Transmission Troubles? A Guide to Finding a Used Replacement

Very few things frighten a driver as much as learning their transmission needs work. They know the cost of repairing this essential part is going to be high. In fact, replacing the transmission in a vehicle ranks right up there with replacing an engine in terms of cost. Fortunately, there are many used transmissions on the market today.

Buying a used transmission can save you large sums of money. However, finding this transmission requires time and effort. How can you locate and install a used transmission to save money while getting your car back on the road?

Determine the Damage

To know whether you need a used transmission, determine what is wrong with the current unit. You need to know the problem to ensure replacing the unit will resolve it. Certain transmission problems require you to replace the entire unit. However, you may be dealing with nothing more than a worn-out seal or bad solenoid. Work with an experienced mechanic to learn which repair option is right for the problem you are dealing with.

Find a Reputable Supplier

When you know a used transmission is the best option to repair the vehicle, find a reputable supplier. Don’t purchase a unit from Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace unless it comes from a reputable seller who offers a money-back guarantee. People tend to have the most success when they purchase from a transmission specialty shop or auto parts retailer that sells remanufactured or tested used transmissions. Buying from one of these companies will give you a transmission with a warranty. These retailers can also help you find the right unit for your vehicle.

Consider Compatibility and Mileage

Each vehicle make and model has a specific transmission. As with engines, the units are not interchangeable. When purchasing a used unit, share details about the vehicle’s year, make, model, and engine size. The replacement must be an exact match to avoid problems.

When purchasing the transmission, you need to know how many miles are on it. Lower mileage tends to be better, so look for a unit with 100,000 miles of use or less. High-mileage transmissions might be a good deal, but only if they have undergone a thorough inspection and testing or have been recently remanufactured.

Budget for Installation Costs

Installing a used transmission is not a job for the average person. You will need to have it professionally installed, as this requires specialized tools and expertise. You may pay anywhere from $500 to $1,500 for labor. Talk with the installer to learn about additional costs, such as for fluid, gaskets, or filters. Request quotes from several reputable mechanics before choosing an installer.

Warranty Options

When you buy a used transmission from a reputable supplier, you typically get a warranty. This warranty may be for as little as 30 days or it could extend several years. If something goes wrong with the unit, you will be covered. However, read the terms and conditions carefully to know what is covered, as most suppliers put restrictions in place. Choose a supplier that offers comprehensive coverage.

Purchasing a used transmission is a cost-effective way to get your car on the road again when the current transmission needs repair. However, never buy a used transmission based on price alone. Do your research. Know what you are buying and from whom to get a good deal. This is one area where you don’t want to cut corners, as doing so could leave you stranded on the side of the road.

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