Is Transmission Repair Worth It?

Updated 3 days ago

Car transmissions are incredibly complex. Depending on what went wrong, you may end up spending over $6,000 to get your vehicle operational again. You need to consider the age and manufacturer of the car as well as the severity of the transmission issue to determine whether you should repair the part or simply buy a new vehicle.

3 signs your transmission has begun to fail

Transmissions usually last around 100,000 miles. But many modern ones can go 300,000 miles with no issues. Here are the signs to watch out for regardless of how long you've had your car.

Burning odor

You need to be mindful if anything inside your car smells like it's on fire. This could be a sign your transmission is overheating. It's often an indicator you're running low on transmission fluid. You need more right away before you end up damaging the transmission further.

Leaking fluid

Many different fluids in your vehicle can leak, leaving a puddle in your driveway. If the fluid is dark brown or black, then it's coming from the transmission. You need to fix the leak and refill the fluid so that your transmission works the way it should.

Rough shifts

A new transmission allows you to shift gears smoothly and quietly. When you notice vibrations when you shift gears, it's a clear sign something has gone wrong. Over time, your gears may be unable to shift entirely.

Transmissions are very costly to repair

Transmission repair can range in cost wildly. It depends on what the damage is and what kind of car you drive. Additionally, you need to consider the cost of labor and parts as well as whether the auto shop plans on repairing or replacing the component. Here are some general price ranges you can expect:

  • Shift solenoid replacement: $150 - $400
  • Transmission leak repair: $150 - $200
  • Transmission fluid flush: $75 - $300
  • Transmission replacement for a non-luxury car: $2,300 - $3,000
  • Transmission replacement for a luxury car: Up to $10,000

Is it worth repairing or should I get a new car?

Fixing or replacing a transmission can easily cost several thousand dollars. Depending on how old your car is, the price to repair it may exceed how much the vehicle is worth. There are pros and cons to each. And you need to consider which one is right for you.

Repair the transmission


  • Could be more affordable
  • Avoid having to buy something new


  • Could end up spending more in the long run
  • Other problems outside of the transmission could exist

Get a new vehicle


  • Confidence that everything works well
  • Safer to drive


  • New car loses value once you drive off the lot
  • Could cost a little more

Don't mask the problem—get your car fixed, now!

Many transmission problems only cost a few hundred dollars if you address them quickly. A leak or flush tend to cost less than $300. However, it only costs that little if you take it to the auto shop right away.

It's easy to ignore something that smells off. You may not even mind rough gears as long as you can shift somewhat. But those problems worsen over time. You could end up totaling your vehicle all on your own if you fail to fix problems as soon as they arise. That's why it's a good idea to take your car in for routine maintenance at least once annually so that you can catch problems before they become more serious.

Does my insurance pay for maintenance and repairs?

Transmissions naturally start to wear down around the 100,000-mile mark. Insurance doesn't include damages from normal wear and tear. But you could get your insurance to cover it if the transmission sustained damage in a car accident. Certain policies also cover damage from weather-related events and vandalism.

It's good to review your car insurance policy every so often to remind yourself of what you already have covered. If you find you're missing essential policies, then don't hesitate to shop around to get the right coverage for your needs.

When the time arises, is my insurance going to be enough?

When it comes to car insurance, there are several factors to consider beyond monthly cost. A policy that covers you when you need it, has a low deductible, and offers several discounts can be hard to find - which is why we've done the work for you.

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