So, it’s finally happened: your car’s transmission has finally decided to shift its last gear. No more slipping. No more whining. Just your car absolutely refusing to go into gear wherever you are. Whether or not the car’s old or in good shape, it’s a bad hand you’ve just been dealt.

But the game isn’t over, just yet! You’ve decided to trade the car in, but should you get the transmission fixed beforehand?

Selling a car with a defunct transmission will usually be extremely difficult and you’re very likely to only receive salvage value for it. Repairing your transmission opens you up to keeping your old-faithful or selling it at a higher price than it would have fetched while damaged.

Let’s break down the usual options before deciding if you should fix your transmission before getting your car off your hands:

Selling It For Scrap

scrap metal

A broken transmission will almost immediately relegate your car to “scrap” in most buyer’s minds, especially if it’s older with a ton of miles on it.

Tap into a source like Kelley Blue Book to find out what the car is worth. Compare that value against the cost to repair your transmission and you will likely find the costs to be greater than the car’s worth.

Selling Online or Trading It In

woman selling things online

Unfortunately, selling or trading in a vehicle with transmission problems is a difficult endeavor. Most dealerships will view car’s like that as little more than scrap metal. More often than not, they’ll immediately send them to be auctioned off.

Standard private buyers online, like Carvana or CarMax, won’t offer much for a car with a bum transmission either. Unless the make and model is a particular one the buyer is looking to collect, you won’t be making much profit off of your transmission-less vehicle.

Replacing Your Transmission

Purchasing a used transmission and installing it is an option that can save your money in the long run, but comes with its fair share of risk as well.

While a local transmission repair shop will locate, purchase, and install the used transmission, the warranty is typically only good for 3-6 months.

Furthermore, the potential problems from a used transmission can’t be predicted. If they occur during the warranty period, fine. However, if they occur outside of the warranty, you could find yourself right back at square one.

Rebuilding The Transmission

A final option is to have the entire transmission rebuilt completely. The transmission rebuilding process involves removing and dismantling the transmission, cleaning the parts that can be reused, buying the necessary new parts, and reassembling it before re-installing it into your car.

This option is popular, but can be expensive. Your transmission involves a bunch of moving parts that you can’t see. It’s important to choose a trustworthy repair shop in order to ensure that they replace everything that is needed and not only the bare minimum.

Should You Repair The Transmission Before Trading It In?

The short answer is: yes.

A vehicle without a working transmission is not worth much more than its weight in scrap. Therefore, in order to get the best trade-in value for your car, it’s in your best interest to repair it — as long as that's the only thing wrong with the car, and it's in relatively good condition otherwise.

What If You Can't Afford Transmission Repairs?

happy online clients

Although transmission repairs may make sense in some situations, there can be times when the cost simply makes it unfeasible, particularly if you have an older vehicle with other problems.

If you don’t have the resources to repair your transmission, DamagedCars specializes in cars that are less-than-perfect. We can provide you with a quote for your vehicle, regardless of its condition, within 90 seconds. There’s zero obligation and your offer is valid for an entire week.

Once you accept, our local service providers can schedule a free tow within 24-48 hours. We handle all the title transfer fees as well. We take the car off your hands and replace it with a check for the amount you were quoted.

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Can You Trade In A Car With Transmission Issues?

For the most part, you can trade in cars with transmission issues. However, it will be a hit to your trade valuation. While dealerships usually have the means to repair the transmission, they’ll often just auction off your vehicle anyways.

How Much Does A Bad Transmission Affect Trade In Value?

A general rule of thumb is to assume you’re losing two to three times the cost of replacing a transmission in your trade in value. If your car is worth $10,000 at trade in, but is missing it’s transmission, they’ll knock off the $2000-$3000 for the transmission and then double it for the labor costs. That $10,000 trade in is now worth only 5-6K.