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Cheap Transmission Repair: Which One Is Best For You!

Cheap Transmission Repair

Experts say transmission repair is anything but cheap; however, it is possible to find cheap transmission repair options. 

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The vehicle's transmission is responsible for controlling the engine's power to match the driving speed while reducing fuel consumption.


To fix your damaged transmission, you have five options to choose from: a brand-new transmission, a rebuilt transmission, a remanufactured transmission, and a used transmission. 


Despite the repair option, transmission maintenance is one of the most expensive vehicle repairs. The average transmission replacement cost ranges from $1,800 to $3,400. This range can differ significantly by car make, model, year, and transmission type. Besides, the labor cost has an important role in determining the total transmission repair cost.


While it is hard to find a cheap transmission repair option, there is a possibility to get relatively low transmission repair prices.


In this article, we will walk you through the different types of transmissions and how do they work, the different transmission repair options, and how to get the cheapest transmission repair costs?


What does the car transmission do?


The transmission is one of the most important internal parts in your vehicle. Without a vehicle transmission, the engine will have very low efficiency.


The transmission is responsible for transferring the power generated by the engine to the wheels. The transmission controls the speed and torque coming out from the engine to match different driving conditions.


The transmission helps the vehicle to use enough power to move the vehicle while reducing fuel consumption. For example, the transmission uses a low gear ratio when you first start the vehicle. As a result, the engine will produce more torque at very low RPMs. 


One the other hand, the transmission uses higher gear ratios at the highways to help the vehicle move fast with the lowest RPMs. 


Another example, when driving up a hill, the vehicle requires more torque. Reducing the transmission speed will allow for higher torque for the same engine power.


The transmission controls the engine power using a principle of gear ratio. The transmission is consisting of an input gear, output gear, and a countershaft. Shifting between provides different output speeds


What are the different types of vehicle's transmission?


There are two common types of vehicle transmissions: a manual transmission and an automatic transmission. Both models are completely different technologies.



  • Manual transmissions 



The manual transmission is based on a simple gear-pair technology where it uses a clutch pack. It has three parts: input, intermediate shafts, and output. 


The input shaft is connected to the intermediate shaft while it is rotating at the same rotational speed. The output shaft consists of gears with different sizes. The output transmission speed depends on one which gear in the output shaft is connected to the intermediate shaft using the gear ratio principle. Power discontinuation occurs when switching between gears.



  • Automatic transmissions



The automatic transmission is based on planetary gear set technology, where it uses a torque converter.


The purpose of developing the automatic transmission is to overcome the power discontinuation in the manual transmission when switching gears. The automatic transmission uses a planetary gear set instead of the simple gear-pair in the manual transmission. 


What are the different transmission repair options?


It is important to understand all the available repair options for your failed transmission before you decide what the best option for you is.


There are five common transmission repair options:



  • A brand-new transmission



The first and most expensive transmission repair option is to get a new transmission. 

When getting a new transmission, it is very crucial to understand what does “new transmission” means. 


Factory-made transmissions are only made when a complete vehicle or truck made. That said, you can never find a factory-made transmission to replace your failed vehicle's transmission. 


Automotive dealerships create “remanufactured” transmissions and call it “new.” 

That's why you might find the same brand-new transmission with different prices at different dealerships.


  1. A rebuilt transmission


A rebuilt transmission is sometimes called reconditioned, refurbished, or overhauled transmission. 


All these names refer to the same process where an old transmission is first dissembled, then checked for any worn or damaged, replaced the worn and damaged part, and finally put together according to the manufacturer specifications.


Many components might have been replaced during the rebuild process, including the steel clutch plates, the gasket, the friction clutches, the filters, the bands, and the seals. 


During any transmission rebuild process, an experienced technician takes your vehicle's transmission out, rebuild it according to the previously mentioned process, and then put it back in the car. There are high chances that the technician will install some updates to your current transmission, which might resolve some of the weakness issues in your old transmission.



  • A remanufactured transmission



The remanufactured transmission is very similar to the rebuilt transmission; however, the remanufactured transmission is not done in an auto repair shop; it is done in a factory.


For transmission remanufacturing, there are two different common practices: using a team of workers to do the work or using one specialist in specific transmission brands. 


In the team of worker's options, each one of the team is responsible for a portion of the remanufacturing process. For instance, the work might be divided between the group as follows:


  • A couple of workers do the disassembling.
  •  Others perform the inspection and provide recommendations
  • Other workers remove the worn parts and install the new ones
  • Finally, another group reassembles the transmission according to the manufacturer's recommendation. 


On the other hand, some brands might have one worker who is specialized in their transmissions. For example, you might find a technician focusing on repairing Ford transmissions; another one fixes Chevy or Nissan transmissions. 


Despite the practice, the remanufactured transmission is then sent to the local dealership.



  • A repaired transmission



In this case, the transmission is not completely rebuilt, and only the faulty portion is replaced. For example, some failed transmission might have a damaged solenoid or a broken internal shaft. In this case, only this damaged part is replaced. 


One of the very common scenarios is when you have a transmission fluid leak; in this case, the mechanic will only find the leak location and fix it. There is no need to rebuild the transmission or buy a new one.



  • A used transmission



A used transmission option is getting very popular nowadays as there might be many salvages or junk cars with transmissions in very good conditions. These used transmissions can cost a couple of hundreds less than a rebuilt transmission.


That been said, there is a level of risk in buying a used transmission. The first thing is that you will not have any sort of warranty. Besides, you don't trust transmissions coming from junkyards all the time. 


Therefore, it is not always recommended to buy a used transmission as saving a couple of hundred dollars now might cost you a lot of money in the future if the used part was faulty or caused any other damages.


How much does it cost to repair a vehicle transmission?


Unfortunately, transmission replacement or repair is one of the most expensive car repairs. 


Like any mechanical repair, the cost of repairing a transmission depends on the parts cost and the labor cost. Parts cost further rely on the car make, model, year, and transmission type. Labor cost depends on the location where you get the transmission repaired.


While the average cost for replacing a transmission ranges from $1,800 to $3,400 on parts only, the type of repair options will also determine the total repair cost. 


For example, if you want to go with a used transmission replacement, then the repair cost is somewhere between $800 and $1,500. However, going for a rebuilt transmission can cost $1,100 to $2,800. On the other hand, choosing a manufactured transmission can cost you from $1,300 to $3,400. 


Regarding the labor cost, it requires the mechanic from four to ten hours of work. Therefore, and depending on the location of repair, you might need to pay from $500 to $1,200 only on labor.


In general, the level of damage can determine the actual repair cost. For example, you need to pay from $800 to $1,500 to fix a damaged clutch in a manual transmission.


What are the cheap transmission repair options?


Experts say that transmission repair is “anything but cheap.”


It is not very easy to find a cheap transmission repair option. You need to spend a good amount of time and effort to find it. 


Here are some best practices to find a cheap transmission repair:



  • Shop for a good quote. 



The first tip is to take your time shopping for transmission repair quotes. You might start by asking your local repair shop if they do a transmission repair and check their prices. Do not accept the first estimate. You need to have at least three quotes estimates and then look for the different options and decide what works best for you.


Something to keep in mind, you might not need to go with the lowest price simply because the transmission repair requires specific advanced mechanical skillsets. If the auto repair shop mechanic is not very experienced, you might have future problems with the repaired transmission. 


Good advice on that is to search for customers' reviews and see if they were happy with the repairs or if they had future issues. 


Another advice is to check for online presents for the auto repair shop. Most current businesses have a good online presence. If they do not, you might need to walk away and consider others.



  • Look for special discounts



Some repair shops might provide special discounts for probably special people. For example, a repair shop might give a 10% discount for senior citizens or veterans. 


Others might provide 10%, 15%, or 20% coupons discounts. 

These special discounts might come very handy and save you a lot of money; considering the high transmission repair cost



  • Check for schools or community colleges that perform transmission repairs. 



There are many locations where people get trained to fix cars. For example, a summer camp, a high school, a vocational school, or a community college might train people on vehicle repair.


There is some risk in getting your vehicle fixed by people in training. Another point is that this type of repair takes a relatively long time as compared to a professional mechanical shop. 


If you are fine with both issues, you might need to schedule an appointment with any of these training locations and get your transmission replaced there for a low price. 



  • You buy the part, and the repair shop do the work



If you decided to go with a remanufactured transmission, it is recommended that you buy the part yourself and have the repair shop install it only. This way, you will save on the markup on the part they buy.


  1. Review current transmissions costs


It is recommended that you do a good amount of online research to see where the market stands. 


Knowing the expected or average price for your vehicle's transmission can help you negotiate the price with the repair shop better than accepting their quote blindly.




The transmission is one of the core components in any vehicle. It provides the maximum engine's efficiency by controlling the engine's RPMs to match the driving speed. 


To fix a faulty transmission, you have five options: installing a brand-new transmission, getting your transmission rebuilt, buying a remanufactured transmission, or getting a used transmission from a junkyard. 


Transmission repair is one of the most expensive maintenance costs, as it can range from $1,800 to $3,400. This price can change depending on the vehicle's make, model, year, and transmission type (e.g., automatic or manual). Moreover, the labor cost can significantly affect the total transmission repair cost.


While it is very hard to get a cheap transmission repair option, you can save a lot of money by shopping for at least three quotes, checking for any available discounts, and finding any cheap transmission repairs in training schools. 


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