Are you planning on replacing your transmission and you are asking yourself how long does it take to replace a transmission? If that is the case and you are in this situation, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic where we will learn everything when it comes to this replacement.
Replacing an important component of your car like the transmission is a really complex job. This job has to be done professionally if you want to get the right result from all this work. One wrong step and you will end up with a transmission that will not work right or will not work at all.
That’s why knowing all the steps necessary for replacement are key for you as a car owner. Since there are a lot of shops that don’t do their job right when it comes to this stuff and they might leave you with an expensive bill because it took them to double the time needed to perform this work. That’s why knowing how long does it take to replace a transmission is essential for you to know if you don’t want to get ripped off. That’s why we are going to help you out.
First, we will cover what is a transmission and how it works. Then we will discuss transmission fluid and the symptoms of a bad transmission. Later on, we will discuss the diagnosing process and we will answer the question of how long does it take to replace a transmission and at what cost. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
What Is A Car Transmission?
Now before we dive into how long does it take to replace a transmission, let’s first discuss some of the basics and that is what is a car transmission in general terms? What makes it so special? If you feel like you are well prepared, you can jump to one of the following chapters, if not, keep up with us for a bit because it will be a fun read.
Without this conversion taking place, cars out there would be completely unusable. Since the crankshaft usually spins at 800 RPM at idle. And trying to transfer all this rotational force to the wheels without a transmission will result in the destruction of the driveshaft. Not to mention that the car will be close to unusable.
That’s why some smart engineers decided to invent something called a transmission in order to use the energy created from the engine in a smart manner so none of it is lost.
In fact, in Europe and most parts of the world except the US and Canada, a manual transmission is a transmission of choice. Mainly because it’s cheap and durable. But in the US and Canada automatics prevail since people here want to enjoy more of the comfort that these cars have to offer. But how long does it take to replace a transmission? We will get to that in a bit.
Where The Transmission Is Located (And Does This Effect How Long Does It Take To Replace A Transmission?)
Now before we cover how long does it take to replace a transmission, let’s learn more about the location of the transmission. We will focus primarily on automatics but manual transmissions also share the same location.
Nevertheless, the automatic transmission is mounted differently for front-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive cars.
In FWD cars, the transmission is mounted on the right side of the engine bay. It is usually hidden by some other components. But if you look deeper, you will see it down on the right side when you open up the hood.
In RWD cars the transmission is usually mounted below the firewall. Under something that is called a transmission tunnel. And removing RWD transmissions can be a bit trickier since they are underneath the vehicle and the car needs to be put on a lift so the technician is able to reach the transmission bolts and remove the component from the vehicle.
It is worth noting that RWD transmissions on the front side are connected to the engine itself, while on the rear are connected to the driveshaft. And as the driveshaft spins it delivers power to the differential and the wheels rotate.
FWD transmissions on the other hand are using something known as the transaxle. This transaxle is a compact unit that does everything. It is a transmission, driveshaft, and a differential at the same time. Pretty neat device.
But how long does it take to replace a transmission? We will get to that in a bit after we cover some important topics and learn more about automatic transmission and how it is working in practice.
How Automatic Transmission Works (And Does It Matter In How Long Does It Take To Replace A Transmission?)
After we learned the location of the transmission and the layout in both FWD and RWD cars. Let’s take a look at how the automatic transmission works in a car. Later on, we will cover how long does it take to replace a transmission. So, how a transmission works in your car?
The automatic transmission as its name implies is doing all the necessary work automatically. Meaning that everything is done by the transmission and you don’t have to do anything to go through the gears like in manual cars where you have to press the clutch to engage and disengage.
In automatic transmission cars, you have a simple PRND layout on the gear lever. As you probably know, these letters indicate Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive. It’s dead easy to use. Even a child can drive an automatic transmission car. But what makes the magic happen? How the transmission goes through the gears?
Well, the magic is done mainly by creating a hydraulic pressure inside of the transmission. Whenever you press on the gas pedal there is a transmission fluid that travels through the valve body and this hydraulic pressure of the fluid helps change the gears.
That’s why automatic cars are really sensitive when it comes to the transmission fluid and require regular transmission fluid changes. But more on that in the following chapters on that where we will discuss on the fluid.
Nevertheless, this automatic work makes them really more prone to problems. Especially if they were not maintained properly. And in some cases, they might even require the replacement of the transmission. Then you will start to ask yourself how long does it take to replace a transmission? But more on that later in this article.
Transmissions Fluid (And Does It Impact How Long It Takes To Replace A Transmission?)
Now before we cover the symptoms of a bad transmission and how long does it take to replace a transmission, let’s learn something more about transmission fluid. What is this fluid in general and what does it mean for you?
And the short answer is that it means a lot. As we covered previously, automatic transmissions are really sensitive and require a lot of precision. That’s why they can only work with the help of transmission fluid.
This fluid is also known as ATF and is red in color. It is similar to your regular hydraulic fluid but it has some additives that make it work really well with transmissions. That’s why whenever you are out there for transmission fluid, you better get the right one unless you want to risk some increased wear and tear in your transmission.
Not to mention that changing your transmission fluid at regular intervals and sometimes even before the interval hits is the key to keeping the transmission health in check.
If you don’t do this, you will face problems concerning your transmission and these problems will eventually be overwhelming to fix. So, you will try to learn how long does it take to replace a transmission. But more on that later in this article.
Now before we cover the diagnosing and replacing process, let’s learn more about the symptoms of a bad transmission and what are the clear signs that you need to learn to determine that you need a transmission swap (you can learn more in our look at the Infiniti Q60 manual transmission). So, if you want to learn more about this, keep up with us.
Symptoms Of A Bad Transmission That Needs Replacing
Now as we covered the basics of automatic transmissions in general. Let’s focus on the symptoms that you need to know. What symptoms does a failing transmission develop? Knowing the symptoms of a failed transmission will help you understand how long does it take to replace a transmission.
In the following few chapters, we are going to cover precisely where we will learn the symptoms, and then we will learn how long does it take to replace a transmission. So, follow along.
1. Check Engine Light
Before we dive into how long does it take to replace a transmission? Let’s first cover the first symptom of a bad transmission. What you should expect when it comes to the transmission that has reached the engine of its lifespan?
Cars nowadays are all computerized and have a ton of tech inside them. The only thing you will need is to diagnose the issue. And for this, you will need an OBD2 scanner tool to go through the errors and learn about the possibilities that are there for you. When it comes to sorting the problem. And also the need to learn how long does it take to replace a transmission if this is necessary. But more on that in a bit. Let’s cover the other symptoms first.
2. Slipping Gears Or Lack Of Response
Another symptom that we going to discuss before we dive into how long does it take to replace a transmission is the symptom of slipping gears.
Whenever a transmission is going bad, it will start to slip gears and there will be a lack of response from it. The worse the problem the more the slipping gears will be present. And eventually, the car will become unusable and you will have to replace it and look for how long does it take to replace a transmission and the best place where you can perform this swap. But more on that a bit later in this article. Let’s cover the next symptom of a failing transmission.
3. Grinding And Metallic Sounds
The third symptom that we will cover before we discuss how long does it take to replace a transmission is the grinding sound.
Whenever there is metal grinding inside of the transmission, it means that something will go down pretty soon.
The metal grinding means that there is damage to the internal components and there are possibly big chunks of metal that are destroying the transmission gears.
Either way, the transmission has to be opened and checked if everything is well inside. If the transmission is broken, it will have to be replaced with a new unit and in this case, you have to learn how long does it take to replace a transmission. But more on that in a bit.
4. Humming Sounds
Another really important symptom that you should know when it comes to a failing transmission is the humming sound when the transmission is idling.
This indicates that there is a bearing that went bad inside of the transmission. Whenever there is a humming sound means that the transmission has to be opened and checked for damage. If the damage is too large then you need to replace it and learn how long does it take to replace a transmission. But more on that later on in the article, now let’s learn the other symptoms of a bad transmission.
5. Burning Smell/Overheating
Another symptom that we are going to cover before we learn how long does it take to replace a transmission is the burning smell, which also often happens with overheating of the transmission (as is the case if you notice an “AT oil temp” light in your Subaru).
When the transmission is leaking fluid will start to run low on transmission fluid. This fluid will then burn and creates a smell inside of the cabin known as a burning smell.
This smell can often lead to transmission overheating if the transmission runs low on fluid for a very long time. That’s why you should always check the fluid and top it off if you notice a burning smell. You don’t want your transmission to overheat.
6. Car Doesn’t Go Into Gear
Another symptom that we are going to cover before we learn how long does it take to replace a transmission is the situation when the car doesn’t want to go into gear.
If an automatic transmission is broken, then it might refuse to go into gear. Let’s say that it refuses to go into drive. But wants to go into reverse or neutral. Then this is highly likely a situation when you are having a problem with the transmission. More precisely with the first gear. This is a clear example that this problem needs to be checked and you need to address the issue.
If the transmission is deemed to be replaced, then you will need to learn how long does it take to replace a transmission. But more on that, we are going to cover later in the article. Now let’s discuss the last symptom of a bad transmission.
7. Car Stuck In One Gear
And the last symptom of a bad transmission that we are going to cover before we learn how long does it take to replace a transmission is a situation when the car is stuck in a certain gear.
Let’s say that you only have 1st and 2nd gear only. This is a clear indication that you either have a problem with the solenoid of the transmission. Or possibly the valve body. Or there is an issue with the computer that doesn’t let the transmission shift into higher gears. Either way, not a good situation.
When this happens it can indicate that there is something seriously wrong with the transmission and it needs to be checked. If there is something really wrong inside of the transmission, then this needs to be sorted out or the transmission replaced. If you need to replace it, you need to learn how long does it take to replace a transmission.
But before that, let’s learn something about diagnosing the problem. How you can determine that the transmission needs replacing? Let’s see up next.
How And How Long It Takes To Diagnose A Bad Transmission?
Now before we learn how long does it take to replace a transmission, let’s learn more about the diagnosing of the issue. How you can tell that your transmission is broken? Well, this requires a lot of expertise frankly.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that the transmission itself is faulty. And for this, you need to get your hands around some diagnostic tools. You need to scan the car for codes and see what you get as a return from the ECM.
If there are codes concerning the transmission, then you should investigate them online and see what they mean. Also, look specifically for your transmission. Because the problem could just be a valve body or a solenoid. Something that could be easily replaced and sorted out.
It is also advised to flush the fluid and see how the car behaves with the new fluid and filter. In a number of cases the symptoms that we discussed above happen because of dirty transmission fluid.
If the car still produces symptoms and doesn’t work well, you will have to take it to a shop that specializes in transmissions and let them do their job. But how long does it take to replace a transmission? Well, that’s what we are going to cover up next.
How Long Does It Take To Replace A Transmission?
We finally reached the main topic of this article and that is the question of how long does it take to replace a transmission? And the answer to this question really depends.
Depends on many aspects. If you do this work at home, or you do it at a shop. If you do it at home, you will highly likely be able to replace it in 1 day if you have an experienced team with you and a lift or jack stands if it’s an RWD car, if it’s an FWD car, then you will not be needing a lift.
Either way, this is a very demanding job that requires a lot of energy and can be challenging for beginners. That’s why I should not recommend you do it if you are not an experienced mechanic.
You could hurt yourself. That’s why to leave this to someone that has more skill. Like a shop. It will take them longer like a week but the result will be excellent.
Cost To Replace A Transmission
Since we learned how long does it take to replace a transmission, let’s learn how much it will cost you to replace the transmission. And the short answer is that it is not cheap.
For the transmission itself, you can pay up to $3,500 or more if you purchase a new transmission. Or if you decide to purchase a used one you can get one for about $1,500.
The labor also is expensive and will cost you $1,000 on average. Overall, these are the costs involved in this work. Now let’s conclude our article on how long does it take to replace a transmission.
Transmission Repair and Maintenance Facts:
- Your vehicle’s transmission protects your engine and manages the internal gear system to help control power transfer and speed, and is critical for reducing fuel consumption and making your vehicle more efficient.
- The time it takes to fix a transmission can be hard to predict, as there are a lot of variables and different kinds of problems that need different fixes.
- If you’re bringing your transmission in for a fix rather than regular maintenance, it will probably take longer, and it’s a good idea to plan on 3-4 days.
- Signs your transmission may need work include difficulty switching gears, your transmission choosing the wrong gear, and transmission fluid leaking.
- Catching transmission problems early is critical, as even relatively small errors can cause serious problems if they aren’t fixed quickly and well.
- Transmission maintenance is usually planned every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, and getting a transmission flush and fill usually takes about 3-4 hours.
- For middle-ground repairs, it’s a good idea to plan on your vehicle being in the shop for 1-2 days.
- Rebuilding a transmission usually takes 3-4 days in a professional shop, and replacing a transmission usually takes 1-2 days.
- While these are averages, some mechanics may be able to get the job done faster, and some transmissions may take longer than the average.
- It’s important to work with a reliable and trustworthy mechanic and give them the time they need to work on your transmission, which might mean giving them a little extra time.
Conclusion To How Long Does It Take To Replace A Transmission
In this article, we have covered the question of how long does it take to replace a transmission. First, we discussed the basics of transmissions and their purpose. Then we learned what is a transmission fluid and why it is so essential when it comes to the work of the transmission.
We also covered the most frequent symptom of a bad transmission which are the metallic or humming sounds, car stuck in a certain gear, check engine light, and more.
We also learned how you can diagnose a bad transmission and then we learned how long does it take to replace a transmission and at what cost.