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Transmission Failed?
Know Your Options!

My Automatic TransmissionWhen your transmission fails, knowing your options, the pros and cons of each option and the approximate cost of each can make the decision making process much easier and probably save you a great deal of time and money.  Whereas simply guessing could be disastrous.

Assuming you desire to repair the vehicle versus selling or trading it, you have three options when it comes to a failed transmission;

1.  Have your Transmission Rebuilt
2.  Purchase a Remanufactured Transmission  
3.  Purchase a Used transmission
rebuild - remanufactured - used transmissions 


Option 1: Have Your Transmission Rebuilt

Having your transmission rebuilt involves finding a transmission repair shop, auto dealership or independent transmission technician to do the work.  It is also possible to do some or all the work yourself, but for the purpose of this article, we will assume you will not be doing the work yourself.

Transmission Rebuild Process

The transmission or transaxle rebuilding process involves the following steps.

red arrow Removing the transmission from the vehicle
red arrow Completely disassembling the transmission
red arrow Cleaning and inspecting all parts for wear and damage
red arrow Reassembling the transmission with rebuild kit*
red arrow Excessively worn and/or damaged "hard" parts are replaced**
red arrow Manufacturer updates, when applicable, are completed
red arrow Once rebuild, the transmission is re-installed in vehicle
red arrow The transmission is filled with the correct fluid (ATF)
red arrow Engine is started.  Transmission is checked for leaks.  Fluid level is checked again.  Fluid level is adjusted, as needed.. 
red arrow Vehicle test drive.  Transmission is put through a variety of real world driving conditions.

*A typical rebuild kit includes friction clutches, steel clutch plates, bands, seals, gaskets and filter.  These parts are oftentimes referred to as "soft" parts.
**Examples of "hard" parts include: planetary gears, sun gears, pump assembly, clutch drums, shafts, sprag clutches, transmission case...

Transmission Rebuild Warranty

Most transmission repair shops offer a minimum 12 month 12,000 mile warranty on rebuilds.  Many shops offer 2 and 3 year warranties.  Longer warranties may be available for an additional fee.

Transmission Rebuild Cost

The cost to have an automatic transmission or transaxle rebuilt can range anywhere from $1,300 to $3,000 or more, depending on several factors, including the year, make and model of your vehicle, the extent of damage to the transmission, the repair shop or dealership that does the work and where you live.  Some imports and high-end automobiles can cost upwards of $5000 or more for a transmission rebuild.

FREE: Download Printable Transmission Rebuild and
Remanufactured Pricing Guide

Benefits of a Transmission Rebuild

COST...  although more costly than purchasing a used transmission, having your transmission rebuilt almost always costs less than purchasing a remanufactured transmission.

TIME...  Vehicle down time is normally less for a transmission rebuild than purchasing a remanufactured transmission.  The difference in time is due to the time it takes to order and ship the remanufactured transmission to the installer.

GUARANTEED FIT...  The powertrain in today's vehicles are electronically "computer" controlled.  In some instances, replacing a major component, such as an engine or transmission, with an engine or transmission taken from the same year, make and model vehicle can be problematic.  While such instances are typically resolved by the installer without additional cost, it can nonetheless make an already difficult situation even more frustrating.

ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT...  Some vehicle owners prefer to keep their vehicle in its original condition - meaning keeping the vehicle's original parts when possible.

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Next: Option 2: Purchase a Remanufactured Transmission

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