When a transmission malfunctions an automotive technician will determine whether they can repair the transmission at an efficient cost or if it should be replaced. Minor fixes involve external parts that are easy to fix, replacing only the parts needed to make the transmission operational. An experienced mechanic can help recommend transmission replacement when it is the best option. Catastrophic transmission failures are impossible to repair. If that happens to your car, truck, suv, van, or commercial vehicle’s tranny the only option available under these circumstances is to replace the transmission with a new, used, or rebuilt one.
If a transmission has a lot of miles on it, other parts may be worn and subject to fail in a short time. Many times the repair shop will advise replacing high mileage transmissions to prevent ongoing repairs.
The amount of time required to replace a transmission often depends on the type of transmission and the vehicle. It usually only takes a day or two to replace a transmission in most rear wheel vehicles. However, some late model, front wheel drive vehicles can be quite labor intensive and take three to four days. The time it takes to get all of the necessary parts and tools to replace it should also be factored into the time it takes to swap the transmission out.
The cost to replace a transmission will depend on the type of transmission and whether it is replaced with a used, rebuilt or remanufactured transmission. A used transmission usually costs between $200 and $600, but prices may vary dramatically. Factors such as availability, the age, make and model of the vehicle the transmission was in and warranty terms can have a significant impact on the price. A rebuilt or remanufactured transmission can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000. Prices will depend on whether it is a manual or automatic transmission, warranty and the type of vehicle.
The average cost to replace a transmission based on the type of vehicle is:
• $2,324 for passenger cars with a price range of $1,200 to $4,179
• $2,792 for pickup trucks with a price range of $1,600 to $4,500
• $3,090 for SUVs and minivans with a price range of $1,700-$6,000
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USED VERSUS REBUILT VERSUS REMANUFACTURED TRANSMISSIONS
A used transmission can be obtained from the salvage yard. The advantage offered in purchasing a used transmission is that they are much less expensive. The disadvantage is that you don’t know how well the transmission has been maintained or if there are any existing problems. However, nearly all salvage yards offer an exchange for defective parts. Most offer warranties that range anywhere from 30 days to 3 years, depending on their policy.
The terms rebuilt and remanufactured are often used interchangeably; however, they are not the same. A rebuilt transmission is also referred to as overhauled and usually involves replacing worn and defective parts. The transmission is disassembled and all parts are cleaned. Solenoids are tested and either cleaned or replaced. Other replacement parts are usually purchased in a kit. A transmission rebuild kit typically includes: bands, seals, clutches, gaskets, O-rings, modulator, filter, bushings, and washers. However, there are different types of kits, and the types and quality of the parts they contain can vary. A rebuilt transmission often retains many marginal parts. The warranty period can be anywhere from 30 days to a year.
A remanufactured transmission usually costs more than a rebuilt transmission but has greater longevity. In addition to cleaning and replacing parts, the remanufacturing process re-machines marginal parts or replaces them completely. Another advantage found in using a remanufactured transmission is that design changes and updates that can improve quality and durability are implemented during reprocessing. Once the transmission has been completely rebuilt, it is dyno tested to ensure it operates properly. This eliminates the possibility of replacing a defective transmission with another defective transmission. Remanufactured transmissions usually come with a two to three year or 100,000 mile warranty.
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