replace transmission

Transmission Rebuild or Replace?

In Transmission by Magnus SellénLeave a Comment

replace transmissionOnce you notice problems with your car the most common question asked is whether to repair worn out parts or replace.

Both options are often quite expensive. Rebuilding the transmission will require you to replace the clutch, seals, gaskets, and bands. All these will push the price for a rebuild at more than $1,000.

If you choose to replace then it means you have a new or newer used transmission – which might work better than the old one.

Things to consider before replacing or repairing

There are some things you have to keep in your mind when deciding if you should replace or repair your transmission, or maybe even scrap the car or sell it. Here are some things you should consider.

Frequent breakdowns

If you spending many hours at the auto repair shop replacing transmission parts then it is time to replace. Long term repairs are expensive – especially when the problem keeps recurring. Frequent breakdowns are common with transmission engines that have done over 100,000 miles. If you notice that your car spends many hours at the repair shop instead of you driving it then it is time to replace.

Most of the transmission problems are solvable. Repairs will cost you several hundred dollars but if you have total repairs exceeding the cost of a new transmission then it is time to get a new one.

Fixing transmission problems

transmission gearsTo car owners knowing what is wrong with the car’s transmission can be a herculean task and you will need to call your mechanic for help. There some transmission repairs that can be easily fixed while others are so expensive to necessitate a new transmission.

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Before you purchase a new transmission, you need to first diagnose that the transmission has problems.

Delayed shifting response

The transmission helps in changing the gear system. If you are driving your car and all of a sudden there is delay in response from the gears then you have a problem with the transmission. If you are driving a manual car you will have difficulty moving the car to the right gear. For automatic cars there is a delay in engaging the gear when the car was at park.

You will notice that the car is not moving as the engine roars there is some form of delay. This is often a worn out clutch which can be easily changed. You should rev the car as you change gears and look for a delayed shifting response.

Clunking or humming sound

Firstly, there many engine components that can produce this rattling sound. You need to rule them out before settling on the transmission. It could be that your drive axle bearings are worn out or the brake pads. A good running transmission is often silent but clunking sound is more prominent in manual cars than automatic ones.

The moment you start hearing that humming sound have the car checked by a mechanic. Further use of the car will cause more damage.

Leaking transmission fluid

The fluid is critical to keep all the moving transmission parts well lubricated. It also helps keep the parts clean and reduces heat emission due to friction. You differentiate the transmission fluid from other car fluids due to its red color and sweet smell. If you notice it is darker in color with a burning smell then you need to flush it out and pour in a new one.

Unlike the engine oil that is consumed by the car transmission fluid should not go low. You will know there is a leak by observing the dipstick.

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Shaking car

If your car components are working well you should enjoy a smooth ride on tarmacked roads without shaking. But if your hearing grinding sounds with the car shaking on smooth roads then there is a problem with your transmission. For manual cars the diagnosis is simpler.

If the sound comes about when you are engaging the clutch and shifting to another gear then the problem is with the clutch. Replacing of the clutch is inexpensive though it may take a day for replacement. For automatic cars you will notice the car shaking when it is going to the next gear.

Refusal to shift gears

There those moments you engage the gear but the car wont engage even after pressing the clutch. There are several causes for this. The first one is to check that your transmission fluid is not leaking. If you have bought and installed a fluid with the wrong viscosity then you will have issues engaging gears.

Next check that the onboard computer system is working and sending signals. You can have problems with it if the sensors are dirty or their problems with wiring. If all is okay try resetting it by removing the battery terminals and allowing the computer to reset itself. Lastly, your will need to check that the shift cables are properly adjusted.

Check engine light

This is an important light on the dashboard that informs you whenever your car’s engine is not working as expected. It could mean many things are not working and the transmission is one of them. You need to rule out other possible causes.

The onboard computer will detect problems based on sensors connected to the transmission and other engine parts. If there are many jerks in the transmission then the light will go on.


Most of the transmission problems can be solved if they are not that serious. A faulty clutch can be fixed so as leaks. Bearings and gear teeth do wear out after extensive use, a mechanic can fix this, and your transmission will be back to operation. Computer sensors do get contaminated with dirt causing them to keep the engine light on.

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Getting a new transmission will cost you between $1,300 and $3,400 and this is dependent on car model. You will then need to spend $500 to $800 on labor for installing a new transmission. Rebuilding your transmission will cause significantly less than the above costs. however, if you are replacing very many transmission parts then it will be more expensive to rebuild than buy a new one.

Your mechanic can put the costs in perspective and you can then decide which option to go with. Older cars will often have this problem and when the transmission starts malfunctioning other parts will fail as well. In this case you may need to buy a new car.

Hello I'm Magnus, the owner and the writer of this website. I have been working with cars since I was 16 and I'm specialized with in-depth Automotive diagnostics. Also been driving drifting for the last 6 years. I'm here to give you answers to all your automotive questions and I hope that you enjoy our content.

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