Cash for Clunkers

Tara Hornor
Written byTara HornorUpdated - October 19, 2023
Tara Hornor
Tara Hornor

Tara Hornor is an experienced writer and entrepreneur with over two decades of experien... | See full bio

John Rush
Edited and Fact-Checked byJohn RushEditor
John Rush
John Rush
Automotive Content Accuracy Auditor|||

With over four decades of experience, John Rush is a highly accomplished business owner... | See full bio

Transmission Repair – 6 Common Signs and Costs

Are you troubled that your car has been experiencing transmission problems? Perhaps it has been brought to your attention that your car needs some work with its transmission. Are you worried that the transmission repair is going to cost more than you are willing to spend? Another thing that might be bothering you is how long will the entire repair work will take. Knowing what some of these repairs are, the time commitment, and their costs can better help you know what to expect.

How much does a transmission repair cost? This depends on an array of factors.

A transmission is a must!

The transmission is one of the most significant systems for a fully functioning car. In vehicles with automatic transmissions, the transmission is responsible for shifting the gears automatically. The driver does not need to manually change the gears like with a manual transmission. Automatic transmission repair costs will be different than manual.

As an essential function of the vehicle, getting transmission repair work done is not something you can avoid for long, but it probably will be costly. It is safe to say that you could be looking at anywhere from $1,800 up to $3,400. Check out Special Offers for current deals on needed parts for the repairs.

6 Signs That Transmission Repair is Needed

Not all car owners have the basic knowledge for identifying car troubles before they get too costly. But the key to car troubles is catching them before they are beyond control. Otherwise, you will be plagued with very expensive transmission repair costs.

Understanding transmission repair costs is important for any vehicle owner.

It’s a good idea to pay attention to your car and notice if anything ever seems different. If any of the signs for a malfunctioning transmission appear, it’s time to get your car to a transmission repair shop right away. What are these signs though? The following are 6 indications that your transmission needs some repair:


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Gears are slipping

When you are driving and the car feels like it is shifting into another gear for no reason at all, you are experiencing a slipping transmission. Along with a whining noise, this slippage is associated with a decreased level of transmission fluid and lack of ample maintenance. This will result in damage to the transmission system and will quickly develop into worse issues, such as overheating, that will require immediate and costly repairs of your car’s transmission.

Try testing the level of the transmission fluid using a dip stick every time you drive (especially for long-distance trips). This will help you know if you need to add fluids to get to your destination without burning up the engine. Plus, you do not have to spend a lot of money on checking the levels with a dipstick. It is a practical step in preventing expensive transmission repair jobs.

You might also simply need a transmission flush to clean it out. This is highly recommended maintenance to avoid needing to completely rebuild or replace your transmission and can cost anywhere from $150 – $200.

Shifting gears is too difficult

Have you noticed a change in your car’s behavior when shifting your gears? Does it take a little more effort and patience to get your vehicle into a specified gear? This could be a sign of transmission troubles. Again, testing your fluid levels and topping them off before driving is a quick fix that can prevent more expensive transmission repair costs or getting your fluids flushed.

Keep this in mind please: your transmission will surely experience overheating if the transmission fluid cannot flow freely to the rest of the working or moving parts of the engine. The fluid is responsible of lubricating the parts and cooling them off when they have reached a higher temperature. This could mean a transmission problem is brewing.

Car doesn’t move when put into gear

Have you ever experienced that moment when your car does not move when you put it into a specified gear? Well, just as with other gear problems, if your car is not driving when put into drive or reversing when put into reverse, you are facing a probable transmission problem. Again, check your transmission fluids to seem if simply flushing them or refilling them is all you need.

Learning about manual & automatic transmission issues can help you to identify them early.

Burnt smell in your car

If there is a burnt smell in your car, this indicates that a transmission repair is needed. And if you ever smell a burnt aroma while driving, then, by all means, stop the car as soon as you can. Again, this could indicate leakage or low levels of transmission fluids, but that the fluids have gotten so low that the engine is overheating.

A burnt smell could further indicate that the leak is too large to simply add fluids each time you drive. If a transmission fluid leak is a large one, then your fluids will probably leak out before reaching your destination, and you are left again with the burnt smell and the engine overheating.

Fluid leaking out of the engine

Leaking fluids is a big problem for your car’s transmission. Eventually, the damage may involve the other working parts of the system. If you are seeing a red, green, or yellow fluid beneath the vehicle, you are most likely experiencing a transmission fluid leakage. The primary source of this leak may come from a seal, a cooler line, or a gasket.

If you aren’t sure if the leak is actually transmission fluid, there are other ways to tell. Checking the dipstick to check the level of the transmission fluid is an easy secondary way to tell. If you see a red fluid under the car along with a low levels of fluid on the dipstick and other signs of transmission problems, take your car to a mechanic right away.

Transmission problems and their associated costs are a pressing concern for many vehicle owners.

Dashboard warning lights

First and foremost, you should check the dashboard of your car for any alarm lights being turned on. Validate if the “CHECK ENGINE LIGHT” is on. This dashboard light alerts the driver that there is a specific issue in your car. This should not be ignored. However, if this light is on, it does not necessarily indicate that there is a problem with the engine itself. Although many drivers will eventually assume that the engine is in trouble, this is a huge misconception. The light indicator will also be turned on for transmission-related problems, overheating of the transmission, and solenoid issues.

Make sure to get a free diagnostic done by your local parts store right away if any dashboard lights turn on and don’t go away. The dashboard light might be alerting you to the need for a transmission repair service immediately.

Humming or Whirring Noise

Any buzzing sound coming from your vehicle is not normal at all. This sound could be coming from your car’s transmission which is experiencing faulty bearing and bad gears. Or the decrease in transmission fluid from a leak might lead to that weird humming sound.

If you hear a weird noise coming from your engine, be sure to take it to a professional mechanic right away to avoid further, more costly repairs.

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How Much Does a Transmission Repair Cost?

There are plenty of factors that will help in determining the car transmission repair costs. One of the most important factors is the extent and type of transmission repair service needed.

If you are opting to repair the entire transmission system, you will surely have to cover several thousand dollars for the repair cost. On average, the cost of a transmission repair may range from $1,800 to $3,400 depending on various factors.

Basic transmission repair jobs will be more affordable. This will around $300 to $1,400. The price of the transmission repair service is influenced by various factors. It is highly dependent on the car type and type of transmission you own. Check out Special Offers for current deals on needed parts for the repairs.

Should you be considering getting a transmission repair service, let the factors below help you in trying to figure out the cost of the repair job:

  • Consider the extent and type of damage on the car’s transmission: Have you maintained your car well? Does it show signs of wear and tear? What your car has experienced and underwent will really affect the cost of the repair. So, it pays to really maintain a vehicle because it has long-term effects that will surely benefit you.
  • Automatic versus Manual transmission – manual transmission is less expensive compared to an automatic transmission repair job.
  • Details about the year, model (imported or US domestic model). The imported vehicles are expensive to repair.
  • The location of the repair shop. Every auto repair shop charges differently for the services being offered.

Car transmission repair costs vary depending on the type of vehicle.

Other Options to Transmission Repair

If you are unable or unwilling to put that much money toward transmission repair costs, you’ll be happy to know that there are other options. Your first set of options still involve a cost, but a lesser cost than a completely new transmission:

  • Buy a used or second-hand transmission that will cost approximately from $800 to $1,500
  • A rebuilt transmission will cost about $1,100 to $2,800
  • remanufactured transmission will range from $1,300 to $3,400

Now, these prices are just the costs of the car transmission. You will have to cover the labor costs on top of it. To remove or repair a car transmission has a labor cost from $500 to $1,200 (4 to 10 hours of work to complete the task). Also keep in mind that it is cheaper for you to buy a used or rebuilt transmission on your own. A repair shop might mark up the price. A rebuilt transmission may cost as much as a new transmission. It all depends on the severity and amount of damage or repair needed.

Higher-end vehicles (which come with expensive transmissions) would require a highly seasoned or expert mechanic to handle the job efficiently.

When you are looking into rebuilding your transmission, you should know: this is a seriously labor-intensive task to carry on. There are plenty of things and steps to do to rebuild the transmission. There is a need to disassemble the transmission to investigate and assess the problems of the car would be. Then, the mechanic would have to replace all the broken parts. They need to replace the transmission fluid, validate trouble codes, replace the sensors and conduct a test drive to evaluate the performance of the rebuilt transmission. Once all of these things have been carried out, a mechanic can begin repairing the car’s transmission.

How much does a transmission repair cost?

Last Option: Sell the Car

You might be wondering if you can get any money for a car with a bad transmission. The answer is that yes you can. In fact, here at Cash for Clunkers, we get you in touch with a local buyer, pick up your junk car, and give you cash for it on the spot. If you have been spending way too much on your vehicle’s repair already, it might make sense to get rid of this one and get a car with less work required. Many of our previous customers have sought our services after realizing their car’s transmission repair costs were too high to be worth it.

If you want to know more about cars and their main systems or components, please take a look around to know more about Cash for Clunkers. We also offer services related to buying used or junk cars. Should you be interested in used cars and making money from them. Please contact Cash for Clunkers today to get an instant quote!





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