What Is a Transmission Rebuild?

by Jason Medina

A transmission rebuild is a major mechanical overhaul done to a vehicle's transmission. A transmission, like a vehicle engine, is made up of a series of interrelated mechanical parts that wear out over time and with extended use. Rebuilding a vehicle's transmission replaces these worn parts without replacing the entire transmission.

Significance

A transmission rebuild is a popular option for those wishing to avoid paying the relatively high cost of replacing a vehicle's damaged or worn-out transmission with a new one. Brand new transmissions, especially on more modern, late model cars, can be almost as expensive as a brand new engine. Many people, especially those on a tighter budget or those simply wishing to avoid paying the full price of a brand new vehicle transmission, will opt for a transmission rebuild. A transmission rebuild includes the removal and inspection of a vehicle's transmission, along with the replacement or refurbishment of any severely damaged or worn transmission parts.

Function

A vehicle transmission is an intricate mechanical system consisting of a variety of gears, bands, pumps, and rotors that all work in harmony to affect optimum transmission operation. A transmission rebuild includes the careful inspection of all of the main parts of a vehicle transmission. After careful inspection, parts that are severely worn or damaged beyond repair are replaced; sometimes this means replacement with brand new parts, and sometimes this means replacement with a refurbished and/or reconditioned part. The bottom line is this: a transmission rebuild restores a vehicle transmission to peak operating function and efficiency without replacing every single transmission part.

Benefits

Opting for a vehicle transmission rebuild as opposed to a vehicle transmission replacement offers many benefits. First and foremost, a transmission rebuild is a lower-cost alternative to a brand new transmission. Generally, a good transmission rebuild will cost about half the money as a brand new transmission. Secondly, a transmission rebuild normally saves time. A vehicle undergoing a transmission rebuild will often times be ready after three or four days in the repair shop. A vehicle receiving a brand new transmission will often times be sidelined for over a week or more, depending on how quickly a brand new transmission is located, ordered, shipped, and installed. Lastly, a transmission rebuild replaces only those parts of a vehicle's transmission that are severely worn or damaged, thus eliminating the overkill that results from replacing a transmission that is still in good shape, save for the broken or worn parts, with a new transmission.

Misconceptions

As good as a transmission rebuild can be at restoring a vehicle's transmission to peak operating efficiency, a transmission rebuild does not restore a vehicle's transmission to new condition. Many people are under the misconception that a transmission rebuild does exactly that. It doesn't. A vehicle with a rebuilt transmission may run as good as new, but its transmission will still have transmission parts with wear on them. The parts that were damaged and/or severely worn were replaced during the transmission rebuild, but the remaining parts - the parts with some wear - are still in place and likely to wear out with time.

Potential

A transmission rebuild has the potential to restore a vehicle's transmission to peak operational efficiency and to result in a long-lasting transmission. Depending on how thorough and inclusive a transmission rebuild is, a vehicle with a rebuilt transmission can often times be driven for thousands and thousands of miles, even for the life of the vehicle in some cases, before requiring any further transmission repair. The quality of the parts that are used, the skill of the transmission mechanic doing the rebuild, and the thoroughness of the transmission rebuild itself - these are all important factors that can significantly extend the life of a rebuilt transmission.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.