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May 2016

Remanufactured Transmissions Vs Rebuilt and Used Transmissions

Transmissions can sometimes be very costly to repair if they require a complete rebuild. When they require a rebuild, you are often asked to spend quite a bit of money to have a problem fixed that you probably don’t understand very well.

Transmission Repair Cost

Getting an accurate price quote for a remanufactured or rebuilt transmission is important. There are many different types of transmissions and each type requires different parts and different rebuild kits.

When a transmission requires an overhaul, there are generally three options that you have. The first is to remove your existing transmission and rebuild it, then put the same, newly rebuilt unit back in your car. The second option is to replace your existing unit with a remanufactured transmission. The third is to replace your existing unit with a used transmission.

Rebuild / Rebuilt Transmission

In an overhaul typically done at a transmission shop (also known as rebuilding a transmission), the transmission is removed from the vehicle and completely disassembled with the parts laid out on a workbench. Each hard part is inspected for wear and damage and then either cleaned in a special cleaning solution, or replaced with another part depending on its condition. Parts that have friction surfaces, such as bands and clutches are replaced as are all seals and gaskets. The torque converter is also replaced, usually with a remanufactured one. Upgrades are typically performed to fix any original design defects from the year of manufacture. Automobile manufacturers often make upgrade kits available to transmission shops to resolve these design defects.

Remanufactured Transmission

The remanufacturing process brings a transmission back to as “new” as possible (original equipment). Most internal transmission parts are replaced and any worn parts are brought back to original production specifications. Technical service bulletins are checked and performed. The remanufactured transmission is fully tested and usually comes with a 3 year or longer warranty. There are several brands of remanufactured transmissions sold by auto parts stores and repair shops.

Used / Junkyard Transmissions

Used transmissions normally have high miles and no guarantees. Added to that, the exact make, model, engine size and computer coded transmission has to be installed in your vehicle. Many times, you will be responsible for the labor costs (several hundred dollars) and fluid costs (around $50) of removal and reinstallation if the first unit does not work properly. For every unit that does not work properly, the costs of installing a junkyard unit will double. If the unit is found to have high mileage (there is no way to tell), the unit will fail at any time.

Choosing An Option

When choosing an option, try to be as informed as possible. There are many honest transmission shops and remanufactured transmission companies. But just remember one last piece of information: “Cheaper is not always better”.

Transmission Repair Financing Options

In my last article I talked about using Google AdWords and Bing Ads pay-per-click to drive customers to your website. One of the biggest complaints I get about Internet leads: Customers not having the money to fix their car.

A recent “call shops as a customer” study found:

– Around 65% of transmission shops are quoting at least a ballpark price for rebuilds on the phone.

– Around 80% of general repair shops are quoting ballpark prices for a reman or used unit installation.

– Around 40% of transmission repair shops offer no form of financing options.

The price range for a transmission rebuild or replacement is not a mystery to the Internet shopper. There are websites that give approximate cost information for used, rebuild and reman pricing online. Simply search “transmission repair cost” for an example. $1,800 to $3,500 is what shows up immediately.

An estimated 60K-80K visitors or more in the U.S. see this pricing on a monthly basis, based on search engine estimates. So the Internet shopper already knows, before they call around, what it is going to take to fix or replace a transmission.

When a customer knows up-front they cannot afford repairs using cash or a credit card, and you do not offer financing options on that initial phone call or on your website, they more than likely are going to keep shopping until they find someone who does. A customer without cash or available credit is going to consider used transmissions options or trade-ins if there are no transmission shops available to finance them.

Consider a $2,400 transmission repair: That amount can be tough for many to come up with (cash or available credit). They may call you, they may even set an appointment, but they may not show up for that appointment if a competitor offers financing.

In 2015 there are multiple options for financing, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. In our 2015 Marketing Survey that went out in January, we asked you who you were using for financing. These are the main financing companies used by transmission repair shops today in 2015:

– Synchrony Financial/CarCareOne

– Springleaf

– Cross-Check

– Easypay

– Globalcheck / ARC90

– Secure Payment Systems

– Local Title Loan

– In-House

Any financing program will have its various approval rates and details–but by having at least one or two financing options to mention on the initial phone call will result in more appointment show-ups and more completed vehicles.

As a manager, you should be familiar with the financing options, mention them to every customer, and make it as easy as possible for customers to get financed. If a customer mentions money troubles, you should get them processed and approved right away-before that customer starts thinking about other options.

The bottom line: Financing can help solve our customer’s wants and your wants at the same time. Having the right financing program for your customer type can make a big difference on YOUR bottom line!

Buying Used Auto Parts

Buying used auto parts is usually an inexpensive alternative to buying new auto parts from your local car parts retailer or an on-line store. It may take some time and creativity to find the exact part, so be patient as there are many different ways to accomplish this goal. But, they fall into three basic approaches: junk yards, classified ads and on-line stores. Let’s look at each one.

Junk Yards

There is usually one part of the city where most of the salvage yards are located. These yards often sell used auto parts for low prices if you are able to remove the needed part yourself from one of their wrecked cars or trucks. And, you will need your own tools. Each junk yard is different so be flexible and be prepared to negotiate as you may be able to purchase whole assemblies as well as a series of parts. Call in advance about pricing and car/part availability. Lastly, you should verify the terms and conditions of the sale and any return policy. Not everything goes as planned.

Classified Ads

Traditionally, used auto parts could be found in the classified ads section of your local newspaper or grocery store pamphlet/publication. Today, you can add eBay, Craigslist and a few more such websites to this category. Depending on the part, the buyer will need to verify that the current condition will not affect its ability to operate properly as most of these sellers (with the exception of eBay) are anonymous to the buyer. Which means, no track record of their relationship with past buyers. If you are using eBay, be sure to check out the seller’s feedback ratings before buying any used auto part. The feedback ratings of buyers can provide you with insight into a seller’s reputation, reliability and selling history. And return policy.

On-line Stores

This newest method can be a very fast and convenient way to locate and purchase a specific auto part. Prices, descriptions, pictures and expanded details are usually available via a searchable database. Be sure to be creative when entering your search keywords so the search engine will give you the results you are seeking. The more exact the keyword match, the better will be the results.

In today’s marketplace, there are lots of options for used auto parts buyers. Old school and new. With a little effort, the exact part for your car will be available.

The Importance Of Regular Brake Maintenance and Shocks and Struts Repair

Most drivers are surprised to learn just how quickly brakes wear down. They buy a new car, and before the warranty has even expired, their mechanic is telling them they need new brakes. More often than not, the problem is in the front brakes. Because most of a vehicle’s weight shifts to the front when stopping, the front brakes absorb most of the impact. Friction does damage to the stopping system each and every time it is used. The good news is that this damage can be easily and affordably repaired if maintenance is done on a regular basis.

Replace the Pads

The single most common maintenance task is replacing worn-out pads. These steel cushions are attached to the calipers that clamp down on the brake discs and bring the vehicle to a halt. As you might imagine, they experience an awful lot of wear and tear during normal operation. But because they are inexpensive, pads should be replaced as often as needed.

Failure to replace pads can and will damage other parts of your braking system. Most mechanics will recommend replacing them when they wear down to less than 1/8th of an inch. Depending on your driving habits, this can take anywhere from two to five years. Good pads will last about forty thousand miles. When they are replaced on a regular basis, steel pads will protect brake discs, which are far more expensive. Worn-out pads will not provide the protection needed to prevent calipers from cutting deep grooves in discs, grooves that may cause the pedal to pulsate or seize when applied.

Shocks And Struts Repair

It might surprise you to learn that components outside of your braking system can have a dramatic effect on stopping distance. In particular, your shocks and struts are responsible for maintaining an even, steady ride. If your vehicle requires shocks and struts repair, it simply will not be able to stop on a dime. The problem? The excessive swaying and bouncing that commonly occurs when these components go bad can rob your car of at least 10 feet of stopping distance, according to testing.

The good news is that the average shocks and struts repair is a relatively simple, affordable automotive procedure. Even if the parts need to be replaced, the job shouldn’t cost you more than a few hundred dollars. That is a small price to pay for improved braking and driving performance. It is important to add that automotive professionals recommend getting these important components checked every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. On average, shocks and struts repair or replacement is needed every 50,000 miles.

In the end, taking proper care of your braking system and the components that affect it saves time and money. It also ensures that your vehicle will be safe to drive for years to come.