How Important is Inspecting the Transmission Before Buying a Used Car?

Dear Ken, I’ve been told that checking the transmission in a used car is very important before buying. Do you have any tips? Words of wisdom? Thanks.

- Troy U., TX

Troy, an automatic transmission becomes more reliable these days, but still it’s a most-easy-to-break and very-expensive-to-fix part of the vehicle. If heavily abused, the automatic transmission can be easily destroyed within just half an hour.

For example, a friend of mine burnt the automatic transmission up in 20min while trying to free his shiny Audi from the snow the very next day after he bought it! It cost him about $2000 to rebuild it and after one year it broke down again.

Also, an automatic transmission is very sensitive to the transmission fluid quality and condition. Improper fluid type can damage the transmission. A person I know added a gear oil (oil for manual transmission) into the automatic transmission, guess what, 30 minutes of driving was enough to kill the transmission.

Obviously, when buying a used car, the automatic transmission is one of the most important parts to check, and I highly recommend including it on your list of things to inspect before purchasing.

- Ken the Car Guy

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 at 7:30 pm and is filed under The Questions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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