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Question DetailsAsked on 4/30/2013

what Is a remanufactured and rebuilt automatic transmission service?Enter your question...

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4 Answers


If you have a transmission problem, you have 4 choices for repair, depending on the severity of the problem,how much you are prepared to spend, and how much peace of mind you are looking for:

1) have it directly repaired, either at your dealer (though they commonly will only install new ones as only the largest shops have a transmission specialist) or at a transmission repair shop,

2) have it rebuilt by a specialty transmission rebuilder,

3) buy a remanufactured unit (you trade in for one that is NOT originally yours, that has had most of the high-wear items like bearings, bushings, plates, bands, seals and any significantly worn gears replaced) and have it installed,

4) have a brand new one installed.

Generally runs from about 50% as much for option 1) to 100% of dealer quote for option 4), and of course as you move up through the options your warranty will vary from maybe 1-3 months for 1) and 2), to maybe a year or two or 10,000-25,000 miles (whichever comes first) on option 3), to a full new transmission warranty on 4) - maybe 3-5 years or 25-50,000 miles.

The option 1) and 2) warranties will be essentially a promise by the repair shop itself to fix it if it fails within the warranty time, and is only as good as their reputation. 3) will be warrantied by the rebuilder (who may or may not be the original manufacturer, like Allison or Dana or New Process - usually a rebuilder in Central America or Asia) and will be honored sporadically at transmission shops around the country. 4), assuming you have the replacement done at the car maker's dealer, will be a warranty from the car manufacturer and should be honored by any dealer for that car model in the US.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD


Remanufactured means "like new" and the only old part is the transmission case. A remanufacturer takes a good case (with no holes), removes every part and installs all new parts by an ASE Master Mechanic. Remanufactured transmissions and engines usually come with a 3 yr, 100000 mile warranty, same as new, because they are new. Cost a little more, but you won't have to worry about it again in a few months. If you are going to keep your car this is the way to go and the warranty is usually transferrable to the new owner if you sell before the warranty is up.

Rebuilt means the builder removes the damaged parts and replaces those, not all parts. Rebuilt usually have warranty between 90 and 60 days, and it's a limited warranty. Cost is just a little less than remanufactured.

New transmission means it was built at the factory, built on the Chevy, Ford factory line - there are very few new transmissions out there for cars 10 years old or older. Warranty is usually 3 years, 100000 miles and the cost is usually at least 50% more than remanufactured.

A transmission service means to change the fluid and filter.

Independent Repair shops usually go with remanufactured transmissions due to cost and nationwide warranties, although it is the customers choice depending on their financial situation. Dealerships usually go with remanufactured if the transmission is no longer made at the factory, if it is still made - that's what they will sell you, no choice. The customer can purchase a remanufactured transmission and have it delivered to their independent repair shop for installation. Not all shops will do this because they can't warranty the part because they didn't purchase it. It pays to shop around.

Hope this helps

Answered 7 years ago by meadauto


While I generally agree with what he says, I would take one issue with the Meadauto answer. Ideally a "remanufactured" item would use all new parts except the case, but in practice this is not always the case. Also, many shops use the term rebuilt and remanufactured intechangeably.

During the remanufacturing process, the unit is totally disassembled, all parts cleaned and inspected, then put in parts bins for reuse later. Parts are checked for obvious flaws, broken gear teeth, etc - but those that are within specified dimensions and do not show severe wear may be cleaned up or reground to come within spec, and shafts with gouging or bearing slippage wear may be built up by welding and remachining. The company may also buy transmissions from junkyards and recycled parts dealers to make up stock for the more commonly damaged or worn parts.

In short, the parts ostensibly (depending on how much you trust third-world or low-budget remanufacturing shops) are serviceable and to specified dimension, but many may NOT be new, and how well the operation adheres to original specifications depends on the diligence and attention to quality of that particular company. One would presume that a transmission that was remanufactured by the original manufacturer would use more new parts and pay closer attention to specified clearances and dimensions.

Also - do NOT assume it has been checked and assembled by an ASE certified mechanic - in fact, I would guess that would be more likely for a rebuilt unit, because remanufacturing is normally done in a factory setting with assembly line workers, not mechanics. I once had occasion to make ann inspection visit to one of the world's largest engine rebuilders (in the midwest) to inspect a large engine that was being rebuilt. In an engine rebuild/remanufacturing plant of over 500 workers, only one was a certified mechanic - the rest were machinists, tool and die men, machine operators, assembly line workers, technicians, etc. This is just like the original assembly line - the assembly workers are normally not mechanics, just machining and assembly workers.

Naturally, the longer the transmission model has been out of production, or the less common it is in the US, the more likely that the remanufacturing process will reuse old parts rather than new as new parts may not be available.

Because a good portion (a third to a half) of the total job cost will be for the labor and sho charges to remove, install, and test/adjust; unless you are very budget constrained or do not intend to keep the car indefinitely I would emphatically recommend the new transmission. It may cost 25-50% more, but will give you a lot more peace of mind and even though the other choices may have warranties, they are likely to be a lot more hassle to get coverage from, may not cover full repair cost if the transmission fails in the warranty period, may be prorated, and may not be accepted at the nearest repair shop you end up if it fails. Having a warranty that requires you to tow the car a couple hundred miles to the nearest shop that accepts the warranty is no fun, and a lot of $ and lost time.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD


Our shop, which is ASE Blue Seal of Excellence recognized, uses remanufactured engines and transmissons from very reputable remanufacturers such as Marshall Engines or Jasper Engines. These companies are top of the line remanufacturers, they use all new parts and each engine is assigned to an ASE Master tech, no second hand anything, they are not rebuilders. They do save their old parts, but resell them to rebuilders, they do not use them for remanufacturing. The cores they obtain are high quality and build from there; if cores are not good quality, they resell them to rebuilders. One remanufacturer has actually identified a design flaw in an older Chevy 6 cylinder engine and fixed the flaw, so their expertise is untouchable. At these companies - they assign 1 ASE Master to each engine throughout the process - so no one but the Master tech touches his engine or transmission, therefore the error rate is very low, thus they can offer great warranties. As a customer of these companies, we have had great success with very little warranty return, if any. On the other hand, having anything rebuilt has ended up back in our lap with unhappy customers within a few months, having to start all over again. The cost of rebuild is almost the same as reman, so as a repair facility, it's foolish to sell a rebuild to our customer, unless they are selling the car.

Remanufacture and rebuild are not interchangeable terms if you are aware of each process. Not all remanufacturers are created equal - so look for the ISO certifications.

As was said previously, we have customers who want their transmission rebuilt because they are not going to keep the car and will be selling it within a few months; those customers get a rebuilt trans or their transmission is rebuilt - meaning the tranny specialist fixes a few of the problems, to get 6 months out of it, enough time to trade it in or sell it. On the other hand, customers who are planning to keep their car for several years want the like new transmission with the warranty of 3 years or 100000 miles and don't want a headache in a few months because a different tranny part failed. By the way if our customer owns a Chevy and their tranny goes out, our remanufacturer takes a Chevy tranny exactly like theirs - they do not modify a tranny and make it work.

Dealerships buy transmissions and engines from these remanufacturers for most older vehicles. The Chevy, Ford dealership cannot buy a "new" transmission or engine for a '98 vehicle from the "factory", because the factory doesn't make it anymore, the same for most vehicle parts. Aftermarket parts are the only parts available for some older vehicles because the factory no longer makes them. When I get a quote from Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Honda for a tranny or engine, 90% of the time it is a remanufactured part and they are purchasing from a remanufacturer. Reputable dealerships do not purchase engines or transmissions from "rebuilders".

Our philosophy is knowledge is power and we like to do it right the first time. We give our customers as much education as possible and let them make the decision. However, there is alot of misinformation out there that affects our industry, so we try to set the record straight as much as possible. Hope this helps the actual customer who asked the question in the first place because they need the most accurate data to make an informed decision.

Answered 7 years ago by meadauto

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