Transmission Solenoid: Symptoms & Replacement Cost

Modern automatic transmissions use pressurized hydraulic fluid to change gears. Every time a gear change is required, the car’s computer activates a transmission solenoid, which directs transmission fluid into the valve body to engage the correct gear. If one of these electro-mechanical valves fail, then all sorts of transmission problems can ensue. So let’s take a closer look at the shift solenoid, and the common problems associated with it.

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What Transmission Do I Have?

How Does a Transmission Solenoid Work?

As you’re going down the road, the car’s computer analyzes data being sent by vehicle speed sensors and engine speed sensors. Based on this information, the Engine Control Unit (ECU), or the Transmission Control Unit (TCM), executes the appropriate upshift / downshift by sending a signal to one of several shift solenoids. These transmission solenoids have a spring-loaded plunger inside, which are wrapped with wire. When this coil of wire receives an electrical charge from the TCM / ECU, it causes the plunger to open, allowing transmission fluid to flow into the valve body and pressurize the desired clutches and bands. When this happens, the transmission changes gears and you continue down the road.

The car’s computer can control the transmission solenoid in several ways. If the vehicle is equipped with a dedicated Transmission Control Unit, it can open or close the hydraulic circuit using a direct 12v signal. Or, the Engine Control Unit can control the solenoid’s plunger by turning the ground circuit on and off. A solenoid can be used to control a single gear or multiple gears, depending upon the complexity of the design.
Transmission Solenoid Locations

Symptoms of a Transmission Solenoid Problem

Solenoid A transmission solenoid can fail due to electrical issues, or dirty fluid that’s caused the shift solenoid to become stuck open / closed. Any change in the transmission fluid pressure can cause numerous problems, including:

Erratic Shifting – If you’re dealing with a failed transmission solenoid, the gearbox can skip a gear up or down, shift back and forth between gears repeatedly, or get stuck in a gear and refuse to shift.

Transmission Won’t Downshift – If the transmission will not downshift, one of the shift solenoids may have become stuck open / closed, preventing fluid from entering the transmission valve body to pressurize the correct gear.

Severe Shifting Delay / Stuck in Neutral – In order for an electronically controlled automatic transmission to shift gears, the solenoid must be able to regulate the fluid pressure to activate the appropriate gear. If the shift solenoid is receiving too much or too little electric current, or dirty transmission fluid has caused it to become stuck open / closed, gear engagement maybe become difficult or delayed, which can cause the transmission to act as if it is temporarily locked in neutral.

Because the solenoids are connected to a vehicle’s electrical system, the ECU will usually register an error code and trigger the check engine light if something goes wrong. If this happens, the transmission can go into limp / fail mode, where it will only engage second / third gear to limit the vehicle speed without immobilizing it.

The first thing that your mechanic should look at are the error codes. Using a scan tool, the technician can determine the source of the solenoid’s problem. It could be as simple as a bad ground, or as complex as a failed solenoid pack (a grouping of individual shift solenoids).

Transmission Solenoid Replacement Cost – Parts & Labor

In most cases, solenoids are located inside of the oil pan, connected to the valve body. Depending on what you drive, the technician may be able to replace just the failed shift solenoid. However in some cases, the solenoids come in these multiple unit packs so if there is a problem with one, the entire pack must be replaced. This job typically takes 2-4 hours to complete, and shop time is generally billed at $60 – $100 per hour. The average total cost to diagnose and replace one ranges between $150 and $400.

Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, expect to pay between $15 – $100 for a single transmission shift solenoid. A pack can cost $50 to $300.

TypeCost Range
Single$15 to $100
Pack$50 to $300
Labor$120 to $400
Total (Pack)$250 to $600

Solenoid Pack

Although it isn’t unusual for transmission shift solenoids to wear out over time, you can extend their life by changing your transmission fluid at the factory recommended intervals. This will clean out all of the dirt and sludge that builds up, and the fresh fluid will keep the plungers on the inside of the solenoids from sticking. If you don’t know what your vehicle’s recommended transmission service intervals are, check the back of your owner’s manual, or simply ask Google.

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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. Not Sure Which Transmission You Have?
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Fair Remanufactured Transmission Price Ranges by Transmission Model Updated for 2019

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Leave a Comment


I have a 1997 Ford Taurus the transmission once you go about 10 or 15 miles the transmission jumps down into second gear and gets hung in 2nd gear what’s the problem


Shift lever has push on 1 thru 6 gear change and does not push on any longer.2012 bighorn 5.7


I got an error code for the front brake band. I took the valve body out and removed the solenoids in order. Ordered replacements was putting them on and put the old ones aside. Wrong solenoids. So now the order is lost. I can figure out the order of some but don’t want to put the wrong one where it doesn’t belong. I’ve asked but all they say is to check the olms? Looks like number 7 is easy and numbers 6,5 and 3 may be interchangeable. That just leaves 1,2 and 4. Is this correct? If so, is there a manual on this?


Great article.


I have a 2016 Honda Civic within the last 2 months the transmission fluid has been low and had to be topped up but the dealership can’t seem to find any leaks a transmission flush was done and casket replaced still can’t find leaks any ideas what the problem could be?


not throwing codes but is shifting erraticaly as if the slyoniod is completly not there plus it is acting as it in in a limp mode


I have a 1999 Toyota 4Runner that when going 50-70 mph, when trying to accelerate quickly (stepping on it to pass for example) will not downshift. Engine revs, rpms go up but car does not respond. Almost like a slip, but all other gears and during normal driving is fine, very smooth shifting. Shift solenoid? Or deeper transmission issue?


Shift solenoid on a 2016 dodge journey sxt v6 located


I have a 2007 ponitac Grand Prix and it had shifting issues since I bought it I got the oil changed it cause it was black and on the computer it comes up as a pressure silonoid I have to put it in first gear to get it to drive then switch gears as I speed up everyone I talk to is saying there might be more issues and I can’t afford a new transmission has anyone had this issue thanks

Mario gray

recently change solenoid on my subura and I am hearing a wining noise when I move off


Mine is doing the same so what do I do ??


I just had my transmission serviced, and fluid changed (recommended by GMC) about 3 weeks after my truck is coding that the solenoid and transmission module need attention.
I’ve done some internet research and it looks like the dealership will see me coming, estimates can exceed $400.00.
Is there a way to get a fix any less expensive? Plus reading some of the responses here makes me wonder. Is my truck going to give me more codes/coding once this work is done?


I have a shifting problem with my wrecker. 2005 c5500 gmc duramx diesel . I put my computer on and all the solenoids tested bad an the valve body. So I changed all the solenoids and the valve body . Once I put everything back together the truck gave me way more codes than it did with the bad valve body and the bad solenoids. Need any kind of advice please and thank you.


Taurus has no codes


Have 08 taurus. Has “clunk” and transmission slip not at same time


I have a 2007 Subaru Tribeca and about a week ago when the engine was still cold at about 30 to 40 mpg there was a hard shift when I accelerated. Once the car warmed up I had absolutely no problems. and runs smooth. Have no codes and the transmission fluid is good. Can anyone give any advise!


U answered ur own question…Engine still cold. U should also make sure ur full of antifreeze to regulate temp. If u have to leave before it’s warm just try to be gentle with accelerating!


I have astra h when I put on drive. .gears going up n down it started gear 3,2,4,


Hello Guys I have A 2006 Cadillac DTS with a P2764 code. I am in need of a TCC solenoid. Can any
one get me an estimate cost for a job like this.

Carl Harris

Hey guys I have a 1992 ford f150 5.0l. The teams mission is a 14 volt aod. Shifts in reverse no problem. But will not go in drive until you rev it up 3 or 4 times. Anyone know what’s going on with it?


I have a 96 with the same issue. Help?


Hi guys, I have Volkswagen Passat B6 and I am guessing if the transmission solenoid may be the problem here. After starting Limp mode occures. All PRNDS are lit and I am unable to shift to Reverse, only to D and there is just 2rd available. Diagnosis showed the Mechatronic issue but nothing specific. I was in 3 services but nobody knows how to fix it. Can you help?

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