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What Is The Cost To Replace a Transmission In 2024? What You Need To Know!

disassembled car automatic transmission

The transmission is one of the most critical components of any car engine, and it’s always a huge headache when they have issues. If you need to have the whole thing replaced, it’s going to set you back a pretty penny. Let’s take a closer look at what transmissions are, how much they are to replace, and how you can take care of your transmission to extend its future longevity.

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What Is a Transmission And Why Is It Important?

The transmission in a car harnesses the power produced by the engine, regulating the amount of power that goes to the wheels without cutting the engine. To make a comparison, a car transmission is like the gears and chains on a bicycle.

With a transmission, you can brake your car without changing how fast the engine itself is running. It does this with a series of belts and gears; most transmissions use a set of five or six gear sets.

Without a transmission, it would be nearly impossible to start or stop your car. Needless to say, it’s pretty bad when your car’s transmission dies on you. You’ll need to have your car towed or find some other method to transport it to a mechanic of your choice. There, the mechanics are trained to diagnose and make substantial repairs like tearing out your transmission and installing a new one.

automatic transmission
Image Credit: Gorlov-KV, Shutterstock

How Much Does It Cost To Replace a Transmission?

The cost to replace a transmission varies between $1,500 to $5,000 or more. If you opt for a used transmission, that can dramatically cut your costs. A new transmission is likely to run you around $4,000, with labor and parts included in that figure.

Remanufactured Options

Many remanufactured transmissions come with warranties, so you can definitely save some money by going with one of those for a full transmission replacement. Unfortunately, it’s still very expensive to replace a transmission because the job requires a lot of intensive labor and an intricate understanding of the mechanic

Having a Transmission Built

You can also choose to have your transmission rebuilt, which is a less reliable but much cheaper alternative to having the whole thing replaced. Mechanics will take your transmission out, drain the transmission fluid, and disassemble the whole apparatus. They’ll remove the many gears, bearings, and other small components of the transmission.

After that, they’ll clean the parts, diagnose which parts are too worn to keep working and replace what needs to be replaced. The transmission will work with the new parts, but there’s no guarantee that the old parts won’t wear or break sometime later. In theory, it’s riskier, but rebuilding a transmission is a pretty good way to fix your transmission on the cheap.

The average rebuild takes a full day or two of labor, and you can expect to pay between $800 to $1500. Not bad compared to $4,000 or more!

Signs Your Transmission Is Going Bad

There are numerous telltale signs that your transmission is having issues. These range from minor to very serious, but you should always note any of these so you can make an appointment to bring your car in soon. If you ignore any of these signs it risks damage to your car’s transmission, engine, and possibly your life.

Some of these signs include:
  • Slipping: if your car feels like it’s jerking or surging, it’s likely the transmission. This is typically an early sign, but you shouldn’t ignore it.
  • Burning smell: if you smell burning when you drive your car, it’s probably the transmission overheating and the fluid burning. Can sometimes be fixed by flushing and replacing the transmission fluid.
  • The car won’t go into gear: this indicates a complete transmission failure, and means the car is undrivable. You’ll need to have it towed or transported to a mechanic for full transmission repairs.
  • Bad shifting: if your car doesn’t shift correctly, it’s sometimes serious and sometimes something minor like a bad solenoid or band within the transmission.

How To Take Care of Your Transmission

As with any machine, transmissions will last longer if you perform regular maintenance as recommended by your car’s manufacturer. With regular upkeep, you can expect your transmission to last for upwards of 100,000 miles, and some have been known to last over double that figure.

On the other hand, neglecting your transmission can make it prematurely wear out as early as 10,000 miles. Considering how expensive they are to replace or fix, it literally pays for you to take care of your transmission. Here’s a list of what you can do yourself to help your transmission last longer.

Transmission Tips:
  • Check your transmission fluid periodically and top it off appropriately.
  • Have your radiator or coolant system regularly checked to reduce strain on the transmission.
  • Only shift gears when your car is stationary.
  • Use synthetic transmission fluid.
  • Have your transmission serviced every 30,000 miles, even if you don’t notice any problems?

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Wrapping Up

Transmissions cost a big chunk of change to fix because they’re very complex and difficult to fix. You can save some money by going with a rebuild, but the number one way to help your transmission is to perform regular recommended upkeep on it.

Featured Image Credit: Gorlov-KV, Shutterstock


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