Does it make sense to replace a transmission or buy a new car?

It is not fun to be responsible for a broken transmission. You have to decide whether or not you want the transmission replaced. That’s when you have to ask yourself – is it worth replacing a transmission or is it better to buy a new car?

To figure out if it’s better to replace the transmission or buy a new car, you must first evaluate the cost of repairing the transmission versus what the car is worth. If the car isn’t worth the fix, it might be better to get a new vehicle. It is possible that you are not able to afford a new car. Therefore, it could be worth fixing the vehicle.

We will examine the reasons for fixing the transmission and those that support buying a new car. You will also learn about the costs involved in repairing a transmission and all options available.

Índice de Contenido
  1. There are reasons to replace the transmission
    1. 1. Cheaper
    2. 2. Depreciation Already Occurred
    3. 3. Don't be afraid to buy a new car
    4. 4. Sentimental Motives
  2. There are many reasons to buy a new car
    1. 1. The cost of a product is greater than its value
    2. 2. Fearful of Breakdowns
    3. 3. Are you tired of your old car?
    4. 4. Are you ready for an upgrade?
  3. Transmission replacement is so expensive
    1. 1. Mechanismic Complexity
    2. 2. Make/Model
    3. 3. Vehicle Age
    4. 4. Manual vs. Automat
    5. 5. Labour Rate
  4. There are some things you can do if your car's transmission is bad
    1. 1. Don't keep the vehicle!
    2. 2. Trade it/Sell it
    3. 3. You can buy a used transmission
    4. 4. Get a rebuilt transmission
    5. 5. Get a Remanufactured Transmission
    6. 6. Get a new transmission
  5. Questions
    1. How important is it to repair a vehicle's transmission?
    2. Are new or rebuilt transmissions better?
    3. What is the value of a vehicle that has a need for a new transmission and how much?
    4. Is it possible to extend the transmission's life?

There are reasons to replace the transmission

1. Cheaper

The transmission should be replaced if it is more expensive than the vehicle's value. Transmission replacement is expensive, so an older car probably won’t be worth it.

However, if you have a vehicle worth $15,000, there’s no reason to avoid the transmission replacement. While you could sell the car, you aren’t going to get nearly the retail value out of it with a failed transmission. 

RELATED: 8 Symptoms of a Bad Automatic Transmission (& Replacement Cost)

2. Depreciation Already Occurred

Because you aren’t driving a brand-new car, there’s less depreciation occurring. If you keep the vehicle for another year or two, you aren’t going to lose a lot more money off of the value.

The new vehicle can lose more than 22 percent within the first year. That’s a lot of money lost.

3. Don't be afraid to buy a new car

Maybe you just aren’t ready for a new car and payments. That’s okay. The transmission can be replaced and it will give you more time. 

Once the transmission has been replaced, you can start to save for a downpayment on the vehicle. You might be ready within a year.

4. Sentimental Motives

If there’s an emotional attachment to the car, the resale value won’t mean much to you. This could mean that the car was your first, or that it was gifted to you by someone special.

Either way, if you buy a new one, you would have to part with this friend you’ve grown accustomed to. You can replace your transmission to keep it going. 

RELATED: Should You Replace or Repair an Old Car? Eight Things You Need to Know

There are many reasons to buy a new car

1. The cost of a product is greater than its value

It is best to evaluate the car's value to determine whether you should buy it. If the retail value is lower than the cost to replace the transmission, there’s no reason to put more money into it.

Instead, it’s time to get rid of the money pit and treat yourself to something better. Move on and get the most you can out of your vehicle. 

2. Fearful of Breakdowns

Older cars can be unpredictable. You might need to address the broken transmission.

If you aren’t ready to pay for additional repairs, you might want to cut your losses now. You can save money by not having to pay for additional repairs. 

3. Are you tired of your old car?

If you’ve grown tired of the old car, there’s no reason to stay stuck. No matter how ugly or dismal the car looks, it deserves a new home.

To determine if there are any savings, review your financial situation. With flexible auto loans and leasing deals, it’s not difficult to find something for any budget. 

4. Are you ready for an upgrade?

Modern cars are equipped with greater technology. Enjoy the most recent safety features, technology and entertainment options.

These can be purchased in a variety of options, including a backup camera and lane-change assist technology. Even a used car can offer you some newer technology if you drive something that’s ancient. 

Transmission replacement is so expensive

1. Mechanismic Complexity

The transmission isn’t a simple system as some others on the vehicle. To keep your transmission in good condition, there are many parts that all work together.

This is why it requires special skills to fix or replace a transmission. You won’t be able to spend an hour of labor for a transmission replacement as you would brake pad replacement. 

2. Make/Model

How expensive the replacement will be depends on what make and model your car is. A smaller car might have a transmission that’s less expensive and easier to replace.

However, luxury vehicles often have high-end transmissions. This means that these transmissions require special mechanics to be replaced. 

3. Vehicle Age

It can be difficult to locate parts for older vehicles. Plus, getting a replacement transmission isn’t always simple.

The mechanic might even charge you more for the replacement, especially if they aren’t accustomed to working on something so old. There may be an additional downtime if you wait to get the parts. 

4. Manual vs. Automat

The cost of replacing a manual transmission in your vehicle might be lower than you think. This is the most affordable type of transmission you can replace.

The automatic transmission is also more complicated and more costly because it has many moving parts. If you drive a high-tech automatic, it’s going to be even more pricey.

Related: Automatic vs. Manual Transmissions: Which is better?

5. Labour Rate

Your mechanic’s labor rate depends solely on where you live and their experience. The cost of working in an urban shop is typically higher than one who works in a rural location. 

To save money, you might consider replacing the transmission yourself. Yet, this isn’t usually a good idea because it requires special equipment and a lot of expertise. 

There are some things you can do if your car's transmission is bad

1. Don't keep the vehicle!

If the vehicle is old and it’s not worth much without a working transmission, get ready to junk it. For the best rates, call your local salvage yard.

Many yards will pay you small cash and tow your vehicle. Although this is possible, it takes much longer. 

2. Trade it/Sell it

Sell the car as is. You might consider selling the vehicle to a mechanic who can fix it.

There’s also the option to trade it into the dealership where you will buy a new car. While you won’t get a lot of money for it, there might be enough given to you to put a down payment on something newer. 

3. You can buy a used transmission

A used transmission might be available at your local mechanic. It would probably be the most affordable option with parts costing as low as $1,000 on some models.

However, you probably won’t have any warranty on the used transmission. To put it in, the mechanic will charge you an additional fee. 

READ MORE: Should You Repair, Rebuild, or Replace Your Car’s Transmission?

4. Get a rebuilt transmission

Rebuilt is a popular option in many transmission shops. They take apart the transmission, rebuild it and replace all the critical parts.

On average, the cost of the transmission and labor could be between $1,500-$2,500. It is possible to get a warranty depending on how the work was done. 

5. Get a Remanufactured Transmission

A transmission shop may be able find a used model. These models are very similar to the original, and are frequently performed by the manufacturer. 

The price goes up a little higher, but you’ll get a better warranty. That’s why this is a good option for newer models that have a failed transmission. 

6. Get a new transmission

Another option is to get a brand new transmission. If the transmissions have stopped being made, this might not be possible for older vehicles.

However, this is your most costly option, which is why most people don’t go this route. Still, if you have a luxury vehicle or one that’s worth a lot of money, you might want to know that it is still in factory condition.


How important is it to repair a vehicle's transmission?

This depends on several factors including your make and model, extent of damage and cost of labor. It is worth fixing a transmission problem in a car that's older than the vehicle. It may not make sense to fix an older vehicle with severe transmission damage. The final decision about whether to repair or replace your transmission should come down to a cost-benefit analysis.

Are new or rebuilt transmissions better?

The definitive answer is still unknown. It is possible that a rebuilt transmission will be just as reliable as one made from new. The quality of the rebuilt transmission will determine the final result. While a reputable shop can rebuild your transmission well, there are many poor shops out there. You should get a warranty from any shop where you have your rebuilt transmission.

What is the value of a vehicle that has a need for a new transmission and how much?

The price of a car can only be determined by the person who is willing to buy it. The cost to repair a transmission could be anywhere from $1,500 up to $8,000. The average price of a used car is about $15,000, so if you’re selling your car as-is, you can expect to sell it for much less than that.

It is possible to sell it for a couple thousand dollars, however it all depends on who the buyer is. Some people might not want to buy a car that needs significant repairs, while others might be okay with it as long as they’re getting a good deal on the price.

Is it possible to extend the transmission's life?

There are many factors that influence how long a transmission lasts. The transmission's longevity depends on how you drive your car, what fluid is used and how frequently it is serviced. Transmissions are expected to last about 200k miles. This can be affected by the above factors.

READ MORE 10 Top Used Cars To Buy

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