If you're driving an older vehicle, repairing the vehicle when it has broken down may not be worth it at times – especially since the cost of the parts required may exceed the value of the vehicle. Transmissions are particularly expensive, with remanufactured transmissions costing anywhere from $2,500 to $3,000. You could save a substantial amount of money if you were to purchase the transmission from a salvage yard; however, most salvage yards do not run diagnostic checks on the parts that they have dismantled, so there's no guarantee that the transmission will work or run smoothly. Still, if you decide to go down this path, here are 3 tips you should consider.
Purchase a Transmission from a Salvaged Car of the Same Model and Make
To make sure that the transmission will fit properly onto your car, scavenge through multiple salvage yards to find dismantled transmissions that come from salvaged cars of the same model and make. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, the VIN alone may not be sufficient. As a result, purchase dismantled transmissions from salvage yards that take detailed records of where each dismantled part comes from. Ask to see their records to verify their claims.
For example, some salvage yards take photographs of the vehicles before dismantling the parts. In addition, they also clearly write down the year, model and make of the car that each part comes from. You might want to ask around in order to find a reputable salvage yard known for their detailed and accurate records. By improving the transmission match rates, you are also increasing the chances of purchasing a transmission that will perfectly fit your vehicle.
Figure Out Why the Car Was Salvaged
Once you've spotted several listings for transmissions that are suitable for your car, you also need to ask the salvage yard why the car in question was salvaged to begin with. If the car was salvaged because it was totaled with the engine taking the brunt of the impact, you might want to reconsider whether purchasing the dismantled transmission is a good idea or not. This is because the transmission may not be in its best condition even if it doesn't appear damaged.
However, if the car was taken to the salvage yard because it was stolen and recovered years later, there's a higher likelihood that the transmission will run smoothly. If possible, ask to see the salvaged car before you make a decision.
Check Out Whether the Part Is Covered by Warranty
As most salvage yards simply dismantle the parts without performing a diagnostic check, there's really no guarantee that any parts you purchase will run smoothly and are in good condition. Don't forget that you are taking on some risk by purchasing the dismantled transmission, so make sure that your bases are covered and that you will be reimbursed should the part fail to run.
Determine whether the salvage yard offers warranty on the transmission before you purchase it. If it does, you'll want to figure out the length of the warranty offered, as well as the type of reimbursement that is offered. Get the warranty in writing.
Purchasing dismantled parts from a salvage yard is a good idea if you own an older vehicle because the cost of purchasing a new part may exceed the value of the car; however, you need to be very careful when you are purchasing parts that affect the function and performance of the car, like the transmission. There's no rush in making a purchase. Make sure you ask all the questions you have, and inspect the transmission thoroughly before handing over your hard earned money. Contact a yard like City Auto Wreckers to get started.
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