The national cost for an automatic transmission replacement in 2023 is between $2212 and $5361 with an average of $3851​

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National average cost of a an Automatic Transmission Replacement
for popular vehicles:

Car Model

Avg. cost


What is transmission replacement?

The transmission is a drivetrain component in your vehicle that transmits energy from your engine to the drive wheels. In short, it is a large, metal gearbox that sends rotational power through a drive shaft to another, smaller gearbox called a differential. From there, that power is transmitted through axle shafts to the wheels.

Much like shifting gears on a bicycle, a transmission changes gears to allow your engine to operate with the most effective amount of power to match the speed you are traveling. Some transmissions are manual versions (where you shift the gears manually) and others - the majority of models on the road today - are automatic versions (where a computer control module determines when the transmission should shift). The transmission on a front-wheel-drive vehicle is known as a transaxle, as it serves the purpose of both transmission and differential. Some transmissions, known as Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVTs), rely on a pair of internal pulleys connected by a belt to match engine speed to travel speed, (similar to the way a snowmobile works) rather than using gears.

Transmission replacement is a service that involves removing your old transmission and replacing it with a new one (although it can alternatively be replaced with a rebuilt, remanufactured, or pre-owned unit).


How do I know if my transmission needs to be replaced?

When there is a problem with your transmission, you may notice an interruption in the transfer of power from your engine to the wheels. You might also notice odd sights, sounds, or smells. Your automatic transmission might be experiencing trouble if you notice one or more of the following common signs:

The transmission takes an unusually long time to engage once you have selected a gear (Drive, Reverse, etc.)

Hard shifting or shifting that is soft and takes longer than normal

Transmission refuses to shift

Transmission slips, allowing your engine to speed up with little or no increase in travel speed

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How is a an Automatic Transmission Replacement done?

As you can imagine, removal and replacement of the transmission or transaxle in your vehicle is a fairly extensive procedure, although not quite as substantial as a transmission rebuild or repair. To replace your transmission, a technician will first need to raise and support your vehicle on a lift. Additional supports are added to compensate for the weight change once the transmission has been removed. With supports in place, the following general steps are taken:

  • Drain the automatic transmission fluid (ATF)
  • Disconnect fluid lines, electrical wiring, and shift linkage from the transmission housing
  • Remove the drive shaft or CV axles from the transmission or transaxle
  • Unbolt the transmission housing from the engine
  • Free the transmission from its mounts on the vehicle body or frame
  • Lower the transmission using a transmission jack
  • In many cases, the engine needs to be removed along with the transmission or transaxle as an assembly before the two are separated. Many other components, in those cases, need to be removed or disconnected to allow the engine to be removed. Installation is generally done in reverse order and completed with the addition of fresh ATF before the vehicle is put back into service.

Other questions customers ask

Is replacing a transmission worth it?
For many motorists, transmission problems can be a cause for a lot of concern. Transmission repairs and replacement tend to be quite expensive. Is it worth replacing your transmission? If your vehicle is covered under a new car warranty, you might not have to shell out a lot of money for repairs. But if your vehicle falls outside of the warranty coverage period, a new transmission could cost thousands of dollars. Whether or not transmission replacement is worth the cost depends largely on the value of your vehicle, both in terms of its actual monetary value and whether or not you are in a position to purchase a replacement vehicle versus a new transmission.
Do I need to replace the whole transmission if it is having problems?
Whether you need to replace your transmission or not depends on the type of problems your transmission is having. Some transmission issues can be resolved with a repair, especially those with lower mileage, under 100K miles or so. Others can be resolved with a rebuild. High mileage transmissions that show signs of catastrophic failure - severe slipping, losing gears, or severely contaminated fluid - might not be worth saving. It might also make sense to replace the entire transmission in some cases simply to avoid recurring transmission repair bills in the future.
Is it better to rebuild or replace a transmission?
Whether it is better to rebuild or replace your transmission depends on a couple of factors. There is no universal answer to the question. The cost of having a transmission rebuilt is typically lower than having it replaced with a new one. On the other hand, the process of rebuilding a transmission is extremely complex and requires a significant level of knowledge and experience. It may be difficult to locate a repair shop with a qualified technician who can perform the job of rebuilding your transmission correctly. Another factor to consider is that the warranty of a rebuilt transmission is often not as extensive as that of a new transmission.

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