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A Guide To Buying Used Transmissions

A bad automatic transmission is a real nightmare. You can’t drive your car without it and it’s large, it’s heavy, it’s hard to remove, and on top of all that, it’s expensive. How much does a quality used transmission cost? The solution is buying a used transmission.

However, there is a catch. You can’t simply go to an auto parts store and buy an automatic transmission as if it was a spark plug. First, you need to learn How To Buy Used Transmissions. The objective of this article is guiding you through the whole process and making it easy and fun.

Before Starting To Hunt For Transmissions For Sale

Buying a used transmission isn’t hard but requires patience and common sense. The first step is collecting your vehicle-specific details. Below is a list of what information will be needed during the purchasing process:

Basic vehicle information: year, make, model, and trim.
Engine information: number of cylinders, engine displacement, engine type (naturally aspirated, turbo, supercharged), engine fuel type (gasoline, diesel, alcohol, electric, hybrid).
Body (trim) information: number of doors, trim type (sedan, coupé, etc).
Drivetrain information: four-wheel drive (4WD), all-wheel drive (AWD), front-wheel drive (FWD), 4×4.

Finding Vehicle Data Like A Pro

At first glance, the amount of information required may look overwhelming. But don’t get discouraged. We have a trick that eases the whole process. Professionals at auto part stores use a number, unique to each vehicle, that contains all the information you might need. It’s called the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The VIN number is a 16-digit code used by carmakers worldwide to store a lot of useful information, including your vehicle specifications.

Locating the VIN number is easy. Stand on the front of your car and look at the bottom-right corner of the windshield (driver’s side). You will notice a rectangular sticker or metal plaque in the dashboard with a 16-digit alphanumeric code. Alternatively, you can look at the stickers located at door pillars.

Vehicle VIN Number

Once you locate the almighty VIN number all you have to do is using one of the many free VIN decoders available online to get all relevant vehicle information.

Buying Used Transmissions Online

Finding a used transmission for sale can take a long time if your plan is to personally visit used auto parts stores one by one. It’s far better to buy your used transmission online, it will save you time and money as long as you follow the professional advice provided in this section.

Buying From Private Party Sellers

Buying a used transmission online is not different than buying other products. If you are going to buy the used transmission from a private seller then credibility is a key factor to consider. Always check the seller’s reputation. It’s preferable buying from a reputable seller and paying a bit more than being scammed.

Buying From Specialized Used Auto Parts Stores

Since credibility is so important, our suggestion is investing your time in researching and buying from reputable sites specialized in selling used auto parts. Besides the added trust, buying from leading companies dedicated to selling used auto parts bring many additional benefits not possible when you buy from a private party seller:

  • Reputable companies usually test transmissions before removing them from the vehicle ensuring it’s completely functional.
  • Automatic transmissions are bulky and heavy. A huge benefit of buying from used auto part stores is that they can handle shipping for you.
  • Most used auto part stores offer warranty on their products.
  • Reputable companies usually offer free advice and guidance in case you have doubts. The ability to talk directly with an expert automotive representative is a big plus.

No matter what, always check if the company is accredited by national associations. Searching for user reviews online is also a great idea. Remember, credibility always comes first.

Pro Tips When Searching For Transmissions For Sale

Regardless of if you are buying online or in person, we have some pro tips for you:

  1. As mentioned earlier, used transmissions are large and heavy. Prefer companies that offer free shipping and you can save good money.
  2. Prefer companies that offer extended warranties. 30-90 day warranties are not good enough. Look for companies that offer guarantees of 6 months or more, that will give you additional peace of mind.
  3. Ask if the transmission comes with all its sensors. Automatic transmission sensors are not cheap, beware of “good deals” that don’t include sensors.

It is important to know what to look for when buying a used transmission. Just follow the steps described in this article and you will drive your vehicle again in no time!

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