Transmission repairs can be costly. Determining what you can expect to pay to get your vehicle back on the road depends on these factors
Of all the components that comprise your vehicle’s engine, the transmission is quite possibly the most complex. All mechanical devices need to be serviced and repaired occasionally. If your transmission has failed and is in need of a repair, or if you’ve noticed warning signs that something’s amiss and suspect a repair is required, the first thing that’s likely to pop into your head is, “How much will it cost to fix my transmission?”
Fair question. But there is no single answer. It depends on many factors ranging from the type of transmission your vehicle has (manual or automatic, five-speed or six-speed), to how old or how many kilometres it has driven, to whether or not it is under warranty. It could be that your vehicle’s transmission fluid level is too low or that the fluid viscosity is the wrong type for your car. Or it’s possible your transmission is kaput and it must be rebuilt or replaced.
Ultimately, determining the cost comes down to the type of work that needs to be done, if replacement parts are required, and the time the mechanic has to spend fixing the problem. For example, a low-end repair can be about $20 to add transmission fluid, $120 to replace the filter, and $140 for a transmission flush. A high-end repair – such as a transmission rebuild or replacement – can range anywhere between $1,500 to $3,500.
Spotting Potential Problems Before They Balloon
As transmission repairs can prove to be costly, it’s wise to be aware of what the warning signs are before a total breakdown occurs. If you recognize a potential problem before it unfolds, you can potentially save yourself a lot of money, and certainly a lot of stress.
If your car has an automatic transmission or gearbox, some of the most common symptoms to be mindful of include:
- Delayed engagement. When shifting from “Park” to “Reverse” or “Drive”, there’s a delay before the gear shifts. Thus, even if you rev the engine, the vehicle doesn’t move right away.
- Gear slippage. Also known as transmission slippage, when the gear changes for seemingly no reason while driving, and when it does, the sound of the engine will change.
- A burning smell. If your car’s transmission fluid is well beyond its best before date, it won’t smell pleasant (think rotten eggs or rotting fish). Furthermore, if the fluid hasn’t been changed in a long while, is low, or if the transmission fluid is overheating it will begin to give off a noticeable burning smell.
- Unusual noises. When your car is in park or idling in neutral, if you hear unusual noises like rattling, clanging, or grinding sounds, it’s possible you may need to have worn out parts replaced like the bearings or gear teeth.
If your car has a manual transmission, be wary of these common warning signs:
- Leaking fluid. Transmission fluid is red in colour (or it should be). If you find a pool of red liquid beneath your car, chances are your transmission is bleeding its vital fluid. Without fluid, the transmission will overheat and eventually seize up.
- Gear failure. If you notice your car isn’t changing gears smoothly, and the clutch feels wrong or different when you’re driving, the clutch may be dragging, the hydraulic system may be failing, or the clutch may be warped.
- Inability to change gears. If you can’t change from one gear to another with ease or at all, that’s a clear sign something is very wrong with your transmission. It’s possible the synchronization may be off between the clutch and gearbox.
- Faulty shift lever. If the shift lever becomes hard to move while switching gears, any number of issues could be behind this problem from having the wrong type of fluid in your transmission to damage done to internal components such as the shift rails or shifting forks.
One of the easiest signs to spot that something might be wrong beneath the hood regardless of the type of vehicle you drive or the transmission it has is on your dashboard: the engine warning indicator. If the engine warning light illuminates, it’s recommended you have a mechanic check to see what the cause is. It might not have anything to do with your transmission, but it’s better to be sure than to be sorry.
Last but not least, get the transmission fluid and filter changed as often as is recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. It is the best preventative maintenance you can have performed on your transmission. Doing so will help prevent full-on breakdowns and expensive repairs over time.
Are you experiencing transmission problems? Call the experts at a Mister Transmission near you to book a service appointment, and ask for your free 21-point multi-check inspection.