Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Used vs. Rebuilt Transmissions

I was recently informed by my mechanic that I will need a new transmission for my car. What are the differences, and pros vs. cons of a used and a rebuilt transmission. He said the rebuilt will run about twice as much. I have a 2005 Honda Civic Si with about 70,000 miles on it.

I would lean toward the used transmission if money is an issue. Just make sure it’s a reputable salvage yard and the miles are low on the tranny. The best way to go of course is a new transmission since your vehicle is relatively new and has a lot of life left if properly maintained. My third choice would be rebuilt because you have no idea what the transmission has been through in it’s former life and if the rebuild was successful or not.

The problem is, any used transmission you are likely to find will have more than 70,000 miles on it regardless of any claims made by the salvage yard. I would check with a Honda dealer, even though it’s out of warranty, they MAY have a hidden recall covering problematic transmissions…It’s worth a phone call…

Transmission replacement is a competitive business so get several repair estimates…

The vehicle isn’t that old, so a used transmission from a wreck would be the cheaper way to go. But then, yours went out at 70,000 miles. And if that’s due from the lack of maintenance, you could get a used transmission that also had a lack of maintenance. And that’s the risk.


If it got wrecked badly enough to total the car, I would not trust the transmission to operate properly…Honda Civics have to be BADLY wrecked to be totaled and parted out. People are willing to pay premium prices for used Civics and they fly off the used car lots as fast as they can get them. That means rebuilders actively seek out wrecked Civics to rebuild. It also means decent used transmissions will be hard to find…Todays automatic transmissions are computerized, another potential nightmare…Good Luck…

I assume Si means manual transmission.

The chances with issues with a used manual transmission are pretty low. I would go with that.

Used you dont know what you are getting. Rebuilt is just that, rebuilt. More of a warranty and probably your best bet if you plan on keeping the vehicle.


If you’re planning on keeping the car I’d say go with a rebuilt and you need to make sure it’s PROPERLY rebuilt. There’s a difference.
A major metro area about a 100 miles away from me has a trade paper that advertises “Rebuilt” RWD transmissions for 300 dollars exchange and about 400 on a FWD. Think about that for a minute and ponder what kind of rebuild it is.

Your current transmission should not be dead at 70k miles so unless maintenance is kept up on the next one it too will have a premature end.

If you go with a used transmission a new torque converter seal and engine rear main seal should also be part of the repair. With a rebuilt transmission the engine rear main should be changed; the trans will have a new converter seal.
This prevents having to tear it all back apart a month later when the engine rear main or a used trans seal starts leaking.