When your vehicle’s transmission has significant internal damage, you have choices to make. Some transmission problems go beyond simply getting the transmission fluid and filter replaced (i.e., a “standard transmission service”) or just replacing one failing component.
Don’t Let Transmission Problems Get Worse
In many cases, it’s like a snowball effect inside the transmission and the driver doesn’t realize there’s a minor problem until it develops into something major. There could be an issue with the torque converter or a transmission fluid leak caused by a weak seal. Before long, one problem leads to more problems. Different components take more stress when others don’t work right. A loss of transmission fluid or the fluid being burnt and dirty can cause parts to seize up or grind together. A transmission is a fine-tuned system with many moving pieces. If one thing isn’t working right then it will eventually effect just about everything else inside the transmission.
Of course, if you suspect you might have a transmission problem, you should deal with it immediately. If you notice a transmission fluid leak, if the vehicle feel sluggish upon acceleration or if you hear/feel anything strange during shifting, you will want to take your vehicle to a Central Valley transmission specialist like Ralph’s Transmission. Expert transmission technicians can run diagnostics, perform a thorough road test and complete a detailed inspection of the transmission to determine exactly what’s wrong. If you are lucky, the issue can be caught early on and you will only be faced with minor repairs. If the internal transmission damage is more significant, then there are a few courses of action to consider.
Full Custom Transmission Rebuild
If a transmission can be salvaged, then we will almost always recommend a full custom transmission rebuild. We specialize in transmission rebuilds at Ralph’s Transmission, and we do all the work in-house to make sure it’s done right. We remove the transmission from the vehicle and strip it down piece by piece. Every single component is inspected carefully. Those that are still in good shape will be properly cleaned and reinstalled. Anything that is worn or damaged will be replaced with a new or refurbished part. Then, our transmission rebuild specialists will put the entire transmission back together. It is thoroughly tested and reinstalled, then the vehicle is road tested to ensure that the transmission is running like new again. Last but certainly not least, we back all of our transmission rebuilds with the Ralph’s Transmission 3 Year, 100,000 Mile Warranty to give you the peace of mind you deserve. If there are ever any problems with the rebuilt transmission, just bring it back to us and we’ll take care of any warrantied repairs.
Not all automotive shops or transmission specialists will do the rebuild work in-house. No matter who you decide to take your vehicle to, you’ll want to ask the right questions and understand their entire repair/rebuild process.
Most of the time, a transmission rebuild is the best solution. It will save you some money compared to completely replacing the transmission, and you’ll feel good knowing that the transmission is rebuilt to run as if it were brand new.
Unfortunately, sometimes the damage is too significant and the transmission has failed beyond repair. Some transmissions just aren’t salvageable. When this happens, you will be faced with replacing your transmission. You have a few options here, as well. The safest bet is to purchase a brand new transmission from the original manufacturer and then have it installed at the dealership or by a transmission specialist who knows what they are doing. Of course, this is also by far the most expensive option.
You can look into buying a used transmission, which will definitely save you some money and may even be cheaper than a rebuild. However, unless you completely trust the seller to have performed a proper inspection and repairs of the transmission, you will never know exactly what you are getting. The transmission could have existing problems, or it could have minor issues. This is scary because it may run fine now, but it is a ticking time bomb waiting to cause you a whole lot of trouble.
Lastly, you can look at buying a refurbished transmission. This will definitely be less expensive than a new transmission, but likely more expensive than an non-refurbished used transmission. Again, you will want to trust the source and have assurances that the transmission was properly rebuilt. Look for refurbished transmissions with good warranty plans.
Rebuild or Replace?
So, which is the best option between replacing your transmission or having it rebuilt? It’s not a matter of which is better in general, as the answer will vary on a case-by-case basis. It may come down to your budget and what your mechanic recommends. At Ralph’s Transmission, we are able to rebuild most damaged transmissions that come through our shop and we feel that is the best option when available. Sometimes, it’s just not an option and that’s when you have to decide between a new, used or refurbished transmission to replace yours that’s damaged beyond repair.
If you have any questions about transmission rebuilds or replacements at Ralph’s Transmission, contact us today at 209.526.1909. If you would like to schedule a free transmission inspection, you can book your appointment online.