The Truth About Your Transmission Replacement Cost
As cars age, all components will need to be replaced. Your vehicle’s fluids need to be replaced every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. Spark plugs and brake pads need replacing semi-annually, or about every 15,000 miles. Then there are more robust components like the alternator and water pump, which can last about 100,000 to 150,000 miles. The transmission is the part that transfers the rotating energy created by the motor to the wheels. These are one of the most robust parts in your vehicle, since every moment you’re driving, it’s working to some capacity. Be it poor maintenance, hard or improper usage, or even just age and normal wear and tear, transmissions go out and will need to be replaced.
Depending on who you talk to, people will tell you that transmission replacements can be a quick $800 procedure. Others will say they spent $6,000 on a transmission alone and now need someone to install it. This will usually come down to what route you want to take for your replacement. There are four main options people will take: used, remanufactured, new stock replacement, or new aftermarket option.
Used transmissions are just that, a unit taken from another vehicle with however many miles on it, placed into your vehicle. This will be the cheapest option, yes. You can search local junkyards, craigslist ads, etc to find the parts, but this comes with the most risk since you don’t know the life or state of the unit you’re buying.
Remanufactured parts are when it is returned to a dealership or qualified mechanic to be taken apart and reassembled with new components. These usually come with a limited warranty on them, but their quality is still unknown since it is heavily reliant on the usage of the transmission case before being fixed, and how good of a job the mechanic did when reassembling.
Stock replacements are new units straight from your automotive manufacturer’s factory to you. These will typically come with a good warranty and have higher trust associated with them since they are brand new units. These will be considerably more expensive on average than your remanufactured units though, so keep that in mind when budgeting. For example, a standard T-45 manual transmission can be purchased as a remanufactured unit for around $600 or $700, but a brand new replacement can be upwards of $1,400. These new units may last considerably longer though, so it may be a worthwhile investment.
Aftermarket replacements can be an option for those looking for an upgrade to their current parts, but as with anything not strictly manufactured and quality checked by the chosen brand, there can be some risk involved with the longevity of the parts. These can be a cheaper alternative, all the way to heavily bolstered units. To continue the hunt for the T-45, the company Xtreme Performance Automotive sells a unit for $800, or an extremely over-engineered version by Tremec for $1,200. Some will be alright with an aftermarket setup, others will want to stick to what the manufacturer meant the car to have.
Also keep in mind that if you aren’t installing this yourself, you will have to pay a shop to do so, and some of them aren’t too keen on using used / aftermarket parts due to the liabilities/warranties that they may have. Always contact your local mechanics to get common hourly rates, estimated installation times for your make and model, as well as if you are able to supply the transmission yourself, or if they will have to acquire it for you.
Determining Your Transmission Mount Cost
Depending on what your vehicle will be doing, and the state of your current one, the transmission mount (the part bracing it to the car’s chassis) may need replacing/upgrading as well. The price of these will vary heavily depending on what vehicle you have, so you will have to do research to find out specifics. To continue with our example, the T-45 stock replacements are about $20 depending on where you look, with aftermarket upgrades as high as $150. Newer vehicles with higher power ratings will require a stronger unit since it will have to work harder to keep the transmission from moving while the engine turns.
Some vehicles will also need what is called a transmission cross member, which is a large bar that goes across the underside of the transmission. On some vehicles, this part may also need replacement due to the addition of bushings or crush washers in the stock component. For our example T-45, there are numerous options available, ranging from factory replacements at $85 from LMR, up to an upgraded tubular style model offered by the same company for $156. Oftentimes people will go with the factory replacements here unless weight savings or minor durability increases are a large concern.
Transmission Fluid Costs Depends on Manufacturers
Transmission fluid is often an overlooked expense. Depending on the manufacturer, you may be restricted to specific types or even brands of fluid to refill your unit. Often BMW and Mercedes for example, have their cars specified with AC Delco, whereas Ford likes you to use Motorcraft. There is some controversy as to whether or not it really matters what brand you use, but for the sake of your warranty, it is highly recommended to follow factory specs.
A Recap of Transmission Replacement Cost
With a transmission, as with most things in life, you usually get what you pay for. This is a big job on a vital part of your vehicle. While there are many happy people getting by with used components installed by a backyard mechanic, the risk is certainly there. We highly recommend at least a factory rebuilt unit to be installed by a reputable shop. If you’re looking for transmission repair portland Oregon, you’ve come to the right spot. You can look to our guide on finding a trustworthy mechanic if you need help in your local area. Here at AG Auto, we have been working on transmissions for over 20 years, and have experience on all makes and models. Schedule a service here or call us at (503) 253-1747 for your transmission installation estimate!