Transmission Replacement Terms You Must Know
OCTOBER 17, 2013 By POWERTRAIN PRO
Transmission problems can strike at any time, whether you’re driving an automatic or a stick shift. Wear and tear, early failure of internal components, lack of transmission fluid (due to leaks, usually) and other problems can leave you stranded. When this happens, you’ll need to replace your transmission, but there are a few things you need to know before getting into the process. If you’re not familiar with the various transmission replacement terms, it can be a confusing process.
First, understand that there’s really no such thing as a new transmission, not in the way that most people think of them. A “new” transmission is the same thing as a crate or remanufactured transmission. These have all new internal components, but the case is reused (after being resurfaced and reconditioned to the original OEM specifications).
As mentioned, a remanufactured transmission is as close to “new” as you can really get. Unlike rebuilt transmissions, which we’ll get to in a moment or two, remanufactured transmissions have all new internal components, and are engineered to explicit automaker guidelines. The remanufacturing process is done in a factory setting, with the use of computer guidance and specialized tools.
A rebuilt transmission has had the failed components replaced. In most instances, an inspection of the internal components not replaced is conducted, and anything in immediate danger of failing is replaced or repaired. However, it should be understood that these do not contain all new internal components – only those that have failed or are about to fail are replaced. As such, they’re not quite as reliable as remanufactured transmissions.
The refurbishing process is closer to rebuilding than to remanufacturing. In most instances, a refurbished transmission is the same thing as a rebuilt transmission.
Salvage transmissions are the cheapest replacement option on the market, but they’re also the least beneficial. They’re taken from junked, wrecked or otherwise damaged vehicles. While they are inspected for operation, that inspection is basic, and there are no parts replaced. If you’re trying to get a car in drivable condition so you can sell it or trade it in, this might be the best option, but if you’re looking for something reliable to drive for the long term, it’s better to opt for something a bit more expensive (and more reliable).
Based on the information above, you should be able to determine what type of transmission replacement you need, based on your driving requirements and your budget. Remanufactured transmissions are always the most reliable choice, but they are also the most costly. Rebuilt options are more affordable, but don’t go through the rigorous remanufacturing process. Consider your needs and budget very carefully before making any decision.