Transmission Repair FAQ
In the event that you should experience transmission problems or even complete failure, it is important to understand what is going on and what to look for. Often times transmission repair can be confusing, especially if you ask your friends or family or resort to google searches for direction. The following guide will help you get information and be familiar with the terms used, lingo, facts vs myth and general helpful information about transmission repair. Let's get started!
Do i have a transmission problem or not?
This is obviously step one. With most modern cars the vehicle has several ways to let you know that it is having an issue with the transmission. Some vehicles have check transmission lights or the OD button will flash. Others are limited to just a standard check engine light. If you feel something unusual in the shifting and it is accompanied by a light like the ones mentioned it is best to get it checked! Engine problems can also produce dire ability issues that FEEL like a transmission problem but in fact turn out to be engine misfires or air flow related components. Basic code scans and test drives can be free at most shops. Remember it is not uncommon for transmission repair shops to require advanced transmission diagnostics time to get to the bottom of some transmission issues.
I have a leak, now what?
Transmission fluid is generally a bright red fluid that resembles cherry juice out of a jar. If you have several "splotches" or "drips" That would indicate a small leak possibly with a connection, line or small external seal. A huge "slick" style leak would indicate a major seal failure. Many of today's transmissions do not have dipsticks so it is tough to know to ad or not. If it is the small splotch variety leak, you are probably ok to drive it to a transmission repair shop. If it is a slick style leak, best be safe and tow it in. Remember, even if you ad fluid transmissions work under pressure and most likely will leak under pressure as well. Transmissions must have fluid to function properly and that fluid also cools and lubricates so never under estimate the importance of having leaks addressed ASAP.
My transmissions slips, I need a flush..........
Transmission flushes are a fantastic way to maintain a vehicles transmission fluid and promote long lasting life. Waiting until a transmission is malfunctioning may be too late. Once a transmission has begun to display symptoms transmission flushes rarely correct drivability symptoms and can in fact accelerate a units demise. It is often performed as a *Hail Mary* transmission repair of sorts but rarely has long term solutions.
I have transmission codes for a sensor or solenoid, How much?
Transmission codes are a funny thing and like engine codes they are not always definitive of the problem. Codes can be system and/or component specific and do not always spell out the answer by definition. Most codes indicate a problem within a system and require a diagnostic flow chart to isolate the problem. In a lot of vehicles a code for a shift solenoid can be stored which can be confusing as in most cars today the shift solenoids are built into an overall block component and a piece of the transmission control module. Also because there is a code present for a shift solenoid does not mean that it is bad. A stuck off or stuck on code can be illuminated for many reasons. All can be resolved with a check of the transmission system.
I need a "new" Transmission
Interesting term new. On most vehicles 3-5 years or older it is almost impossible to obtain a "brand new" transmission as they the technology is constantly changing and rarely are new models interchangeable with older ones anymore. So the term "new" can be misleading. If you are the transmission repair shop or dealership and they have recommended a new transmission be sure to question whatever it is in fact a brand new transmission. With proper questioning you will find out that it is indeed a re-built transmission from a sub contracted transmission repair shop or facility.
Re-built vs Rebuild vs Re-manufactured vs Re-man
When a transmission repair shop removes the transmission out of your car, tears it down and replaces all the common wear parts, torque converter and replaces all the damaged hard parts and electronics. Then installs it back in your car. Flushes the cooler lines and performs re-learns and/or flash programming .That is what the industry considers re-built.
A Re-man or re-manufactured transmission is a transmission that has been rebuilt in a factory style setting. That does not mean it is a dealer factory it means a dealer style factory that employs multiple dealers and multiple cores are used to make individual transmissions that are sold, shipped and installed. Some distributors dyno test their units. These units are generally built the exact same way a transmission repair shop builds them. The only difference is truly the term as both transmissions are brought back to or at least match factory specifications and most times have updates and upgraded components. Re-manufactured is often presented as a higher end better option but there is no difference between a re-manufactured (built in factory setting) and rebuild (built on site of transmission facility)
I found one on the Internet for cheaper
There are literally 100's of Internet sites claiming to have re-built transmissions ready to go. Many times the price may be well below what you were quoted at a transmission repair shop however you must figure in labor cost to install , labor cost to professionally flush the cooler lines with a hot oil cooler line flusher and also have the stored transmission codes cleared. Then on many units a re-program flash may be needed and/or a re-learn procedure as most transmissions are drive adaptive with memory these days. Also take in to consideration the warranty and who will actually warranty the transmission if there is a problem. A warranty can be 20 years but ultimately worthless if you cannot find anyone to work on it. Always inquire about transmission warranty terms and conditions when considering an Internet purchased transmission as well as installation and programming costs.