Should You Repair or Replace Your Transmission? A Guide for Chicago Drivers

City traffic is hard on your car — especially the transmission. If you’re dealing with a vehicle that lacks acceleration power, hesitates when shifting gears, or has started making strange sounds, it’s time to consider what might be wrong with the transmission. When it comes to transmission services, there’s a range of possibilities, depending on the symptoms you’ve noticed and the severity of any damage within the system. Let’s take a closer look at what happens during each transmission service and which factors to consider when deciding which transmission repair is best for your situation.

What Happens During Different Transmission Services?

Any transmission service starts with a thorough diagnostic. This includes a visual inspection, checking the level and condition of transmission fluid, and doing a road test to assess performance. From there, your mechanic will recommend the best services or repairs to help your vehicle operate at its best again. Depending on wear or damage within the transmission, you may need a simple repair, a more involved rebuild, or a full replacement.

Transmission Repair

As with any repair, catching a transmission problem early will help keep the solution simpler. If the worn or damaged parts in your transmission are easy to repair or replace, you’ll hopefully be able to stick with a more simple service. Most commonly, this involves replacing the transmission fluid or fixing a leak, which can typically be done without disassembling the system.

Transmission Rebuild

Certain more extensive issues may require a transmission rebuild. During this service, the transmission will be removed from your vehicle and completely disassembled so that your mechanic can assess the condition of each individual component. Any parts that are worn or damaged will be replaced. Before completing the rebuild service, your mechanic will also inspect, clean, and do any other necessary maintenance on components that don’t need to be replaced. Finally, your transmission will be reinstalled in your vehicle and road-tested before being returned to you.

Transmission Replacement

With even more extensive damage, you may have to consider a transmission replacement. In this case, your mechanic will remove the old, damaged transmission from your vehicle and replace it with a remanufactured one. Typically, this will only be recommended in cases where your transmission has failed or damage is extensive enough that it’s cheaper to replace the whole system than to carry out a rebuild service. Remanufactured transmissions are assembled in a factory setting and will operate like new once installed in your vehicle.

Consider These Factors When Making a Decision

Dealing with transmission trouble but unsure which repair service to choose? Always consult with your mechanic about which options you have and what they recommend. However, there are a few key factors to consider when making your decision, including your budget, the amount of wear or damage in your transmission, how quickly you need repairs done, and how long you plan to keep your vehicle.

How Extensive is the Damage in Your Transmission?

First and foremost, the results of your mechanic’s inspection and diagnostic tests will dictate which repairs are necessary. Simple fixes like bad transmission fluid or leaks in the system can often be repaired relatively easily. More serious damage will require either a transmission rebuild or replacement service. Ultimately, it’s important to fix all issues and replace any faulty components right away to avoid further problems down the road.

What’s Your Budget?

As with anything, cost matters. Though the most important factor should be the extent of damage in your transmission, it’s also necessary to understand what you can or can’t afford — both in the short and long term. A transmission rebuild allows you and your mechanic to choose the best parts on the market to replace any that are damaged. This may cost more upfront but you may end up with less expense in the long run. A rebuild will also likely cost more because you want an expert carrying it out.

How Quickly Do You Need It Fixed?

The more complex the repair service, the longer it will take to complete. A simple transmission repair can often be done in the same day, but a rebuild or replacement will likely take longer. Finding and getting the right transmission for your vehicle may take some time, though the installation itself should not take long. The longest timeframe for fixing a transmission would be a rebuild, since it involves the removal and full disassembly of your transmission by an expert mechanic.

How Long Do You Plan to Keep Your Vehicle?

If you intend on keeping your vehicle for a long time or want to maintain its resale value, it’s important to choose the service that best maintains your car. The longer you want to keep your vehicle, the more money you may be willing to put into any necessary repairs. On the other hand, if it’s already older and has high mileage, you may be less willing to invest another $1-2k into repairs if a transmission rebuild or replacement is necessary.

AAMCO: The Home of Chicagoland’s Transmission Experts

Dealing with signs of transmission trouble? Consult AAMCO Chicagoland transmission experts. Whether a simple transmission fluid replacement helps get you back on the road again or more extensive repairs are needed, we’ll help keep your vehicle operating efficiently. Find out why we’re known as leaders in transmission repair. Schedule your appointment with us today!

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