What to Consider When Buying a Second Hand Transmission

Carpart News

Nov 21st, 2018

What to Consider When Buying a Second Hand Transmission

Engines and transmissions are the main parts of a car's mechanicals, without which a car will not move an inch. There will be times when these car parts require fixing or even replacement. 

Repairing these parts can be expensive, so it’s wise to get one that’s in good condition. You could get one from a second-hand car or from a transmission shop that installs used transmissions. Here are some tips you should keep in mind when purchasing a used transmission. 

Where should I start looking for a used car transmission?

Consult your phone directory for an auto repair shop or look online at websites that deal in used car parts. Directories dedicated to auto repair shops and car professionals are a good place to start.

I’ve found the right transmission online. Now what?

When you find the right second-hand transmission for your car, check the mileage before you purchase it. Make it sure it has low mileage because that’s the best indicator of how much life it has left in it.

Check the mileage 

Some salvage yards may have archives that will tell you how many kilometres were on the vehicle that the transmission was salvaged from. You will have to authenticate the mileage of the transmission yourself if you need to be sure that it’s the right one. 

You can ask for the VIN of the donor vehicle so you can run a mileage verification analysis and report with Auto Check or CARFAX. Some salvage yards may only have the year of the car, so choose the newest vehicle. If the salvage yard doesn’t have such car records, it is best to go somewhere else. 

Do a road test

Since second-hand transmissions come mostly from damaged cars, it is most likely that it has not been road-tested. The best way to check a used transmission is to do a road test so you can confirm that it shifts through all gears smoothly. You can do this before the transmission is removed from the donor vehicle or on a transmission test bench.

Do a visual check

A visual inspection of the transmission is also necessary. You will need to check and verify if there are any noticeable signs of damage to the transmission, such as cracks. 

Ask for a warranty

You should also ask or negotiate for a warranty. Warranties for second-hand transmissions can be perplexing and may contain specific requirements depending on the salvage yard or auto repair shop. Many suppliers offer an extended warranty on used transmissions - the most is 12 months, while the norm is 30-90 days.

Check for leaks

Another point to watch out for when buying second-hand transmission is leakage. Check the transmission fluid levels and add some more to see if any drips out after a while. Don’t purchase a transmission that leaks unless you possess the tools and know-how to repair it. 

Ask the retailer or get a report

Some retailers know the history of the transmission. Ask to see this information to find out if there are any risk factors. You can also check online reports, which will give you a rundown of where the car has been and if there were any transmission-connected car accidents. 

Should I ask a mechanic to find a transmission for me?

If you are a newbie when it comes to cars, consider asking a mechanic to help you find a second-hand transmission. Since they are the experts, they will be in the best position to inform you about the condition of the transmission before you buy it. 

Manual or automatic transmission?

When looking for second-hand transmissions, go for the automatic transmissions over the manual transmission because it is the more popular choice and will make it easier for you to find a buyer.