Transmission Rebuild & Overhaul Guide

So what’s the difference between a transmission rebuild and a transmission overhaul? Not much, other than they are the same thing. Mechanics will often use these two terms interchangeably, although you may also hear of re-manufactured or re-conditioned transmissions. All in all, they are referring to the same thing: a transmission rebuild. So what is it exactly? It basically refers to taking a transmission apart and building it again from the ground up, replacing the majority of parts in order to restore it to working order. We’ll explain everything in this guide.

Transmission Rebuild & Overhaul

transmission rebuild and overhaul guide - transmission repair guyNow that you know there’s no difference between a rebuild and an overhaul, we can get into the gritty details. In order to perform a transmission rebuild, a transmission rebuild kit is required, which provides all the replacement parts needed. There are different types of kits, which may or may not include bands, seals, steels, clutches, gaskets, O-rings, modulator, filter, bushings, and washers. It really depends on what parts are going to be replaced in the transmission. The mechanic or technician is then going to remove the transmission (often with a special transmission jack) from the automobile’s chassis in order to take it apart, which requires lots of in depth knowledge and experience. Once the transmission is taken apart, the majority of parts are replaced, which may or may not include:

  • All parts disassembled and cleaned
  • All clutch plates and bands replaced
  • All seals, gaskets, and sealing rings replaced
  • All solenoids either cleaned and tested or replaced

Transmission Rebuild Cost

Rebuild kits aren’t too expensive, but it’s the labor that’s intensive. That’s why the transmission rebuild cost can be so much, anywhere from $3,000 and upwards if you take it to a repair shop! On average, a transmission repair cost will be around $1,000-$2,000 for lower end repairs and anywhere from $3,000-$4,000 for a complete rebuild.

The cost will also depend on what make and model the car is, the type of transmission, and the cost of parts. What costs the most is the amount of labor, as a rebuild requires removing the transmission, taking it apart, replacing the majority of parts, and re-assembling it. If you choose to do it yourself, a transmission rebuild can cost much less, and all you need is a rebuild kit and some automotive tools. Rebuild kits are usually priced around $50 to $300, depending on what parts are included and the quality of them. Doing it yourself will cost less than $500 in most cases, although you need the experience and knowledge to do it right. Due to time constraints and inexperience with transmission repair, most people choose for a professional rebuild so they can get on the road as quickly as possible. For a brief transmission rebuild guide, check out this one.

How Long Does It Take to Rebuild a Transmission?

So how long does it take to rebuild a transmission? Most people need their cars running again as soon as possible. This can depend though, it can be done in as little as one day although the average is usually between three to four days. Rebuilds that take a day often have the transmission removed by another auto shop in order to make it easier. Taking in your car to have it diagnosed, removed, rebuilt, and re-installed will usually take around four days. If you choose to repair a less serious problem, it might take more than a day in order to diagnose problems accurately. Factor in all the other details, such as how long it takes for the customer to decide, the extent of damage, and finding the cause of the problem can all lengthen the amount of time it takes to repair your transmission. Generally a rebuild takes a shorter amount of time though, as there’s no need to diagnose for problems because the majority of parts are replaced. The shop you decide to bring your car to should be able to give you a rough estimate, and will quote you on it. If you choose to do it yourself, it might take longer depending on your level of experience.

**A transmission rebuild that is covered by an extended warranty program will take longer to repair. The warranty must go through a bunch of hoops, such as reviewing the warranty and getting the repair approved. There are many steps involved, which all take time from the warranty company to complete, so don’t expect this route to be quick**