Updated: Apr 13
If you are unfortunate enough to have a gearbox fault you will probably be wondering what are your options. As they are a not a common issue in most cases, you may not even realise that there are different options. So what to pick? New gearbox, reconditioned gearbox, repair or used? In this article we are mainly going to cover the positives and negatives between recon's, repairs and used gearboxes as these are the most common options and briefly share our experiences with these.
Full reconditioning a gearbox involves the strip down and replacement of require parts on a unit that has either sustained damage or wear and tear. These units still contain used parts but however they should long outlive the service life of the vehicle.
It is almost the same as having a new gearbox but with the same price tag.
Bearings and seals are changed as standard on recon units and will often have other components changed to fall inline with recon standard criteria.
Very good reliability without the price tag of a new unit.
We can normally offer a longer warranty period than you would get with a new unit!
All parts covered under warranty.
Can still be expensive depending on model and availability.
Availability can be limited on certain vehicles, so customers unit has to be reconditioned.
This option is pretty self explanatory and many people do not realise there are other options out there. This is understandable as when you think about most general repairs on vehicles; brakes, servicing, tyres, they all involve new parts to complete the job.
The pro's of a new unit are of course that it is brand new and should have a long service life. These units will often only come from main dealer so will also have a certain warranty period for peace of mind, usually 12 months.
These units are normally, hugely expensive and sometimes exceed the value of the vehicle itself. Long lead times can also cause issues with units not being in stock and having to be ordered from a central warehouse overseas.
A lot of the work we do involves repairing specific problems within a gearbox. If you have an issue selecting a specific gear then we can replace the components that make up that part of the gearbox without having to replace the whole unit. This obviously save a huge amount of money as you are only repairing the direct issue rather than replacing everything. Our most common repair would be bearing replacement followed by gear repairs due to crunching or failure.
Cost effective in most cases and can save the customer substantial amounts of money. Directly identifies and fixes the issues with the gearbox.
Good warranty periods for peace of mind.
Repairing gearboxes is very time consuming and the investigation time can take a while. Expect the vehicle to be out of action for a few days.
Some parts have long lead times and can cause delays.
This option is the second least common in our line of work and this is down to one reason, reliability. We do offer outsourced used gearboxes to our customers. This is because there are scenarios were repairing or reconditioning your gearbox is just not cost efficient. This could be down to the age of the vehicle or it's condition. The other reason is that parts are not always available to repair your unit. This is the case with a lot of BMW models were parts will have to be custom made for your gearbox.
Low cost and normally the cheapest option to repair the vehicle.
Very unreliable. Sometimes with only one months warranty.
Very prone to failure again in certain models.
We recently had a Citroen Xsara Picasso with us for an issue selecting 3rd and 4th gear. We gave various price options to he customer for repairs and also for the price to supply and fit a used gearbox. A 2005 model did not warrant the expense of a recon unit so the customer took the used gearbox option including a new clutch system.
Our suppliers offered us a unit with 3 months warranty which we would pass onto the customer.
We received three units that had gear selection faults. This cost us dearly as we had to remove and send back the units each time before receiving a replacement, costing us a huge amount of time. With the fourth unit we had no gear selection faults but a bearing failure fault.
At this point we could not afford the vehicle to be off the road any longer and decided to do a full bearing rebuild on the gearbox for the customer free of charge.
Although used gearboxes are more economically viable price wise, they come with an inherent risk. Most garages will insist on you providing a unit yourself as they then hold no responsibility if it fails and can also charge for multiple removals.
Be aware used may not end up being the cheapest option!
Let us know your thoughts and please like & share! If you are in need of a used gearbox there are many search systems such as 1st choice.