Rebuilding vs Replacing a Transmission: Which Is Best?

Rebuilding vs Replacing a Transmission: Which Is Best?

8th Oct 2019

car transmission

Transmission Rebuild Versus Replace

Has your vehicle's transmission kicked the bucket? As you may know, the transmission is an essential component of modern-day cars, trucks, SUVs and other vehicles. It's essentially a gearbox that contains a variety of gear trains. Using the gear trains, the transmission is able to convert the power produced by the engine so that your vehicle moves forward (or backwards when in reverse). If the transmission fails, it may "stick" in certain gears, or you may not be able to drive at all. 

There are typically two available solutions for a bad transmission: a rebuild or a replacement. Neither solution is particularly cheap, but they can both get your vehicle back on the road. So, what's the difference between a transmission rebuild and a replacement?

What Is a Transmission Rebuild?

A transmission rebuild is an automotive service that involves disassembling the bad transmission and repairing the damaged or faulty components. During a rebuild service, a transmission specialist will completely disassemble your vehicle's transmission. The specialist will then inspect each of the components to determine whether they need to be replaced. If a component is damaged or faulty, the specialist will replace it. This service is called a "rebuild" because it involves rebuilding the transmission with new components.

What Is a Transmission Replacement?

A transmission replacement, as the name suggests, is an automotive service that involves replacing the bad transmission with a good transmission. Also performed by a transmission specialist, a replacement service is a viable option to consider if your vehicle has a bad transmission. During a replacement service, the specialist will remove the bad transmission and replace it with a working transmission of the same type.

It's important to note that transmission replacement services don't always involve the use of a new transmission. In many cases, a used transmission or even a rebuilt transmission will be installed.

You might be surprised to learn that transmission replacement services often cost less than rebuild services. Because of the extensive amount of time required to rebuild a transmission, you might be able to replace your vehicle's transmission for less than rebuilding it.

What About Minor Transmission Repairs?

An alternative to both a transmission rebuild and a replacement is to have it repaired. Assuming the damage is minor, a transmission specialist might be able to repair your vehicle's transmission. Repairs almost always cost less -- hundreds or even thousands of dollars less -- than rebuilds and replacements.