Your car’s transmission has failed or is in need of repair. What do you do now?
Are you faced with a failed transmission and the dilemma of deciding which transmission repair option is best for your vehicle? It’s a tough spot to be in but here’s good news: you have options aplenty.
Depending on the age, make, and model of your car, light-duty truck, van, or SUV – and whether your vehicle features an automatic or a manual transmission – your decision will likely be determined by a multitude of factors including cost, quality, and when you need your wheels back.
Many people believe when they buy a new transmission to have installed in their vehicle, that they are getting a brand new factory-made one. That is usually not the case. Brand new transmissions are not available from the manufacturer, your automotive dealer, or any other source. New transmissions are only used in the production of new cars and trucks. Thus, when you purchase a “new” transmission, you are, in fact, getting one that has been remanufactured. Be advised the price tag affixed to a so-called new transmission and a remanufactured one may not be the same.
Whether you call it a rebuilt, refurbished, reconditioned, or overhauled transmission, the result is the same. A rebuilt transmission is a transmission that has been disassembled and inspected, all the worn or damaged parts are replaced, and then the transmission is reassembled to factory specifications. Some components will be replaced as part of this process: new gaskets, steel clutch plates, seals, friction clutches, filter, and bands.
The term “rebuilt” is used in a shop setting where the customer’s transmission is removed from the car, rebuilt and then reinstalled. It is a custom process performed by an experienced, technology-savvy technician. One of the major benefits of having your transmission rebuilt is that often there are new updated components that can be installed. These updated components often address common weak points of the transmission; thus they are less likely to fail in the future.
A remanufactured transmission, aka a “reman”, is the same as a rebuilt transmission, except that the work is done in a factory instead of an auto repair shop.
There are two common practices employed in remanufacturing. One uses a team of workers skilled in a specific area of the repair. One technician does the teardown and inspection, one does the cleaning, and several others will assemble and restore certain components. Lastly, another more senior technician will reassemble the transmission. Alternatively, a single technician skilled and experienced at rebuilding a specific model of transmission or family of transmissions will do all of the work. For instance, there may be a Ford transmission specialist, a Chevy transmission specialist, a Nissan transmission specialist, and so on. In either instance, the transmission is tested on a dynamometer and then shipped to a retail outlet for sale (including new auto dealerships).
A repaired transmission is one where a specific component is replaced or fixed. For example, if an input shaft broke or a solenoid failed, those parts can be replaced without rebuilding the entire transmission. That includes instances where a transmission may have sprung a leak. In such a case, the external seals would be replaced to resolve the leaking problem.
Another possibility today is to have a used transmission installed. Used transmissions have become a viable option because insurance companies will often write off the expense of a car simply because the airbags deployed during a relatively minor accident. The rest of the car may be in terrific condition, with very low mileage. A used transmission may cost hundreds less than a rebuilt model, but they come with a limited warranty. Moreover, whenever you buy a used transmission from a junkyard, you never truly know what you’re getting. You may save a few dollars in the short-term, but ask yourself, “what are the long-term implications of buying a used transmission?”
Are you experiencing transmission troubles or have questions about your vehicle’s transmission? Visit the Mister Transmission location nearest you and get the expert help you need.