years. In order to reduce its dependence on raw materials and its impact on the environment, the manufacturer reflects on everything from the vehicle design to the end of its life.

And it’s nothing new! The production of reconditioned engines on the Choisy-le-Roi site in the Ile-de-France region began in 1949! It has diversified over the years to include six product families. In 2015, 25,370 engines, 15,930 gearboxes and 11,700 injection pumps were refurbished.

Standard exchange

"Remanufacturing better known as reconditioning, consists of getting a part or a product back into working order, in its original condition and with its original characteristics," explains the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which uses the example of the Choisy-le-Roi site to demonstrate the value of this approach. "The sector employs 350,000 people in the United States but only 35,000 in Europe for an equivalent vehicle fleet."

The reconditioned parts produced by the Choisy-le-Roi plant are used to repair vehicles that are in use. They call it "standard exchange”.

If you take your car to a garage to replace a damaged part, they may be able to offer you a standard exchange part. In addition to being 30 to 50% cheaper, you’ll have a part that is (almost) as good as new, and has a one year warranty!

Huge potential

This standard exchange of reconditioned parts has lots of advantages! It helps extend vehicle life and means motorists, in particular the owners of older cars, can reduce their running costs. As the Ellen MacArthur Foundation points out, in many cases it now makes economic sense to repair vehicles that would otherwise be scrapped because the cost of repairs exceeds their value.

The second advantage is that the reconditioned parts do not undergo a new production process and so the consumption of energy and raw materials is considerably less. "Worldwide, the energy saved by reconditioning parts would be equivalent to the power generated by eight nuclear power plants.” In Choisy-le-Roi, producing reconditioned parts saves 80% of the energy, 88% of the water, 92% of the chemicals and 70% of the waste that manufacturing a brand new part would entail.

Main picture: Getty Images

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