8 Options if Your Transmission Has Failed

For one reason or another, your transmission has failed (I’m sorry to hear that). It might be that your car won’t move forward, will not shift, or has no reverse.

Need a replacement transmission? Quality transmission suppliers can be hard to find. Have your 17-digit vehicle VIN# ready. Free estimates sent via text and email.

Now you’re wondering whether you should repair, rebuild or replace your transmission. Or maybe you’re thinking it might be better to simply buy a new car. To help you make this important and often time-sensitive decision, this article outlines the 8 options you have to choose from once it has been confirmed that your transmission has failed.

In This Guide

  1. Junk the Car
  2. Sell it or trade it in
  3. Used Transmission Locally
  4. Used Transmission Online
  5. Rebuild by Local Shop
  6. Remanufactured Locally
  7. Remanufactured Online
  8. Dealership
  9. Repair or Replace Your Car

1) Junk the Car (or Just Let it Sit)

Junk the CarIf your vehicle is 20+ years old and has over 275k miles on it, then the cost of repair or replacement is most likely higher than the value of the vehicle. In this case, it’s typically not worth getting the car fixed unless it holds significant sentimental value.

Owners of newer cars can find themselves in this situation as well. For example, it can cost between $3000 and $4000 to fix the CVT transmission in a 10 year old 2005 Ford Freestyle when the value of the car is less than $4000 at the time of failure.

2) Trade Car In at Dealer or List for Sale on Craigslist

craigslistA car dealer will pay you a small amount (typically around $500 to $1500) for a car with a failed transmission, depending on the year/make/model, mileage and book value. The dealer will usually have a transmission repair shop do minor repairs or replace the transmission with a used unit to get the vehicle running again.
Alternatively, you can list it for sale on Craigslist. Repair shops, junkyards, dealers and hobbyists buy vehicles with bad transmissions constantly to either fix or part them out.

3) Buy Used Transmission Through a Local Shop

Used TransmissionA general repair shop will find, purchase and install a used transmission in your car. This is a cheap, hands-off option, but you pay the markup the shop applies to the cost of the transmission for “sourcing” the unit and labor for installing it.

Unit price range: $400 to $1600, Labor & Fluid: $400 to $800
Warranty: 90 days to 6 months

4) Buy a Used Transmission Online or From a Junkyard

You can buy a used transmission from a local junkyard or online and have it shipped to a repair shop for installation. This is the most affordable option, but it is also the highest risk as shops don’t warranty transmissions that aren’t supplied by them. There is no recourse if the unit turns out to be faulty and fails soon after it’s installed. Pro tips on buying a used transmission here.

Unit price range: $400 to $1600, Labor & Fluid: $400 to $800
Warranty: None

5) Transmission Rebuild by a Local Transmission Shop

Transmission RebuildOne of the most popular choices is to take the vehicle to a local transmission shop o have the transmission rebuilt. They will remove the transmission, take it apart, clean all the parts, replace the worn out/failed parts including clutch plates and bands, seals, gaskets and solenoids, put it all back together again and finally re-install it.

The cost of an average rebuild usually ranges from $1500 to $2500 (some higher end cars can be $3500+). The range is so wide because it depends heavily on what was wrong with the transmission and what caused the failure. The final price could be higher or lower than the price initially quoted by the shop as it’s very difficult to determine the extent of the damage/problem until the transmission has been removed and disassembled.

Another potential drawback is that there is no way to tell if the shop did a thorough and complete job or simply patched the transmission (did the minimum amount of work to get it back on the road). This is why it’s so important to find a quality repair shop that will give you an honest estimated price range, stick to it and do the work they said they would.

Cost range: $1500 to $2500
Warranty: 1 to 2 years

6) Buy Remanufactured Transmission Through a Local Repair Shop

Another popular option is to have a general/transmission repair shop find, purchase and install a remanufactured transmission. This is a convenient option because the shop handles the entire process, but just like the used transmission in option 3 above, you’ll pay for the parts markup the shop applies to the unit for finding and buying it. If you want to save some money by eliminating this markup, consider option 7 below. If you’re wondering, here is the difference between a rebuild and remanufactured transmission.

Price range (incl. labor): $2500 to $3500 – See full pricing guide by model
Warranty: 3 years, 100,000 miles or unlimited miles, nationwide.

7) Buy a Remanufactured Transmission Factory Direct

Street Smart TransmissionYou can purchase the remanufactured transmission factory direct and have it shipped to a local repair shop for installation. This may take a little extra time (because you have to find a local shop willing to install the transmission you have shipped to them) but you can save by avoiding the repair shop’s parts markup by $300 – $900 and save hundreds of dollars. Interested in a remanufactured transmission factory direct? Get a quote at Street Smart Transmission. At the bottom of this page is a pricing guide that lists common suppliers of remanufactured transmissions and their current pricing.

Transmission Price: $1300 to $3500 – See full pricing guide by model
Install Labor: $500 to $900
Warranty: 3 years, unlimited miles, nationwide, transferable.

 

 

8) Buy A Remanufactured Transmission Through A Dealership

You can also take your car to your local dealership to have them find and install a remanufactured transmission direct from the OEM. This is the most expensive option – it typically costs $1800 to $2800 for the transmission itself plus labor at $100 to $150 per hour to install it.

How to Decide Whether to Repair or Replace Your Car

Now that you know the options available, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth repairing your car or if you should start looking for a replacement. There isn’t one right answer as it depends on the year, make/model, mileage and condition of your vehicle as well as your personal situation (work/family driving requirements), but here are a few tips to help you make this important decision:

Does your car still meet your needs?
Things change. Sometimes the purpose you bought your car for years ago is no longer necessary. For example, if you’ve recently been married and are planning to have kids, does that sports car still make sense? The kids have all moved out, do you still need that 7 seat minivan? Or maybe you’ve retired and no longer need a pickup for hauling things at work.

What condition is it in?
If your 14 year old car that has more than a little bit of rust on it, has over 200,000 miles and is worth less than $2,000, then it probably isn’t worth investing several thousand dollars in a transmission repair or replacement. If the car is rust free, runs smoothly and all the other parts are in good condition, then it makes sense to at least consider a replacement transmission.

How long would you have kept the car?
If your transmission hadn’t died, were you planning to keep it for another 2+ years? The payback period of a replacement transmission is about 2 years, which means that if you choose to get a new transmission installed, you’ll want to drive your car for another 2 years in order to get your money’s worth.

That said, if your car is newer or in really good condition and is still worth a significant amount of money, then it probably makes sense to replace the transmission and get it back on the road. You can then continue driving it, sell it or trade it in. Otherwise, the value of a car that won’t drive is very low.

Fair Replacement Transmission Cost by Vehicle

  1. Find your transmission model in the table below for fair prices from reputable suppliers. Also fair labor cost for local installation at a local auto repair shop.

  2. Get a free estimate on a remanufactured transmission by email.

Fair Remanufactured Transmission Price Ranges by Transmission Model Updated July 2018

transmission repair cost
Download Replacement Transmission Cost Guide PDF

What to Read Next

 

More Information by Transmission Type

GMFordChryslerNissan - Toyota - LexusHonda - Acura
4L60E4R75E / 4R75W42RLENissan RE5R05ABYBA
4L65E4F27EA604 / 41TENissan RE4R01AMZHA
4L80E4R10046RENissan CVTMKYA
4T45E4R44E47REU241EMZJA
4T405R55E / 5R55N48REA750EMT4A
4T65E5R55S / 5R55W45RFEA750FSPCA
4T65E-HD5R110W545RFEA340FB0YA
4T80E6F3562TEA340EBZHA
5L40E6F5065RFEA650EB4RA
6L806R6065RFEA541EB6VA
6L906R8068RFEA246EB7TA
6T406R140W5A580 / NAG1A245EB7TA
6T4510R80F4A42-1A140EB7WA
6L45 / 6L50AX4N / AX4SF4A42-2V4A51BVLA
6T70AWF21F4A4B-1B7XA
6T75ECD4EF4A4B-4PN3A
8L90FNR5Mercedes 722.6BAXA
8L45TF-80SCMercedes 722.9P36A
9T65GF4A-ELAisin AS68RCBCLA
9T50JF506EAisin AS69RCGPPA
10L80A4LDPGRA
Allison 1000C6BDGA
TH400AODEB97A
TH350E4ODBGHA
700R4AODBMXA
Aisin AW55-50SNT56BVGA
Aisin AW55-51SMMA
SP5A
MCVA
M6HA
MDLA
MJFA
BJFA
MJBA
MRMA
B90A
MGFA
B5SA
MDKA
MRVA
MDRA
BDKA
BYFA
BB7A

Over to You

Has your transmission failed? Which of these options are you considering and why?

22
Leave a Comment

Elsie Steven

My freestar 06 transmission just quit on me in a blizzarding highway. The body and interior is in excellent condition. I’m just afraid if I have the transmission change something else would go wrong and this could be costly. I am thinking of getting a dodge 2016. Ideas?

Maria

My 2008 mercury mariner needs its transmission replaced. 2 weeks after driving it just stopped. My mechanic said it’s the transmission again. I was using the car to drive for Uber

Dave

Have replaced the radiator cause the coolant seal broke and got milkshake,have changed the tranny got it working for couple of weeks and then stalled and gears locked when hot ,, have flushed the torque converter and more milkshake came out,have used about nearly twenty litre of fluid,now it wont changed to second gear every other gear is fine,,when its hot it will stall,,when it cools down it move,, pleasee help,is it the Solanoid,,,and where is it located

Patrick

My Ford Explorer XLT 2009 is starting and moving with much noise but cannot move more than 1 mile. I so, I have to restart so that it can move.
I do understand that the transmission has problem.
Help me to decide on it and where I can bring it to be repaired here in Fort Wort, Texas.

Cole Jarrett

Just got a 2006 Nissan Frontier with 130,000 miles on it. On the second day of owning it my transmission completely clunker out. It was a 6 speed manual and when i would put it in any gear it would just go straight to 5,000 rpm’s and would budge, this article has really helped me decide what i should probably do with it. I will probably get a rebuilt one.

Max

I’ve been needing to find some Volkswagen transmission repair shops, and I think that being able to see if it’s worth repairing would be good for me. I’m glad that you talked about it being better to just replace an old car rather than worry about repairing the transmission. I think that being able to have a good transmission repair service would be good for me as my car is barely 5 years old though, so hopefully I can find a good one here locally!

Tina Herbst

Took my 2002 Ford Focus (4 door style) to a local shop. It was losing power and barely making it uphill and if I tried to increase speed it would amp real high and the “gear shaped” warning light would come on. It would be low on Transmission fluid and after I added it the light would go off. Shop said transmission needed replaced and ordered me a used on from a junk yard. Never told me it would be my risk or there would be no guarantee on the used transmission or his labor. It is in fine print on the receipt he gave me but gave me no info before hand. $1400 total. 2 days after I got it back it started hard shifting when I put it in R or D, once in a while and lagging on take off when I put it in D once in a while. I went back to shop after couple weeks. He told me that he called junk yard and was waiting for them to call and tell him if there was any warranty (on a transmission he found and bought for my car) and would call me. But that if there was that would be the only warranty I would have. I feel like he ripped me off. Is this common practice? Also the number I called had been that of a transmission shop I had used before and was well trusted in the community He answered the phone with that shops name and only told me that it was no longer them after I was there and arranged to have him look at my transmission. He said that shop owner let him keep the number (like the previous shop owner was recommending the new shop)and actually brought his trans work to the new shop now. That seemed to make sense to me and I trusted him because of it. This article says that if the shop finds and orders the transmission it has a 90 day – 6 month warranty. Does that hold true here? I am in Missouri.

Braden Bills

My transmission hasn’t been working properly, and I’m just not sure what I should do. It makes sense that I would want to have my car repaired! It’s somewhat new, so I don’t think it would be a good idea to have it replaced.

Superior Transmissions

OK I like them all..except the first one! How could I junk my car? I guess I love her too much.

Tarasmalibu

I have a 2015 Chevy Malibu. I ran over a median in a dark and unfamiliar area. The car immediately lost power, check engine light came on. The tow driver said it looked like I punctured the transmission pan because all the fluid drained out on the road. Had it towed to a dealer. Dealer says the only way to repair the car is to replace the entire transmission for $5,300.00???!!! This sounds INSANE! Is this even possible???? Shold I have it towed to a transmission specialty shop instead? I can’t afford this. I’ve had the car only 3 months and it only has 40,000 miles. Please help!

Graccielou

What did you do? I am in a similar boat, it’s an awful suitation and I’m sorry.

Allen

Have a 2003 ford explorer sports trac. You can fill it go in gear and no matter how much gas you give it nothing happens.

universe

My Honda City 2007 model doesn’t change gear. It’s an automatic. Sometime the indicator light on the dashboard rapidly moves from ‘D’ drive to ‘P’ park while it is still moving. Then it become difficult to accelerate no matter how you throttle. Do I need to change the gear completely.

Janet G.

I have a 1995 Lexus es300 Every morning before taking off I have to let car warm up for about 15 minutes before it moves so Thanksgiving was Thursday I drove to SF and came back with no problems then Sunday morning I go out to take off and it wont go in drive but do go in reverse what could this be?

VW

I have a 2007 Jetta Wolfsburg Edition. It has 61,800 miles and the transmission is acting up. I was quoted $1300. I am getting a second and third opinion, but it sucks that this has happened with only 61,800 miles!! What would you do?

Zak

My MR2 Spyder’s transmission has failed. I picked it up for $3300 in a market that they normally go for $8k for one in my condition, and now that I’ve started tearing into it, I can see why it was so cheap. I’m gonna replace all the oily-bits; the car is worth it, both monetarily and for my own personal attachment.

dawn

I have a 2005 ford freestar and the transmission just went on it. I love my mini van but I am wondering if I should get it fixed or not. Does anyone have a rebuilt / remanufactured transmission . I have 120k miles on the van. Any suggestions?

Marie

The TCM (transmission control module) went bad on my 2015 Ford Fiesta after 85k miles. According to the dealer, it was under warranty. It started over heating and then would not start. I had to put the car in Neutral in order for it to start. After taking it to the dealer, it took 2 1/2 weeks to order parts and fix. Once fixed, I received a phone call stating that the car will not go into reverse, which was not a problem before leaving it at the Ford service center. This will ONLY cost me $1500. What?! Ok several days later on a Thursday, I informed dealer to proceed. Keep in mind that I have not been to work in 2 1/2 weeks, because I am a private contractor and you know what that means…no work…no pay. So I was informed that it will take another few days to order the part and fix whatever is causing the car not to go into reverse. I am so disgusted and will miss another 3-4 days of work!

Amburr

Is there any reason my 2001 Dodge Durango that I bought a week and a half before the transmission went out should still be at the mechanic? It’s literally already been there two weeks ànd I called today and they said am I crazy another 7-10 days. I need my car and this just seems like an outrageous amount of time to fix it. And there charging alittle over 2000 dollars to rebuild it. To top it off the place I took it to without my permission decided they were going to take it somewhere else to fix it and didn’t ask me first and now there saing itbgoing to t ake 7 to ten more days. I don’t even know the location of my car right now. What can I do about this mess

Osvaldo Ronda

Good Morning
I ford explorer 2003 the automatic transmission has selonoides problems. always told me check transmission and now it accelerates not develop . can you help me?

Robert Haberl

Following your enquiry…….
as my new 2015 Ford Mustang, after driving only 400 kms, has the same problem!
Transmission has been taken out by Ford Dealership and all parts cleaned and inspected,
but no faults found.

IsaacB

My Ford Explorer 2002 failed to move when I put it in reverse or drive after I changed the engine oil and the oil filter.
I have had no problems with it at all and only needed to change the engine oil after the message center read, “Change Oil Soon”.
The Rev count goes up when I rev and the Speedometer starts to increase after constant revs but the car won’t move. What could be the problem? Please help me with ideas before I go to see the mechanic.