Did you know that a third of U.S. motorists can't afford to pay a car repair bill unless they take out a loan?
After all, the average car repair bill ranges anywhere from $500 to $600.
This is in line with a recent study showing how 40% of Americans don't have $400 saved up for emergency expenses. So, it's easy to see why a car repair bill will force them to borrow money.
Things could get even pricier if we're talking about transmission repair cost. We're talking hundreds, even thousands of dollars if you need a rebuilt. Even simple issues, like fluid leaks, can already cost you a couple of hundred dollars.
How much you'll spend will depend on the specific type of transmission problem you have. Don't worry though, as we've rounded up everything you need to know, so be sure to keep reading!
What Does Your Car’s Transmission Do, Anyway?
A car's transmission provides a way to change the speed ratio between the wheels and the engine. It “modulates” the high amount of power that comes from the engine. This then enables the driver to enjoy a controlled source of power, so they can speed up the car or slow it down.
Without this crucial part, cars would only have one gear, which would be the top speed that they can travel. Without it, there's no way to convert the power from the engine into torque. And without torque, nothing will rotate the wheels.
So, without a transmission, a car could only travel at one speed, which is pretty much how a fixed-gear bike works. Worse, the lack of transmission of power to the wheels won't allow it to travel at all.
That's a basic definition of car transmission systems, but you get the gist: it plays a role in your car's mobility. If one of its many (literal) gears and parts stop working, the transmission will start slipping. From there, it will continue to slip and fail, until your car will stop responding to any gear change.
Why Transmission Repair Cost Can Get Really Pricey
The valve body, pump, solenoids, clutches, torque converters, and transmission fluid are just some of the main components of a car's transmission system. All these parts work together to deliver power to your car's wheels, allowing them to turn in the first place.
Moreover, there are numerous other parts inside each of these main components.
With so many parts and functions, it's no wonder that a transmission system can cost a fortune to repair. But it's also why the transmission is one of the most valuable car parts that you can sell.
When any of your transmission’s internal parts wear out or goes bad, you should get them fixed or replaced ASAP. Otherwise, you'll start smelling foul, burning odors, which is always an unpleasant experience. Worse, you'll have a hard time changing and maintaining gears.
The longer you put off repairs or part replacements, the bigger the damage will get. In the long run, your transmission will fail, and you'll need a new transmission system.
So, how much you can expect to spend on transmission repairs? This depends on the part that's become defective, the specific type of car you drive, and your location.
To give you an idea though, we've listed some of the most common transmission problems below. Take a look at how much their repairs cost on average.
Transmission Leak Repairs
Driving a vehicle with a transmission fluid leak may not be especially dangerous. However, it could make it more difficult to change gears or maneuver your car.
Also, the longer you delay repairs, the bigger the leaks would get. Ultimately, this would cause your transmission to fail.
A solid sign that you have a transmission fluid leak is seeing a green or red fluid where you usually park your car. This can mean that you have a leaky pan gasket, a punctured fluid line, or a faulty seal. The exact cause could be difficult to pin down, so it's best to get a mechanic to check it for you.
Transmission leak repair costs could run you anywhere from $150 to $200. With this, you'll get a new pan gasket, a fluid line change, a new seal, and even drain plug replacements.
If the leak affects the transmission's front seal, however, you can expect higher costs. That's because the mechanic would need to get the transmission out of the car first. It's a complex and laborious job, so it'll warrant a higher repair cost.
Clutch Repairs and Part Replacements
While manual transmissions are no longer that common, they still accounted for 3.5% of new car sales in 2018. If your car is one of these, or it's an older make, then a problem that you're likely to face is a worn clutch.
In a manual transmission car, the clutch sends power from the engine to the transmission. When you stomp on the clutch pedal, you're telling your transmission to turn the wheels.
Over time, clutch components, like the clutch disc and pressure plate, will wear out. When this happens, the clutch could either slip, shudder, or make whining noises. You'd also have a hard time changing gears, or you may not even be able to move the car at all.
Almost all problems with clutches require part replacement. For instance, you may have to get a new pressure plate or a replacement clutch disc. Since you need new parts, the cost of transmission repair for faulty clutches can range from $1,225 to $1,416.
If a clutch is to manual transmissions, a solenoid is to automatic transmissions. A solenoid, in general, is a coil of wire that functions as an electromagnet. In automobiles, these are electro-hydraulic valves that control fluid flow throughout the transmission.
Your car's computer directs the solenoids as to what they should do, such as when they should open or close. Their actions, such as when to shift and the speed they should shift at, are also based on these computer signals.
Like everything else in your car, transmission solenoids will age and wear out over time. When this occurs, you'll experience delays in gear shifting and problems with downshifting. You'll also feel roughness and choppiness whenever you attempt to shift gears.
Replacing the defective solenoid is often the only choice when these issues arise. The cost will depend on which solenoid you have a problem with. For instance, replacing a shift solenoid costs an average of $271, parts and labor included.
Transmission Fluid Flush
Over time, dirt, debris, grease, and sludge will build up in your car's transmission system. When this happens, you might hear strange grinding noises whenever you shift gears. You might also have problems shifting gears or the gears may slip.
Eventually, these contaminants can cause severe damage to the transmission gears. From there, your transmission will completely fail.
Before any of these happens, have your car undergo a transmission fluid flush. For most cars, a transmission flush after every two years or 30,000 miles will do the trick.
How much you'll spend for this service depends on your car's make, model, and year. But you can expect to spend anywhere from $130 to $430.
Transmission Valve Body Replacement
The transmission valve body is like the main control panel of a transmission system. It directs transmission fluid to each valve, which then activates the appropriate clutch. This “activation” is what allows you to shift to the right gear for your driving situation.
Problems with the valve body can occur due to metal debris causing damage to fluid passages. Metal contaminants can also damage the O-rings in the valve body, leading to fluid leaks.
Incorrect lubrication, which allows metal to metal contact, is another possible culprit. This can also cause the valve body to overheat, leading to premature wear and tear.
If your car gets flooded, water could quickly seep into the valve body. This can lead to corrosion that can cause permanent damage to the transmission valve.
In any case, a bad transmission valve body can cause gear slippage, harsh shifts, or delay in shifting. You may also hear banging sounds, which can mean this part of your transmission is going bad.
Since the valve body is a core part of the transmission, a replacement is often the best choice once it goes bad. Expect your costs to run anywhere from $390 up to $860.
The Cost of Rebuilding a Transmission
If your transmission is completely dead, a replacement can cost you up to a whopping $6,000. Of course, this still depends on the kind of car you drive and your location. You'll also pay less if you have a manual transmission.
Transmission Repairs Can Be Unjustifiably Costly
There you have it, your complete guide on transmission repair cost ranges and how high they could get. As you can see, it could be very expensive, especially if you need a transmission rebuilt.
If your car is too old or if it's been in the shop a lot lately, it may not make sense to spend more on repairs. You might want to consider selling the entire thing instead.
In this case, know that we can help. Give us a call now so we can start discussing your options! You can also request a free estimate of your car's worth so you'll have an idea of how much you can get from it.