Modern shipping cases are built to last for decades. Your case will show the normal dings and dents from its life on the road but, with proper care, will retain its functionality. Custom case interiors, however, wear out, “ugly” out, and become obsolete within only a few years. In actuality, many people that decide to purchase a brand new case really only need a refurbishment and a new interior. Given the hard economic times, a case rehab may just be the ticket!
Better yet, most of the common hardware problems with cases, such as broken wheels and latches are easily fixed, and most times under the manufacturers warranty. The major case manufacturers offer lifetime warranties on their cases including the case hardware. They can provide you with free parts, and you can either replace them yourself, or bring them to a qualified case fabricator who can install them for you. What you most likely will not want to do is send the whole case back for a simple hardware repair. Most warranties do not cover your shipping cost in sending the case back. if you have to send a large case across the country, this can be a significant cost.
In every geographic region, there are companies who not only sell cases, but also specialize in custom case foam interiors. The better providers utilize CAD design, and can work directly with you to build an interior exactly for your needs. If you are replacing a “Pluck Foam” interior, or an interior made from packaging grade foams, you will be pleasantly surprised at the quality and longevity of your new custom interior. This route is much less expensive than buying a new case, and the custom interior will last much longer than your old do-it-yourself interior.
With respect to the case exterior, custom fabricators tend to be very good at removing label residues, repairing indentations, and fixing other cosmetic issues with the hard case shell. If your case is old and does not have modern latches, handles or locking loops, your fabricator can sometimes retrofit the modern hardware onto the existing case. This will increase the lifespan, durability and even the appearance of the case. Of course, Manufacturers always suggest you to only use OEM parts for replacements. While this is generally a good idea, sometimes it does pay to look at other options as well. There is a lot of quality after market hardware that will fit a variety of cases.
A case is not like a car; an old case is worth very little in terms of sale or trade-in value. Before you toss it in the trash or dump it on E-Bay, take another look. Unless it is falling apart, too ugly, or too big or small for your current needs, you can probably save a lot of money with refurbishment.