A failing transmission can be a real bummer. And because it’s such a vital part of your vehicle’s regular operation, you can’t ignore the problem. There’s also a great chance that the repairs are going to cost some serious coin.
Even so, you’ll need to face your transmission demons head-on so that you don’t kill another part of your car by driving around with bad gears. In some cases, this means a rebuild which, as the name suggests, is the process of repairing and replacing parts of transmission to make it operate as new again.
Rebuilt transmissions can involve major overhauls, where several parts are replaced or repaired, or they can be a simpler process with just a few replacement parts and a good cleaning. No matter which direction you need to go, it’s important to understand what’s happening and what it will cost.
What Is a Transmission Rebuild?
A transmission rebuild is a major mechanical overhaul done to a vehicle’s transmission. A transmission, like a vehicle engine, is made up of a series of interrelated mechanical parts that wear out over time and with extended use. Rebuilding a vehicle’s transmission replaces these worn parts without replacing the entire transmission.
If transmission parts need replacing and are easily accessible, or if there is an electrical problem, the transmission may be able to be repaired without removing it from the vehicle. This alone saves you time and money. However, it may be advisable to look at the bigger picture right from the start and have the transmission thoroughly checked by the technician.
If some parts of your transmission are damaged, other parts may also need to be replaced. But you know, once the parts swaps start it can be a losing battle. Indeed, a transmission rebuild can be the smartest and most economical choice you will make.
How do you know that your Transmission Needs a Rebuild?
Certain things can state to you that your transmission system needs an overhaul.
- When you step on the accelerating pedal, the engine makes loud and unpleasant noise. There and then, you will know that the Transmission has a problem and needs a rebuild.
- While in motion, you will notice a burning smell or odd smell emanating from the engine.
- Another visible sign is the leaking transmission fluid.
When you park your vehicle at one point for some time, you notice colored fluids on the ground. It is an indicator of a faulty transmission system. Remember, the transmission fluid comes in different colors. It helps to distinguish it from other oils.
- Another indicating factor is the grinding of gears, making it hard when shifting. It may be as a result of heating or dirty transmission fluid, thus causing the gears to grind.
- When engaging the gear, it stays in one gear, or it won’t engage at all. It should tell you that your transmission system needs a rebuilt
- Despite the vehicle engine running normally, the car has little or no power at all. The vehicle appears to be struggling to move. It should tell you there is a problem with the Transmission.
- Most vehicles have the transmission light signals. When this light pops up, then it is time for you to check the Transmission
Once you note the above signs, you must check your transmission system. That is when you can determine if you need to perform a rebuild or replace the entire system.
What Is the Transmission Rebuild Process?
An important element of transmission diagnostics is determining the source of the problem so that you can make an informed decision whether or not to proceed with the transmission rebuild. The transmission rebuild process typically includes:
- Removing the transmission from your vehicle and dismantling it
- Chemically cleaning the transmission by running it through a parts washer
- Any wonky transmission parts, plus all seals and gaskets, are replaced with new ones
- Any required electrical repairs are performed
- There may have been advances made in your vehicle’s transmission parts and technology since you purchased your car. If so, these updated parts may be included to improve the performance of your transmission and extend its longevity
- Last but not least, the rebuilt transmission is re-installed in your vehicle
What Causes a Transmission to Need a Rebuild?
Some parts of your transmission can be repaired without dropping it out of your vehicle, but not all parts are as easily accessible. If a component needs repair that cannot be accessed from the vehicle’s underside, the transmission will need to be removed.
Some damage goes beyond the repair of a single component, however. Over time, wear and tear can cause damage to the gears and other components that need tight tolerances to function properly. When this happens, a rebuild is needed to replace the parts with new or remanufactured parts.
What Exactly Goes into Rebuilding a Transmission?
Completely rebuilding a transmission involves removing the transmission and completely disassembling it. Each component is inspected for damage or excessive wear. Parts that are in good shape will be cleaned for use in the reassembled transmission, while any parts that need to be replaced will be taken care of at this point. Clutches, seals, gaskets, and any other wear items will be replaced as well.
What’s The Difference Between a Transmission Rebuild and Overhaul?
There’s no difference. The two terms mean the same thing, but people have taken to using them interchangeably over the years. You should still be asking questions to clarify what you’re actually getting with your transmission rebuild or overhaul to make sure that the repair shop understands the services you’re hoping to receive.
How Much Does It Cost To Rebuild A Transmission?
Due to the complex process of removing and disassembling the transmission, many hours are needed. This means a large percentage of the cost will be spent on labor. The cost also depends on the extent of the damage and the parts that must be replaced.
Most rebuilds take between 8 to 15 hours, which translates to $800 to $1500 in labor costs.
The most significant factor that influences the total cost of a transmission rebuild is the extent of damage to the transmission, and the location of the transmission.
On average, a transmission rebuild with both labor and parts will cost around $2000 to $3000.
This applies to extensive rebuilds but it is possible that the price will be higher or lower depending on what part is being rebuilt and the car model in question.
What Is a Remanufactured Transmission?
People often confuse a remanufactured transmission for a rebuilt transmission.
While both processes include renovating the transmission, a remanufactured transmission has been fully restored by replacing every component, regardless of its condition.
A remanufactured transmission will therefore cost more, as additional work must be completed and more parts will be replaced.