The following is a comparison of the difference in warranties, procedures, quality, and cost between the two most popular methods of fixing a vehicle with a transmission problem.
Rebuild vs. Reman Summary
|Warranty||12-month/12,000 mile||3-year/unlimited mile|
|Procedure||Replace broken & worn out parts||Replace broken & worn out parts + updates from manufacturer|
|Turnaround Time||3-5 days||1-2 days + shipping time|
|Quality||varies depending on shop (can be higher or lower)||consistent|
|Cost||$1500 to $3000||$2000 to $3500|
A rebuilt transmission is typically covered by a 12-month/12,000 mile warranty (whichever comes first). This is a very basic warranty, but it will pay for repairs, should there be any defective parts in the transmission or torque converter. However, you’re often limited to which shops can perform the repairs. And labor charges may or may not be covered, so be sure to read the fine print.
A quality remanufactured transmission will often come with a 3-year/unlimited mile warranty. Because of the scope of the remanufacturing process, a longer warranty can be offered.
Many companies also provide nationwide coverage, which allows you to go to the shop of your choice, regardless of what state you happen to be in when your transmission fails. The warranty is also typically transferrable, should you ever decide to sell the vehicle. Longer warranties are often available for an additional charge.
Also called refurbishing, overhauling or reconditioning, the rebuilding process involves disassembling, inspecting, cleaning and replacing damaged or worn parts in a shop setting.
To rebuild a transmission, a technician will remove it from the vehicle, take it apart and inspect all of the key components.Any parts that are still inside the manufacturer’s acceptable wear limits are reused, and anything that’s too worn will be replaced.
All of the “soft parts” like gaskets, seals, bands and o-rings are replaced. And finally, the whole thing is put back together and reinstalled in the car. The quality of components used in a rebuild may not be ideal at a less-than-reputable shop.
Remanufacturing a transmission involves completely restoring a gearbox back to factory standards in a factory setting – making it as close to new as possible.
In some cases, the transmission is upgraded to include “bug fixes” and factory updates from the manufacturer such as modifications to the valve body as well as more durable parts (eg. higher quality friction material) to address common weak points of the transmission. This ensures that the transmission is as up-to-date as possible with the design and components used in brand new transmissions.
The process starts by disassembling a core (a broken/used transmission), then cleaning and inspecting all of the parts (crankshaft, camshaft and rods, head & block castings, etc.) and checking them against original equipment specifications.
All of the components that are identified as being out of specification (too worn out or damaged), are replaced with new parts or parts that have been requalified to meet very specific tolerances and standards.
The valve body is then tested and remanufactured back to original specification. Metal surfaces are measured and machined to the correct dimensional tolerances. All of the electronic components are tested, then new solenoids and other electrical parts are installed.
After machining and painting the case, the transmission is reassembled on an assembly line, quality checked, then hot/cold tested on a dynamometer or “dyno” prior machine prior to shipment. A dyno is a device that measures torque, power, RPMs and line pressure to make sure the transmission meets specifications and works properly.
Rebuilding a transmission takes time. The transmission must be removed, disassembled, parts purchased, reassembled, and installed back in the vehicle which can take 3 to 5 days.
A remanufactured transmission on the other hand, is already complete, and shipped directly from the factory. Depending on the time it takes to be ordered, shipped and delivered, and the installer’s schedule, the job of actually installing a remanufactured transmission should take about 1 to 2 days.
When it comes down to it, both options are a re-created or “refurbished” transmission made up of a mix of new and old parts. The difference is, all of the key components in a reman transmission are new, and the dyno testing helps prevent problems from even leaving the factory.
Rebuilt – $1500 to $3000
The customer is given an estimated price range before the transmission is removed & disassembled.
When having your transmission rebuilt, the repair shop should give you a price range based on their initial diagnosis. An accurate price cannot be determined until the transmission has been taken apart and properly diagnosed. The extent of the internal damage will determine where in the range the final cost will be.
An exact price given over the phone or email before the shop has inspected the transmission is a red flag. There is no way to know exactly how much labor and replacement parts will be needed to get your transmission back on the road.
Remanufactured – $2000 to $3500
The customer is quoted a fixed price for the transmission.
When you buy a remanufactured transmission you pay one price, and all of the internal components are Original Equipment (OE) spec or better. There are no surprise charges because the transmission has already been completely refurbished and tested at the factory.
The installation cost of the remanufactured transmission is in addition to the cost of the transmission. The labor cost to remove your transmission and install the reman typically ranges from $400 to $800 and it should take them about 1-3 days to install it and get you back on the road.
In most cases, it is more expensive to buy a remanufactured transmission and pay a shop to install it than it is to have the transmission rebuilt. However, if the transmission has serious internal damage, the additional time and parts required to rebuild it can cause the final cost to be higher than a remanufactured unit.
Rebuilt vs Remanufactured Transmission Cost
The table below shows what a fair price is for a rebuild by a shop and a replacement remanufactured transmission for a number of makes & models (both ranges include the cost of labor). If you don’t see your vehicle listed, you can estimate what your cost will be based on the price range shown for the type of transmission in your vehicle.
Not sure what transmission your vehicle has? Use our lookup tool below or one of these 5 other ways to find out.
|Transmission Model||Year||Make||Model||Est. Labor Hours||Cost @ $85/Hour||Retail Rebuild Range||Retail Reman Range|
|4T40E / 4T45E||2010||Chevy||Malibu||7||$595||$1620 - $2210||$1965 - $2305|
|4L60E / 4L65E||2007||Chevy||Silverado 1500||8||$680||$1580 - $2320||$2085 - $2510|
|4T60E / 4T65E||2004||Chevy||Malibu||7||$595||$1790 - $2370||$2085 - $2535|
|4L80E / 4L85E||2003||Chevy||Silverado 2500||6||$510||$2150 - $3010||$2390 - $3350|
|5L40E||2008||Cadillac||SRX||13||$1,105||$2830 - $3960||$4365 - $5005|
|6T70E / 6T75E||2007||GMC||Acadia||9||$765||$2310 - $3370||$3005 - $3675|
|6L80 / 6L90||2010||Chevy||Express 2500||6||$510||$2460 - $3450||$2950 - $3680|
|Allison 1000||2004||GMC||2500 HD||6||$510||$2860 - $3750||$3090 - $3930|
|4F27E||2006||Ford||Focus||8||$680||$1320 - $1910||$2130 - 2560|
|AX4N / AX4S||2003||Ford||Taurus||10||$850||$1540 - $2210||$2420 - $2890|
|4R70W / 4R75E||2010||Ford||F150||5||$425||$1570 - $2260||$2015 - $2495|
|4R100 / E4OD||2004||Ford||F350||5||$425||$1890 - $2720||2195 - $2735|
|4R44E / 4R55E||2000||Ford||Ranger||9||$765||$1920 - $2770||$2545 - $3135|
|5R55S / 5R55W /N/E||2008||Ford||Explorer||7||$595||$1930 - $2780||$2385 - $2915|
|CD4E||2008||Ford||Escape||14||$1,190||$1940 - $2800||$3000 - $3530|
|FNR5 / AWTF-80||2008||Mazda||6||7||$595||$2090 - $3010||$2475 - $3035|
|AWF21||2009||Mercury||Milan||6||$510||$2250 - $3240||$2790 - $3470|
|5R110W||2010||Ford||F250||8||$680||$2690 - $3820||$3070 - $3790|
|6F35 / 6F50||2011||Ford||Edge||6||$510||$3120 - $3910||$2920 - $3720|
|6R60||2008||Ford||Explorer||8||$680||$2720 - $3880||$3560 - $4400|
|6R80||2011||Ford||F150||8||$680||$2840 - $3980||$3560 - $4400|
|41TE / A604||2008||Dodge||Grand Caravan||7||$595||$1570 - $2267||$2185 - $2665|
|42RE / A500||2001||Jeep||Grand Cherokee||6||$510||$1680 - $2420||$2050 - $2650|
|46RE / A518||2001||Dodge||Ram 1500||8||$680||$1820 - $2623||$2410 - $2920|
|47RE / A618||2002||Dodge||Ram 3500||8||$680||$2230 - $3362||$2800 - $3530|
|48RE||2006||Dodge||Ram 3500||6||$510||$2540 - $3668||$3050 - $3680|
|42RLE||2008||Dodge||Charger||6||$510||$1930 - $2776||$2200 - $2830|
|545RFE||2005||Dodge||Ram 2500||8||$680||$2070 - $2980||$2550 - $3120|
|62TE||2008||Chrysler||Town&Country||7||$595||$2580 - $3719||$2865 - $3545|
|65RFE / 66RFE / 68RFE||2008||Dodge||Ram 2500||8||$680||$3260 - $4480||$4100 - $4890|
|W5A380 / NAG1||2006||Chrysler||300||6||$510||$2230 - $3210||$3060 - $3830|
|Honda BYBA||2006||Honda||Odyssey||10||$850||$2443 - $3510||$2990 - $3630|
|Toyota A750E||2008||Toyota||Tundra||9||$765||$2320 - $3330||$3335 - $4105|
|Toyota U140F||2007||Toyota||RAV4||8||$680||$2240 - $3230||$3140 - $3870|
|RE4R01A||2003||Nissan||Xterra||9||$765||$2248 - $3230||$2905 - $3545|
|RE5R05A||2005||Nissan||Pathfinder||12||$1,020||$2950 - $4710||$3900 - $4840|
|722.6 / 722.9||2006||Dodge||Sprinter 2500||6||$510||$2230 - $3210||$3060 - $3830|
|AW55-50SN||2005||Nissan||Maxima||7||$595||$2690 - $3870||$3035 - $3775|
|F4A42-2||2001||Hyundai||Sante Fe||12||$1,020||$2210 - $3180||$3030 - $3630|
|ZF 5HP24||2001||Audi||A6||11||$935||$2710 - $3890||$4165 - $5125|
|ZF 6HP26||2005||BMW||745li||8||$680||$2790 - $4020||$4400 - $5520|
Other Repair & Replacement Options
– “New” Transmissions
If you go to your local dealership and ask for a new transmission, you’ll actually be getting a remanufactured transmission. Car manufacturers don’t build parts for sale to the general public. Every transmission that comes off the production line, goes into a car. When a dealer needs to replace one under warranty, they’re sent one from a factory authorized remanufacturer. So that “new” transmission, isn’t actually new at all.
– Used Transmissions
When you buy a used transmission from a junk yard, you could be buying somebody else’s problems. Salvage yards aren’t equipped to perform a sufficient mechanical inspection. They simply remove the transmission from a junk car, then sell it to you.
There’s no way to know how long a used transmission will last. And that 30-day junk yard warranty only means that they’ll give you another “gently used” transmission, if the one you just bought dies. The labor charges to put it in, will come out of your pocket.
All that said, this is the most affordable way to get your car back on the road.
– Repaired Transmissions
Getting a transmission repaired typically involves fixing or replacing a specific component which requires much less time and effort than a rebuild or replacement. For example, a failed solenoid, transmission leak or broken input shaft can be repaired without having to take the entire transmission apart. The goal is to keep costs down by doing the minimum required to make the transmission work again.
It’s important to note (especially for older, higher mileage transmissions) that only the component that was replaced is covered under warranty – not the entire transmission. This can be an issue if you spend a significant amount of money on the repair and an unrelated problem later causes your transmission to fail, rendering the initial repair worthless.
Repairs are cost effective, but it may not be an option if the transmission’s problem has caused significant internal damage, but minor repairs are all that’s needed to fix many transmission issues and trouble codes.
Keep in mind that every option may not be practical for your situation. A lot depends on the type of car you have, the mileage, the type of failure, and so on. A Cost Guide Certified Shop will be happy to diagnose your car’s problem, and discuss the transmission repair options that are available to you.
Over to You
Which option are you leaning towards and why? Have we missed any differences between rebuilt and remanufactured transmissions? Leave a comment and let us know!