What is the Cost to Rebuild a Transmission?

by Johnno CaryUpdated July 21, 2023
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The automatic transmission plays a vital role in keeping the automobile running properly. In fact, if the transmission is broken, then the car is useless until it is fixed. Transmission repairs are not a cheap auto part. With the advent of more sophisticated computer technology in automobiles, and fewer manual transmissions, a transmission replacement is more complex than ever. If your car’s transmission dies and you do not have a warranty, there are a few options available to you as a vehicle owner.

New Replacement

If you’re having transmission problems, you can go right out and buy a brand new transmission. This would be the most expensive way of correcting the problem. New transmission repair costs can reach several thousands of dollars, especially for new cars, and then you have to pay for the labor replacement cost to take the faulty transmission out and put the new one in.

Used Replacement

Another option would be to buy either a used or a rebuilt transmission from a junkyard. This has an average cost between $100 to $1000 as of 2009. You would then have to do the work yourself though, or offer to pay the junkyard mechanics or a dealership to install the remanufactured transmission. The one major drawback with junkyard transmissions is that you really have no idea what the mileage or mechanical history of the used transmission is when you get it. The junkyard can tell you that the engine it came from had 50,000 miles on it, but rarely can they prove it to you. If you are strapped financially, then finding a cheap replacement transmission for the car until you can straighten things out is a perfectly rational idea. Just do not expect the transmission to be perfect or last forever.


The last option you have is to rebuild the vehicle’s transmission yourself or have it rebuilt by a transmission shop. If you are familiar with the inner workings of a transmission, then rebuilding it yourself is a great idea. Not only will it save you the labor cost, but also you can validate the integrity of the rebuild personally. The process sounds simple: the hard parts of the transmission, the case and core, are made of tough metal and rarely break. You can reuse these for the rebuild. In a rebuild, you replace soft parts such as gaskets, seals, filters, valves and clutch components when necessary and just make sure it pumps the transmission fluid correctly.


The cost of rebuilding a transmission at a shop varies. A good estimate cost for a transmission rebuild at a shop is between $1500 and $3000 as of 2009. But again, it all really depends on what type of transmission you’re trying to replace, like a CVT or manual. Doing transmission service yourself would likely be under $500, considering that all you have to pay for are the parts, not the labor. There are many variables. A rebuild is taking the transmission out of the car, opening up the case, and visually inspecting each part. Then the transmission repair shop will replace all parts that do not work anymore. This can include everything in a bad transmission from springs, bolts, the torque converter, gearbox, powertrain, drive train, solenoid, gaskets and more. If you're doing the rebuild yourself, you can buy each part separately, but if you know ahead of time that there are many broken parts, you should purchase a rebuild kit for your car. A rebuild kit comes with an assortment of the most commonly replaced transmission parts during a rebuild. The majority of the time, the parts you need will be in the kit, but it is not a guarantee.

Final Thoughts

Most shops will offer you a free estimate before touching a single bolt of your failing transmission; you can then agree to the cost or even take the estimate to another shop for a price haggling session. Rebuilding your transmission is a good, middle of the road, way of handling a broken transmission. You are not shelling out top dollar for a brand new one, but you are also not settling for a cheap fluid change or junkyard transmission, and you’re not doing further damage to the vehicle. The extra cost of rebuilding a transmission is worth it if done properly.

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