If you follow the recommended maintenance, the average automatic transmission might last up to 200,000 miles. Skip even one fluid service, and you could shorten the life of your gearbox. When the gears no longer grab, you need a replacement.
For the best value, you have your choice between a remanufactured or a rebuilt unit, but which one is better?
Here’s what you need to know:
Remanufactured Transmission Pros and Cons
A remanufactured gearbox is an older unit that has undergone a complete overhaul. Specialty repair shops equipped with machine and test equipment supply these units.
The technicians follow an established procedure:
- Complete disassembly and inspection of the old unit
- Worn metal components are machined or replaced as needed
- During reassembly, techs install new gaskets, clutches, bands, snap rings, and bearings
- The unit receives a technical update to correct for any known engineering defects
- A transmission dynamometer tests the function of the restored unit before delivery
These replacements come with some of the best warranties that also cover additional labor expenses should something go wrong. These are great options if you don’t mind spending a little more for your repair.
There are potential delays. It’s unlikely the local repair shop has the exact model you need sitting on the shelf. Order and delivery times keep your car out of service longer adding to your headaches. If you have an exotic vehicle, you may even have to wait for a refurbishment shop to service your unusual order.
All About Rebuilt Transmissions
In the right circumstances, a rebuilt transmission is just as good as a refurbished unit. These can last as long, and a good repair shop stands behind the work. The process is similar except that your gearbox does not need to arrive from a third-party supplier.
Your rebuilder performs the work in-house:
- Complete disassembly and inspection of the existing equipment
- All original hard metal parts remain with minor adjustments to severely worn assemblies
- The case and gears receive a thorough cleaning
- The technician reassembles the unit replacing worn clutches, gaskets, and fasteners
- After installing the reassembled unit, the vehicle gets a road test.
A qualified shop still warranties the work, but you must return to the rebuilder for any follow-up repairs. Rebuilders also typically do not upgrade the functionality. Instead, they focus on restoring the original equipment to working condition. For an older vehicle or a vehicle that you do not want to invest as much into, the rebuilt is often the preferable option.