As a car owner, you should definitely be familiar with the terms "replacement" and "rebuilt" transmissions before you decide if your car needs a transmission repair. A replacement transmission is when you replace your old or bad transmission with an entirely new transmission. Some might refer to this as a re-manufactured transmission as well. Keep in mind, if your car is more than a year or two old, any “new” transmission is actually a re-manufactured one. Rebuilt transmissions are not new transmissions, but may have new or used parts that have replaced worn out or damaged parts. A rebuilt transmission still has old parts functioning in the transmission, but the transmission has been rebuilt on an assembly line by replacing at least two or more parts of the transmission. It is important for car owners to distinguish between these two concepts, especially when it comes to making a decision on whether or not to purchase a new transmission due to a problem that exists with the current transmission.

One thing to strongly consider when comparing the positives and negatives of replacing your transmission with another versus rebuilding the current one in your vehicle is the transmission’s history. Unless the transmission is broken when the vehicle is brought to them, a junk yard has no idea how many miles have been put on that transmission or what condition the transmission might be in. Although, it might be tempting to just replace your broken transmission with one that’s currently in good working order, you might end up with much more transmission repair cost in the long term since the replaced transmission might have just as many problems or more than the one you just took out.

Transmission rebuilds are extremely popular because they save money for the car owner. There is a cost savings to the car owner because you are only replacing the parts that have been worn or damaged. A brand new transmission can be very expensive and may cost as much as replacing the vehicle's entire engine. As an alternative, when transmission problems do arise, car owners have the option of being able to have their current transmission rebuilt by having damaged or worn out parts causing the transmission problem replaced with new or used parts. Rebuilt transmissions are just that, they are rebuilt, but they are not new. The car owner who opts to have a transmission rebuild will still have old transmission components that will have some previous wear on them functioning alongside the new or used parts which replaced the damaged parts. Transmission rebuilds basically restore your existing transmission that is experiencing a problem back to a fully functional transmission without the replacement of all of the parts.

Rebuilt transmissions do have benefits over replacement transmissions. As mentioned above, the primary reason car owners roll with this option is because it is a cost effective alternative to replacing the entire transmission. Moreover, rebuilt transmissions are usually ready a lot quicker, sometimes within a few days, compared to a new transmission which has to be ordered and shipped, in addition to being installed by a mechanic. Replacing the transmission with a brand new one can take up to 7 days sometimes. And again, a brand new transmission might not actually be brand new but is re-manufactured. Rebuilt transmissions will only replace worn out or badly damaged parts of the transmission. Just because your transmission has some bad parts does not mean that the entire transmission is bad. Many of the parts in your transmission are designed to last the life of the vehicle. When you hear a technician or service manager referring to “hard parts”, these are the parts that they’re referring to. Many transmissions, depending upon age and mileage, are in very good shape despite a few mishaps, and rebuilding the transmission by simply replacing these bad parts has the potential to give you many more years of good driving ahead of you.

One thing to keep in mind though, a transmission rebuild does not mean you are restoring your transmission to a new state. As mentioned earlier, rebuilt transmissions will still have other parts that have not been replaced with existing wear on them. These parts will more than likely wear out as time goes on, but the investment could be a good one, especially if you only plan on keeping the vehicle for a few more years, and if the age of the vehicle is getting up there, especially in miles. A good transmission repair shop will not only replace the damaged and existing parts but also the parts they know from experience with your type of transmission are susceptible to failure over the long term.

One other factor to consider between rebuilding your existing transmission or replacing it is something that’s only developed over the last 10-15 years with modern vehicles. New vehicles are so computer controlled that they actually form a network. This network learns the habits of the other parts in the network over time. Through this computerized acclamation process, each transmission learns how to operate with the car it is in. When you take part of this “network” out of the car and replace it with a different piece, it sometimes can be a difficult process for the new transmission to work as well together with other parts of the vehicle as the previous one. This is another reason why rebuilding your existing transmission might not only be the more cost-effective but more trouble-free option.

How good is a transmission rebuild you ask? Well that depends on whether or not you are getting new or used replacement parts (always ask your mechanic about what kind of parts you are getting before any repair job moves forward), the skill level and background of the mechanic performing the work, and how much of the existing transmission is actually getting rebuilt. In other words, how many parts are actually being replaced compared to how many existing parts will be left in place. Don’t be scared off by a shop that uses good used parts in order to save you a bit of money. As far as the transmission is concerned, there is no difference in quality between a brand new part and a good used part. In fact, many mechanics prefer using good used parts instead. As a car owner, having a rebuild option is something you may definitely want to consider if and when your car starts experiencing a transmission problem. If there is a problem with your transmission, always ask the mechanic about a transmission rebuild and whether or not he/she thinks that is the right decision for you. Be sure to get more than one opinion also. Don't go with a hard sell in either direction of being told to completely replace your transmission or saving as much as possible with a rebuilt transmission. Weigh the pros and cons of the situation based on budget, age of vehicle, expected amount of time you intend to keep the vehicle, and the amount of damage to the transmission itself.

Author's Bio: 

David Friedman

President
www.transmissionrepair-cost.com

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