The Good and Bad of Refurbished Parts and Avionics

No matter the plane, maintaining a well-used aircraft can be a challenge on your budget. Replacing parts, or even making regular repairs can add the costs up quickly. You might start looking to bring the price down by looking for refurbished avionics. These used parts are only a fraction of the price, but you might want to be a little warry of what you might actually be getting from these dealers. The main problem with purchasing these parts is the condition you may find them in. It’s possible you will end up with a part that is in worse shape than the one you currently want to replace. Sometimes when it comes to keeping your plane in top condition, cutting costs isn’t the way to go. Here are things to watch out for when looking for refurbished parts.

Terminology to Look Out For

Not all refurbished airplane parts and avionics are created equal. When looking online or in a yard for a replacement piece the terminology used in describing what you’re working with is crucial because they can mean the difference between a bargain worth putting on your aircraft and turning it into a flying deathtrap.

Factory Reconditioned/Remanufactured

This is typically in your avionics; navigation technology, coms, and commercial entertainment systems. These will be your most reliable source for used Avionics. The business has taken great care in removing the parts, cleaning them, and resetting anything until they are as close to the original factory condition as possible even typically coming from factories who have received them and are looking to resell. They also are likely to come with a six- to 12-month warranty, so if something does go wrong with it early on, you’ll be able to have it repaired with no extra cost to you.

The one issue with these items is they are not an extreme bargain, typically only selling for a small portion less than the exact same avionic brand new in the box. It then becomes your call on whether it is worth 10 to 20% more for the new unit.


Overhauled avionics although usually associated with instruments can also include any major mechanical parts of an airplane. This means engines, propellers, and wings. These parts are typically of similar quality and reliability to the factory reconditioned parts; the only difference is factory reconditioned parts are refurbished in factory-owned or affiliated shops while overhauled are refurbished outside of the factory affiliations. Although a little more rare than factory reconditioned warranties, these parts can also come with some form of a warranty exclusive to the shop that overhauled it.

Although these parts have been tested and will typically be a solid purchase, it is important to look at the business you will be purchasing from. Ask questions about the reviews you see online, what warranty, if any, they have, and how long it will last compared to the longevity of the part. Again you won’t find the largest discount on its price compared to a brand new product but the bonuses in warranty and possibly installation depending on the business can provide just the added value you need for the product.

Yellow Tag

Yellow tag items comply with the FAA Form 8130-3 therefore conforming with the original manufacturer specifications. These are comparable to Overhauled items in quality only with more of a guarantee because they are refurbished by a Federal Aviation Administration certified repair station. This removes the heavy lifting of researching a business to make sure they are a reliable organization off your shoulders. Also, like overhaul labeled parts, there is a chance these will come with some form of a warranty.

Green Tag

Green tag is where the unit is expected to be serviceable or repairable, but there are no conditional guarantees and it might go without saying that you won’t find any warranties on the products. These parts and avionics may be a significantly lower price, but the ambiguity of their condition is where you will be paying the price. If you are not versed in aircraft reparations or part installation, you will need to find someone who can take the part and make a thorough inspection so nothing drastic happens when you are in the air.

Our suggestion when looking at Green Tag parts is to make analyze how much proper repair and inspection will cost and where else you can find the part in better condition. A warranty, proper refurbishment, and thorough inspection or a new part altogether might be worth more than the total cost of doing all that on your own because you bought a cheap part.

As Removed

The best way to picture an “As Removed” part is to look at an aircraft junkyard. There’s a chance that’s exactly where your “refurbished’ wing came from. As removed has not gone through any form of testing or inspections and therefore has nothing you can possibly know about the condition or serviceability of the part.

If you’re now in person with a trusted expert on the avionics or parts you are looking into putting on your aircraft. It is in your best interest to shop elsewhere for a new part. At this point the bargain may just be putting your safety in serious jeopardy.

What Boca MX Can do

In the end, the key to buying any part is making sure that it works and specifically works well for your specific airplane, it has a perfect price for your budget, and it has a longevity you are satisfied with. After that, getting it installed is the final piece of your reparation or upgrade project. You could try doing it yourself, or work with a trusted, fully equipped hangar of experts. Not only does Boca MX purchase old grounded aircraft and refurbish parts until they meet the rigorous requirements of FAA Form 8130-3 and our own flight ready specifications; but we also lead the industry in installation and pre and post aircraft inspection. We’ll make sure your repairs, upgrades, or replacements will run smooth and have you and your aircraft back in the sky.

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