Compare repair, rebuild or replace with Cat Financial
Compare repair, rebuild or replace with Cat Financial

Should You Repair, Rebuild or Replace Cat® Equipment?

When you have problems with a machine, you have options in addition to buying new. Take a look at the pros and cons of each choice.

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

Your equipment is a significant investment. Cat® machines are built to last and designed to withstand heavy-duty operating conditions. But when you experience problems with a machine, what are your options? And how do you choose the best one for your business?

Cat Financial is here to help. We understand your equipment and your challenges, and we can help you weigh the pros and cons of your options: repair, rebuild or replace.

Here’s some more good news: Whatever you choose, the Cat Card can help pay for parts, services, rentals, attachments and more. Apply today and earn rewards* on qualifying purchases while you wait for your machine to get back to work.


Finance a Cat rebuild for D8s, D9s, 773 rock trucks, 777 rock trucks



Business goals, timeline and other factors will affect your decision to repair, rebuild or replace. Let’s explore the pros and cons of each option so you can make the right choice for your machine.



A repair fixes or replaces failed components only. Typically, it’s the least expensive option. But if your machine is near the end of life, one repair may not address all the issues. And the cost of multiple repairs could add up.

Repair Pros

  • Fast, easy short-term fix
  • Low-cost option
  • No pain of depreciation
  • Familiar equipment stays on the job
  • Warranty on replaced Cat parts

Repair Cons

  • Shortest life expectancy
  • No option to modernize features or technology
  • No option to add or enhance capacity
  • Possible long lead times or downtime

Is a repair the right choice for you? Be sure to check the status of your warranty to see if the repair is covered. That may make the decision an easy one. If your warranty's expired, consider the "50-50 rule" instead. Will the repair (both parts and labor) cost more than 50% of what a replacement machine would cost? If so, it probably makes more sense to consider one of the next two options: rebuild or replace.

Looking for coverage beyond your standard warranty? An Equipment Protection Plan provides coverage for parts and labor, and protects you from unplanned repair costs from covered defects in Cat material and manufacturer workmanship.



A rebuild changes out all major machine components and most minor ones, too. (During a Cat Certified Rebuild, for example, your dealer replaces all parts that don’t meet strict reusability guidelines. For a machine rebuild, that typically amounts to about 7,000 parts.)

The result is equipment that performs like new, priced at a fraction of the cost. Rebuilding is more expensive than a repair but more affordable than replacement — especially with rebuild financing available to help you get your machine back on the job quickly.

Rebuild Pros

  • Get a second or third life out of your machine
  • Modernize equipment features and technology
  • Rebuilds cost about 60% of the price of a new machine on average
  • Can be completed in 8 – 12 weeks, typically
  • Operators don’t have to learn a new machine and can keep working in a machine they know
  • Has a warranty on replaced Cat parts

Rebuild Cons

  • Significant expense
  • Equipment downtime may require you to rent a machine
  • Supply chain issues can create unexpected delays


As you make your repair-or-rebuild decision, keep this in mind: A rebuild is often most advantageous when your equipment has several issues that need attention. It gives you the chance to replace or restore multiple systems, along with upgrading the machine's performance and appearance. But if you're just dealing with a single repair issue, a rebuild may not be the best use of your time and money.



Replacement is buying a new or used machine to take the place of your existing one. Typically, it’s the most expensive option.

Replace Pros

  • Longest life expectancy
  • Latest technology, comfort and safety features
  • Top efficiency
  • Low maintenance costs
  • New machines include a manufacturer warranty

Replace Cons

  • Greatest expense
  • Possible learning curve for operators to learn new equipment
  • Long-term commitment


To decide if replacement is the best choice, do a repair-or-replace calculation. First, add up your owning costs: the equipment purchase price, taxes and financing minus the resale value. Then add up your operating costs: maintenance, fuel, service and labor expenses over the machine's life. If your operating costs exceed your owning costs, replacing the machine may be a smart decision.


Operating Costs vs Owning Costs


Ready to take the next step?


Still have questions about whether to repair, rebuild or replace? Contact your local Cat dealer. The experts there can walk you through the options and recommend a solution for your business.

Have you weighed the pros and cons and replacing is your best option? The next step is to apply for financing. If you want to start planning for a repair or rebuild down the road, a good first step is to apply for the Cat Card today. That way, you won't have to worry about credit approval later. You can get a repair or rebuild on the schedule and get your machine back to work fast.


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