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Should I Buy a Used Transmission?

When researching the purchase of a new vehicle, it pays to be economical. However, purchasing a used transmission may not be the best option.

Whether economic times are good or bad, transmission repairs can make your heart sink as you reach for your wallet. If you’re watching your dollars, and most of us are, you might be thinking that a used transmission is the only way you will be able to save your car to drive another day (or year, or two, or more). Taking the time to find out more about your transmission repair options might change your mind.

Facts About Used Transmissions

Used transmissions can be found at most auto wreckers. Many of these suppliers offer warranties, usually for a time frame ranging around 30 to 90 days. Keep in mind that the transmission they are trying to sell you is out of a vehicle in a wrecking yard. In other words, the transmission is from a vehicle that wasn’t worth fixing.

“Used is never a good idea unless it’s a bailout for the short term,” says Bob McFegan of the Mister Transmission North Vancouver location in British Columbia. “It can take up to ten hours of labour to install it and you don’t know what you’re going to get when you’re done.”

Today’s modern transmissions are computer controlled with an array of sensors throughout the vehicle that relay information to the computer in order to shift the transmission for optimum performance and fuel economy.  If you decide to purchase a used transmission, you need to be sure to purchase one that is the exact model for your vehicle. When or if you find the precise model, it may not ever be precise enough.


Your Used Transmission

At the Mister Transmission location in Whitby, Ontario, the engineer sums up selecting a used transmission:

“You already have a used transmission in your vehicle, so why buy another one?”

Rebuilding a transmission that is giving you trouble might seem questionable, but installing someone else’s used transmission may be even worse. At least when you start with your own used transmission you know where it’s been, what it’s been through and who has worked on it. You know the transmission gears are the perfect match for your vehicle. And you know you can make the decision about who works on it now.

Since transmission rebuilds at Mister Transmission repair shops come with a 12-month warranty (which can also be upgraded to 3 or 5 year warranties), you can feel good about investing a little more in your existing transmission.

Most transmission repair shops will also install used transmissions from outside resources, but since they don’t know any more about it than you do, you may find there is no guarantee on either transmission parts or labour.

Working with Your Car’s Used Transmission

“It’s usually cheaper to remove the transmission and repair it,” says Jim Hodgson at the Mister Transmission in Peterborough, Ontario. “A used one, you don't know how it's been used, and there are so many variations that there's a possibility of getting the wrong one.”

If you absolutely cannot afford a new transmission, rebuilding your original transmission may be the best option, as you know the gear ratios and other components are compatible with your vehicle. Since so many car transmissions are computerized now, this precision is becoming even more important than before. Mechanics may also be able to make adjustments and upgrades that can help your transmission perform even better than before.


If you suspect your vehicle requires a transmission rebuild, please contact your local Mister Transmission and book an appointment for our FREE 21-Point Multi-Check Inspection.


Mister Transmission: North Vancouver

Find us here:

890 West 15th Street
North Vancouver, BC
V7P 1M6

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