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As you would expect from a name like a ‘transmission rebuild’, this is not some minor maintenance on your vehicle – it is a large-scale mechanical process. Generally, this procedure is done after the mechanical parts in your transmission have started to wear away and not function effectively. This is an option which is taken up by many people who are trying to steer clear of paying the high cost of a complete transmission replacement. In newer cars, a brand-new transmission can set you back a similar price to a new engine.

Of course, there are preventative steps to help your transmission continue functioning for the longest possible time. For example, making sure that you add enough transmission fluid in a timely manner is a highly important step to take on a regular basis. But after years of use, something is almost certain to go wrong along the way.

By understanding a bit more about a transmission rebuild before taking it into the mechanic, you put yourself in the strongest possible position. So, let’s delve deeper into what this means.

What Does the Transmission Do?

Before we go any further, it will help to provide some clarification on the function of the transmission in your vehicle. Essentially, it is a mechanical system consisting of a number of parts such as pumps, rotors, gears, and bands. Its primary job is to make sure that enough power goes to your wheels to keep you moving at a given speed. Think of it as shifting gears in the way that a bicycle does. Manual transmissions get to work when you shift gears, whereas automatic transmissions take care of everything for you.

Transmission Rebuild: An Overview

To start with, a transmission rebuild begins with the removal and inspection of your current system. Any parts which are severely damaged or worn will need to be replaced. If this is detected early enough, there may not be the need for a complete rebuild. And if the parts are easily accessible or your car is suffering from an electrical fault, you may be able to repair the transmission without actually removing it from the vehicle. On the other hand, if more than a couple of parts are damaged, there is every chance that others will require replacing soon, so a transmission rebuilt may be the most sensible option. Listen to any advice you are offered from a trusted car expert.

What is Involved in a Transmission Rebuild?

Determining the cause of the problem is the first and most important step to take. If a full transmission rebuild is required, the following steps are standard. First, the removal and dismantling of the transmission from your car. Next, it will need to be chemically cleaned by running it through a parts washer. Any damaged parts, seals, and gaskets are generally replaced. If there are any electrical repairs required, this is the time that they will be done.

If you have owned your vehicle for some time, you may find that advances have been made in the parts and technology. It may well be a good option to have these installed as a way of extending the longevity of your transmission and improving the all-around performance. Finally, the reconstructed transmission will be reinstalled in your vehicle.

  • Advantages

Now, let’s talk about some of the benefits that you can expect to receive by putting your car through a process like this. The most obvious is that this is a low-cost alternative to putting in a new transmission. In general, it should cost about half the amount. Another advantage is that it will usually save time. In general, a vehicle going through a transmission rebuild should be in the shop for three or four days, but a transmission replacement can sometimes take a week or longer. With a rebuild, you are only replacing the parts which are worn down or damaged, so you are not replacing parts which are still in good working order.

A good transmission rebuild can restore your transmission back to its top operational efficiency. Often, you will be able to continue to drive your vehicle for hundreds upon hundreds of miles – you may even continue using it for as long as the car remains driveable. A few factors which will influence how long it lasts include the quality of the parts, the skill of the mechanic, and the thoroughness of the job.

  • Downsides

However, don’t be fooled into thinking that a rebuild is always better than a replacement. While a rebuild can be very effective, it will never restore your transmission to the status of ‘brand-new’. There will still be parts with wear, which are liable to need repairing at some point in time. Ultimately, it is a judgement call based on the number of parts which are in poor condition.

  • The Cost

Many people want a bottom-line figure before deciding to undertake a job such as this one. There is no fixed cost of a transmission rebuild. It all depends on factors such as your type of vehicle, its age, and the level of damage which your transmission is suffering from. Remember that this is something which cannot be accurately assessed over the phone, so be wary of anyone who is giving you a blind quote. You need to factor in the cost of the repair work as well as the actual transmission itself. You should expect some sort of warranty that protects your vehicle and financial situation.

Conclusion

Rebuilding your transmission is an effective way of handling the problem for many vehicle owners. It ranks somewhere in the middle of possible solutions between buying a brand new one and getting a second-hand transmission from the junkyard. If you are going to go down this path, you need to hire a mechanic who you trust to do the job effectively. Otherwise, you are taking a gamble on an essential piece of kit which your vehicle needs to operate.

Sources:

  1. What Is a Transmission Rebuild? – It Still Runs
  2. TRANSMISSION REBUILD VS. REPLACE – AAMCO

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