What is the Cost of Replacing an Automatic Transmission?

We use affiliate links and may receive a commission on purchases. Read more here.

The transmission is arguably the most complex component in the vehicle’s engine. It is also one of the costly parts to rebuild, repair or replace in a car, so it makes sense to know how much you might have to shell over to restore it.

Before we run down the numbers for you, though, a quick “Transmission 101” is in order.

The Transmission

Transmissions come in various configurations, but the common ones are manual, dual-clutch, semi-automatic, and automatic. Despite their varying forms, they all perform the same task, i.e., transferring power from the engine to the wheels. They have a transmission fluid that helps the transmission go into gear.

The transmission is one of the components you definitely don’t want to stop working because its failure affects the ability to shift gears.  Maintaining the transmission is therefore necessary to keep it at its best.

Without a properly working transmission, your vehicle will struggle to change gears or move.  The easiest way to avoid such an inconvenience is to ensure the transmission is well serviced and the transmission fluid is changed regularly.

Automatic transmissions have populated the automobile industry in the last few years, outshining their manual transmission predecessors. They have several mechanical and electronic parts that have to work together in a synchronised way to achieve smooth gear transition. For an automatic transmission, the transmission fluid facilitates gear selection and shifting by providing the required hydraulic pressure.

Automatic Transmission: Repair or Replacement?

The complexity of an automatic transmission is reflected in the high cost of repair or restoration. If only a few adjustments are required to get your automatic transmission working, repairing is the right option. However, if it needs many repairs or extensive adjustments, your best bet is to get a new transmission for your car.

Note that most internal transmission problems require a lot of work to address and often end up costing a lot. Many transmission repair shops recommend replacing the transmission assembly in such cases. No matter how many repairs you do at this point, the transmission will hardly be as effective as it should be.

Automatic Transmission Service

While there is no sure way of preventing wear in the transmission, you can take some measures to ensure it doesn’t precipitously fail. The first is to service it regularly which ensures it achieves maximum performance and smoother shifting. Secondly, you need to observe the necessary maintenance practices.

You would think that the transmission (being costly) is among the most looked after parts in a car. That’s not the case. On the contrary, it is actually one of the most neglected components when it comes to servicing. Most car owners only check to see if the fluid is fresh. However, there’s more to servicing than oil change and fixing leaking fluid issues.

The activities involved in a transmission service hinge on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Unlike manual transmission, whose servicing mainly involves fluid change, servicing an automatic transmission is a little bit harder. It additionally includes changing the filter located in the transmission pan to avoid premature wear of components within the transmission.  The filter plays the crucial role of removing debris, thus allowing for proper transmission operation.

Failing to change means it will be ineffective in clearing these particles that may, in turn, damage the transmission. Some car manufacturers may recommend different intervals of servicing the automatic transmission, but it’s advisable to service it after every 60,000 miles (97,000 km). However, if you drive aggressively or in harsh conditions, we recommend servicing the transmission after every 30,000 miles (48,000 km).

RELATED: The Best Head Gasket Sealers

Cost of Replacing Automatic Transmission in Australia

This is a frequently asked question by Aussie car owners looking to have their transmission issues sorted once and for all. Unfortunately, there’s no specific price figure for transmission replacement. It all depends on your car make and model, the shop you’re visiting and even the mechanic doing the fix. One sure thing, though, is that the cost of replacing an automatic transmission is higher than that of keeping it properly maintained.

Automatic transmission replacement costs vary in Australia. A complete job will set you back anywhere between $2,500 and $5,000 or even higher for complex units. You might also need to factor in the cost of labor for the mechanic that will install it. Repairs on automatic transmissions, on the other hand, will cost you $200 up to $1,000. For advanced and extensive repairs, expect to pay $1,000 to $3,500 depending on the problem that needs to be addressed.

Note: After a transmission repair or replacement, take your car for a road test to confirm that the transmission is working well.

Spot Problems Early So You Don’t Incur Huge Costs

Your car’s transmission is a high-ticket component, and the last thing you want is to have to repair or replace it. Being aware of the warning signs before it fails is one way to ensure you don’t incur the high cost of replacing it.

Watch out for any of the following signs that could indicate something is amiss with the transmission.     

  • The vehicle struggles to select or switch gears 
  • The check engine light turns on  
  • Clunking or whirring noises that arise when driving
  • The vehicle doesn’t reflect the acceleration when the engine speed increases      
  • The vehicle hesitates to take off, especially after being stationary for a while

If you notice any of the signs of the above, don’t keep driving your vehicle in these conditions. Visit a repair shop and have a mechanic inspect the transmission. Transmission noises are not easy to point out, and sounds like clunking and whirring could imply an issue with a different component or system. Nonetheless, make a point of confirming so you can be sure otherwise you could be looking at a transmission replacement if you overlook the signs.

Photo of author

Sam Grant

Sam's interest in cars stemmed from reading car magazines and dabbling with his dad’s Hilux ute as a teenager. Today he is a content writer for the Automotive, FinTech, and Crypto niches.