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 $3873 and $4450. Labor costs are estimated between $457 and $1033 while parts are priced between $3416 and $3417. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
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Transmission Replacement

What is a transmission?

Transmissions come in few different forms. Regardless of type, they have two simple jobs - transmit engine or hybrid drive power to the driveshaft, transfer case, or axles and multiply engine speed to increase vehicle speed. This means that the transmission will accept the engine crankshaft at one end and use gears to change that speed to the desired output speed which changes vehicle speed. This allows the engine to run at low speeds, yet drive the wheels at high speeds, or vica versa.

How does a transmission work?

Automatic transmissions use hydraulic pressure to automatically change speeds within a set range of speeds anytime the electronic shift solenoids route pressurized transmission fluid to a particular location. 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 which provides instant shifting.

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What are the symptoms of a bad transmission?

Transmission failure comes in many forms. Many times the check engine light, service light, or check transmission light will illuminate, 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 transmission failure, but the transmission may not go into gear at all. The one basic symptom of a failing transmission, regardless of type, is failure of the transmission to send engine power and speed to the wheels.

Can I drive with a bad transmission?

The vehicle cannot function without the transmission. If the transmission is experiencing any type of failure, it is likely that the vehicle will leave the passengers stranded. If the transmission requires replacement, not only is it recommended to handle this repair right away, it is imperative.

How often are transmissions replaced?

Transmission fail all the time. 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. Transmissions will commonly last the lifetime of the vehicle, but they may have issues along the way. Complete transmission replacement is also common, and tends to occur between 90,000 and 140,000 miles.

How are transmission problems diagnosed?

In general, diagnosing a transmission as needing replacement is not the cause for replacing a transmission. This sounds odd, but the most common cause for replacing a transmission is cost savings. Often times, transmissions can be replaced more cheaply than they can be repaired, especially for older vehicles. Newer vehicles will require transmission replacements most often any time a rebuild would be required. This is because more and more manufacturers replace the transmission and remanufacture the old transmission through a third party.

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 these two components wherever they may fit, and this limits access to the engine and transmission for removal. Also, different vehicles have the transmission positioned in different orientations, and use transmission of different sizes. This means that the removal process will vary for each vehicle, and some vehicles will require removal of the subframe or even the engine.

RepairPal recommendations for transmission issues

Many times there is a small issue with a transmission that requires diagnosis to locate, yet the transmission is replaced as a means of saving costs over diagnosis. This should be avoided because diagnostics will most often show the transmission can be repaired more economically than being repaired.

What to look out for when dealing with transmission issues

There are multiple components that can mimic transmission failure, and many of them ware seemingly unrelated to the transmission. It is important to remember that modern vehicle's electronic systems are interconnected, communicate with one another, and are allowed control over each other for certain functions. This means that a wheel speed sensor or bad ignition coil may limit the ability of the transmission to perform its function, so failure should always be diagnosed.

Can I replace a transmission myself?

Replacing a transmission is a very large job. As mentioned, many components must be removed in order to extract the transmission from a vehicle, and installing a transmission without the proper transmission jack and lift will prove not only daunting, but miserable. There is considerable savings when replacing the transmission yourself, but the margin of error is high, and errors are costly when they are made. Except for the advanced DIY mechanic, this should be left to a professional.

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