Certain types of auto parts can be recycled or, more specifically, remanufactured for future sale. These parts have a core price that is used as a deposit on the portion of the part that can be remanufactured, which is designed to encourage the return of the old part. Simply put, the “core” is your old part. Returning cores can save you money on replacement parts.
Parts that may have a core price include brake shoes, brake master cylinders, water pumps, starters, alternators, and air conditioning compressors.
The sale of a remanufactured part involves the price of the part itself, as well as an additional core charge to encourage the return of the old part for remanufacturing purposes. The core charge, sometimes called a "core price," is a deposit you pay until you return your old part. If you don't have the core at the time of purchase, you must pay the core charge. That charge is refunded to you when you return the core.
Let's say you buy a remanufactured water pump with a $15 core charge, but you haven't removed your old water pump yet. You must pay the core charge when you buy the part. After you replace the pump, you return the old one to the store with your receipt (which includes the core charge). As long as the old part is in acceptable condition, the store will then refund the $15.