Replacing Your Clutch And Transmission? Should You Purchase New Or Go The Salvage Route?

If you've recently been surprised by the sensation of a "mushy" clutch when shifting, or occasionally feel your transmission lurch and shudder when transitioning from one gear to another, you may be concerned you're facing an expensive clutch and transmission repair or replacement. Fortunately, with recent declines in the price of steel, aluminum, and other metals (and a corresponding decline in the scrap value of older vehicles), auto salvage yards have never been fuller. Should a salvage yard be your first stop in the repair process? Here is more about "you pick" and full-service auto salvage yards to help you make your decision.

What will you need in order to purchase your parts from a salvage yard? 

For those who are handy, have some mechanical knowledge, and don't mind getting a little dirty during the selection process, "you pick" salvage yards can be a shopper's paradise. These salvage yards allow you to bring your own tools, select a vehicle, and remove any (or all) of the parts you'd like. You'll then bring these parts to the salvage yard office and make an offer. By performing the labor yourself, you'll be able to get a bottom-dollar price on all the parts you need, with the added bonus of being able to test and inspect these mechanical components before purchase.  

Most "you pick" salvage yards also offer a full service option, in which a technician will retrieve your selected part for you. Many of these salvage yards have an electronic database that will allow you to look up vehicles of the same make, model, and year as your own to ensure you're choosing the right part. If multiple vehicles are available, you may be able to accompany the technician and choose the transmission and clutch that appear to be in the best condition. 

How much will you save by going through a salvage yard rather than buying dealer or aftermarket parts? 

Salvage transmission prices can vary significantly based on the popularity, age, and condition of the vehicle, while new transmission prices also have a wide pricing range based on make and model. However, most estimates place the cost of a used or salvage transmission at between $800 and $1,500, compared with $2,500 to $3,500 or more for a new transmission. Purchasing a clutch from a salvage yard like Fox Valley Iron Metal & Auto Salvage Inc can provide a proportional discount, although clutches tend to be much less expensive than a full transmission.