Benefits of a Rebuilt Transmission

If you need to replace a transmission it is a daunting job. There are a few options you have to get your vehicle back on the road. You can repair the current one (replacing damaged parts), purchase a used one, or rebuild the current one. In the article below I will discuss why you should rebuild a transmission instead of purchasing a used one.

While I do run a junkyard blog and I am a proponent of getting used parts, in the case of a transmission, it is actually not the better option. Rebuilding a transmission is a more reliable choice. At face value a rebuild is more expensive, but once a used transmission reaches its end of life, you are back to the same problem you started with. You may even spend more to do a rebuild now on the used one you bought.

Rebuilding involves a complete disassembly of the transmission and then individually inspecting each part for wear and tear. Each part with excessive wear are replaced with new pieces. When the process is carried out correctly, it results in 3 key benefits:

The Benefits of a Rebuilt Transmission vs Used

Like New Quality in a Rebuilt Transmission

A rebuilt transmission is more reliable then a used one. This is because the entire part is completely disassembled and each piece is inspected for wear and tear. Any part that has excessive wear or look like it may fail in the future is replaced.  When you buy a used one, you have no idea of the quality. You may even have no idea how many miles are on it and how it was driven, there is simply no way to tell without it being taken apart.

A Rebuild is Faster Then Finding a Used Transmission

If you have an old vehicle the parts are no longer manufactured. Finding a replacement means calling around to junkyards and hoping you can find one. If the junkyard is far away it can take up to 2 weeks for it to be mailed to you. On the other hand a rebuild can take just 2 or 3 days to be completed.

Warranty for Rebuild

Most rebuilding companies will give you a guarantee on their work. Typical warranties are 3 years and unlimited mileage. If there are any issues in the coverage period, the repairs are free. On the flip side used transmissions won’t come with a warranty and are sold “as-is”. Some junkyards may offer 30 days to exchange the part, but that is the best you will get.

The Basic Process of a Tranny Rebuild

  1. Transmission disassembly and parts examined for damage
  2. Identify reusable parts
  3. Replace bands, torque converters, gears with new or remanufactured parts
  4. Replace gaskets and seals to prevent future leaks
  5. Reassembly

Rebuild a Transmission vs Buying Used

Used parts are often what we recommend for saving money. In the case of a transmission though a rebuild is clearly the better choice for reliability. With used transmissions you save money initially, but you can’t predict when they will fail and it may end up costing you more in the long term. There are different companies that do rebuilds and the price will vary based on the vehicle. You should call around and shop for quotes, but take into consideration how long the warranty is. This is one of the key benefits that makes a rebuild so much better then buying used.


James is an avid junkyarder and mechanic. He has visited Junkyards in every US state and has restored over 30 makes and models of vehicles. He has several automotive and recycling related blogs that generate over 150K views a month.