One of the worst car-related pieces of news a person can receive is to hear that their transmission has failed.
Transmission failures are notoriously expensive and difficult to handle. They have to be addressed right away, too — you can’t keep driving around pretending the issue isn’t happening.
If you’ve recently received this news, you might be considering rebuilding your car’s transmission instead of investing in a new car.
Is rebuilding a transmission worth it, though?
Read on to learn more about what the process entails and whether or not you should consider rebuilding the transmission in your car.
What is a Transmission?
First things first, let’s go over what the transmission of a car actually is.
A transmission is a part of the car responsible for ensuring the appropriate amount of power gets delivered to your wheels so that you can drive at a specific speed. The transmission shifts the gears of your car. It’s similar to the gears of a multi-speed bicycle.
When you’ve ever ridden a multi-speed bike, you know what happens when the chain falls off — you can’t ride the bike. The same is true of the transmission in a car. If it’s not working properly, your car can’t get into the right gear and you can’t drive it.
Signs of Transmission Problems
If you’re experiencing a transmission problem with your car, you might experience one of these common symptoms:
- A whining or clunking noise
- A delayed response when you’re trying to switch gears
- A burning smell when you’re driving your car
- Fluid leaking from underneath your car
- A grinding sound or feeling
- Loud sounds when your car is in neutral
If there’s a problem with your transmission, the Check Engine light on the dashboard might also turn on.
Is Rebuilding a Transmission Worth it?
If you’re experiencing problems with your transmission and you’ve been told that it needs to be repaired, you might be wondering whether or not it’s worth it to pay for the repairs.
You might also be wondering if it’s a better idea to rebuild the transmission or replace it altogether.
Transmission repairs can be incredibly expensive. You might even be able to buy a new car (well, a used car, at least) for the cost of a new transmission.
Even if you attempt to rebuild the transmission yourself, you’ll have to buy a lot of equipment to do the job. You can read more here about the tools required to rebuild or repair a transmission.
Rebuilding a Transmission
In some cases, it’s a good idea to rebuild your transmission.
Rebuilding a transmission involves taking the parts of the transmission that are worn out and rebuilding them one by one so that the transmission begins to run properly again.
This is a less expensive option. If you’re short on cash, it’s a good approach to take.
A rebuilt transmission can last quite a while, too, as long as the rebuilding process is done properly.
A rebuilt transmission can help you to drive your car, at a minimum, for an additional 30,000-40,000 miles.
Replacing a Transmission
Clearly, rebuilding your transmission can be a great option. Sometimes, though, you might want to replace it instead.
When you replace a transmission, the transmission’s damaged parts are replaced in a factory setting.
The great thing about this is that the parts are being handled by trained professionals who specialize in transmission repairs. This can give you peace of mind because you’ll know that your transmission will be updated to the factory specifications.
A replaced transmission can help the car to drive, at a minimum, an additional 50,000 miles.
Naturally, it costs more money to replace a transmission than to rebuild it.
If you’re very concerned about the performance of your car and want to make sure the transmission is repaired correctly, a replacement is the better option to choose.
Preventing Future Transmission Issues
Whether you decide to rebuild your transmission or you want to replace it altogether, it’s important to take steps to prevent transmission problems from occurring again.
Rebuilding and replacing both require a lot of money, so you ought to do whatever you can to help prolong your transmission’s lifespan.
Here are some steps you can take to prevent transmission issues and keep your car running properly as long as possible:
Check the Fluid
Be sure to check your transmission fluid on a regular basis. Ideally, it should be checked every 30,000-50,000 miles.
Use the Correct Fluid
When you replace your transmission fluid, make sure you’re using the right kind of fluid. Purchase the type that is recommended for your specific vehicle.
Avoid putting too much fluid in your car. Too much fluid can cause serious problems with your car and could even damage the transmission.
Avoid Too Much Heat
Don’t let your car overheat. The majority of transmission issues are the result of your car overheating.
Don’t Overload Your Vehicle
Don’t require your vehicle to carry too much weight, either. This puts too much strain on your transmission and can cause it to overheat.
Let it Warm Up
One of the most important things you can do to protect your transmission is to let it warm up before you drive it in cold weather. This is one of the most important winter car care steps you can take.
Get it Checked Regularly
Finally, be sure to have your transmission — and the rest of your car — checked on a regular basis. As soon as you notice any issues, take your car to the mechanic. Don’t wait around until things get worse.
Looking for More Car Repair Advice?
As you can see, the answer to the question, “is rebuilding a transmission worth it?” isn’t exactly a simple one.
In some cases, it can certainly be worth it. Other times, it’s a better idea to spend the extra money to replace the transmission altogether.
Now that you have all this information, what do you think? Are you interested in rebuilding your car’s transmission?
If you’re considering rebuilding the transmission, we’ve got tools to help.
Start by checking out our car repair manuals. On our site, we provide you with access to manuals for almost any type of car imaginable!