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 technicians at a transmission shop will advise replacing high mileage transmissions to prevent ongoing repairs.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO REPLACE A TRANSMISSION?
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.
TRANSMISSION REPLACEMENT COSTS
The cost to replace a transmission will depend on the type of transmission and whether it is replaced with a used rebuilt or remanufactured unit. 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 remanufactured or rebuilt 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. Installing a certified remanufactured transmission with a warranty is a great option if you’re on a budget.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FACTORY REMANUFACTURED & REBUILD TRANSMISSION
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, modulators, filters, bushings, valve bodies, 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.
WHAT TYPE OF REPLACEMENT TRANSMISSION IS BEST FOR MY VEHICLE?
The replacement of a transmission can be a costly matter. When the time comes to replace the transmission should you buy brand new, rebuilt, or remanufactured? Knowing the difference between a new, rebuilt, and remanufactured transmission should help you have a better understanding of what option is right for you.
SHOULD I REPLACE MY TRANSMISSION WITH A NEW ONE?
That depends on your vehicle’s age, and the type of warranty you get when purchasing a new one. A remanufactured transmission maybe your best option. Buying a new transmission gives your vehicle a part that should last longer than a rebuilt or remanufactured one. This includes a better or longer warranty on the part’s quality. Replacing a continuously variable transmission is usually the only option if it goes out because repairing a CVT is nearly impossible.
The trade-off is the price. You will pay more for a new part. But you should be aware that many “new” transmissions come from the manufacturer as new rebuilds. Very few car makers offer a truly new transmission so when you ask for a new part as a replacement, you should ask whether it is a new transmission (with any and all relevant updates for your vehicle) or a new rebuilt.
TRANSMISSION TYPESRebuilt. A rebuilt transmission is one that consists of new and older parts, which may be manufactured in a factory or an auto repair shop. The rebuilt may consist of the old housing for your existing transmission and a replacement of the components that are worn, damaged or no longer working properly.
Remanufactured. A remanufactured transmission the same as a rebuilt except for the fact that it is manufactured in a factory. Its design and construction are based on the original manufacturing requirements for the part. It may be put together using parts that have been rebuilt, reused, repaired, or any combination of the three. Remanufactured units are built based on the original specifications for your vehicle. As a result, t may cost more than a rebuilt one since it does not have to adhere to the original specifications and may be modified. This is important to understand because any changes to the original specifications could cause your warranty to become void.
New transmission. A new transmission is fresh from the factory and should ideally be the same type as the original one. However, if the model is flawed, defective, or problematic it would make more sense for your mechanic to install a different but compatible, new transmission.
It depends on different factors, such as the age of your vehicle, your budget, and whether a rebuilt or remanufactured one meets your needs the same as a new one. A new transmission would be better for a newer model while older vehicles (or a fixer-upper) would do fine with a rebuilt or remanufactured one. You should expect the same performance from any type of transmission you choose but getting a second opinion can help ensure you choose the right one for your style of driving and needs.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Your transmission is an important part of your car. If cost is not your primary consideration, you should choose a new transmission for your car. If cost is a factor in your decision, choosing between a factory rebuilt or remanufactured part may be an acceptable alternative to a new transmission. Talk with a qualified mechanic or car care professional to review your options thoroughly and make an informed decision.
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