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Transmission Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

Transmission Replacement
The average cost for a transmission replacement is between $3874 and $4450. Labor costs are estimated between $457 and $1033 while parts are priced at $3417. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
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Transmission Replacement

What is a transmission?

Transmission assemblies, more commonly just known as transmissions, come in a few different forms. Regardless of type, they have two simple jobs: transmit engine power to the driveshaft, transfer case or axles, and multiply engine speed to increase the vehicle’s speed. This means that the transmission will connect to the engine crankshaft at one end and use gears to change that energy to the desired output speed, which determines how fast the car is going. This allows the engine to run at low speeds yet drive the wheels at high speeds, or vice versa.

How does a transmission work?

Automatic transmissions change between set ranges of speed any time the electronic shift solenoids send pressurized transmission fluid to a particular location in the transmission. The same principle of changing gears can be done manually by using a clutch to temporarily detach a manual transmission from the engine, which allows the driver to shift the gear selector. Finally, dual-clutch manual gearboxes function like manual transmissions, but the transmission will always select one gear higher and lower than the current drive gear. This is a combination of an automatic and manual transmission that provides instant shifting.

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What are the symptoms of a bad transmission?

Transmission failure can have many symptoms. Many times, the check engine light, service light or check transmission light will come on, or the anti-lock brake and traction control lights may be illuminated as well. Transmission failure is often associated with various squeaks, grinds and howls, or the transmission may refuse to operate in one or more gears. For manual transmissions, the lack of engagement of the transmission while in gear can be a sign of failure, or the transmission may not go into gear at all. The one basic symptom of a failing transmission, regardless of type, is it not sending engine power and speed to the wheels.

Can I drive with a bad transmission?

Your car can't function without the transmission. If the transmission is experiencing any type of failure, it’s likely that the vehicle will leave you stranded. If the transmission requires replacement, it’s imperative to handle this repair right away.

How often are transmissions replaced?

Transmissions commonly develop problems. They are vulnerable in that they are subjected to high heat, are forced to absorb abuse from the engine and the wheels, and operate under extreme pressure and demand. In some cars, the transmission will last the lifetime of the vehicle but may have issues along the way. But complete transmission replacement is also common, and tends to occur between 90,000 and 140,000 miles.

How are transmission problems diagnosed?

There are multiple components that can mimic transmission failure, and many of them are seemingly unrelated to the transmission. The electronic systems in modern cars are interconnected, and are allowed control over each other for certain functions. This means that a wheel speed sensor or bad ignition coil, for example, may limit the ability of the transmission to perform its duty. So, transmission failure should always be diagnosed.

How are transmissions replaced?

The two main components of any vehicle are the engine and the transmission. All other components are packed in tightly around them, and this limits access to the transmission. What’s more, different vehicles have transmissions of different sizes, and they can be oriented in different directions. This means that the removal process will vary for each vehicle, and some cars will require removing the subframe or even the engine.

RepairPal recommendations for transmission issues

Always make sure the problem has been properly diagnosed. Some technicians will recommend replacing the transmission as a means of saving money on diagnosis, but this should be avoided. Diagnostics may show the problem can be repaired for less money than a total replacement.

What to look out for when dealing with transmission issues

That said, often times, transmissions can be replaced more cheaply than they can be repaired, especially in older vehicles. Newer vehicles will typically require transmission replacement any time a rebuild would be required. This is because more manufacturers are choosing to replace the transmission and remanufacture the old transmission through a third party.

Can I replace a transmission myself?

Replacing a transmission is a very large job — it should be left to a professional. Many components must be removed in order to extract the transmission from a vehicle, and installing a transmission without the proper jack and lift will be miserable. The margin of error is high, and mistakes are costly when they’re made.

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