How Much Is A Transmission Swap: Cost, Factors, And How To Swap

by Conner Mckay

If you own an automatic car and you’re not comfortable with how it operates, or maybe you want to be in control of the gears, swapping to a manual transmission may be the only option, but you must consider the cost-effectiveness and you might be wondering how much is a transmission swap?

It costs roughly $1,000 and $3,000 to convert an automatic transmission into a manual. This price varies depending on the car type, model, and technician. Luxury cars are built with expensive transmissions and will cost more to swap. 

Our cars aren’t built equal. Some transmissions are near perfect, while some are error-prone. If you own a vehicle with troubling gears, the idea of replacing or swapping will occur to you. Transmission swap isn’t an easy procedure; before making that decision, get to know how much money and effort goes in.

How Much Is A Transmission Swap: What Is An Automatic-To-Manual Transmission Swap

An automatic-to-manual transmission swap involves replacing the car’s automatic transmission with a manual transmission, usually from another make and model of car. The main benefit of this swap is that it converts a vehicle with an automatic transmission into one with five or six forward gears and a clutch pedal.

This allows you to enjoy driving a car with more power than an automatic transmission can handle, especially if it’s turbocharged or supercharged. Several reasons someone might want to perform this swap on their car.

Some people like having more control over their vehicle’s performance, while others enjoy driving stick-shift cars. Additionally, manual transmissions provide better fuel economy (once you learn how to drive stick).

Used Transmission

You may consider a used transmission because they are cheaper and an excellent alternative to buying new. It may cost $200-$600 or more. The price depends on the year, make, and model of the vehicle, the mileage, and the used car’s condition. Despite the benefits of used transmissions, there are risks involved with this type of repair.

There is no guarantee that the used transmission you buy will work. Some people have reported receiving faulty parts or even getting nothing after sending their money to an online seller. You don’t know the vehicle’s condition or why it was junked; buying a used transmission is a risk.

The model of the car is also paramount; a transmission from a 2001 car may not operate effectively in a 2022 model due to the computer systems used in current transmissions.

How Much Is A Transmission Swap

How To Find Used Parts For A Transmission Swap

How Much Is A Transmission Swap: #1. Salvage Yards

You can find used transmissions at salvage yards and parts stores. A good salvage yard will have an inventory of thousands of parts from different makes and models of vehicles, so there’s often something available for your car or truck. However, this isn’t always the best option because it’s hard to know the part’s condition.

Also, they’re not always reliable because they could’ve been damaged while they were being repaired or taken apart by a mechanic. If you don’t know how to inspect the part yourself, it may be worth spending more on a new one from a dealer.

How Much Is A Transmission Swap: #2. Find a Donor Car

To avoid surprises, users would occasionally buy a donor car and strip it down to retrieve the transmission, which can be tedious. The advantages of using a donor car are that they are cheaper, and depending on the condition, you may get other car parts too.

Rebuilt Transmission

A rebuilt transmission has been disassembled and cleaned, then reassembled with new seals and gaskets before being installed in your vehicle. The internal parts are inspected for damage and replaced as needed before being reinstalled. A special machine is used to test-run the transmission to ensure it works properly before installation in your vehicle.

Rebuilding a transmission often has a shorter warranty (30 days to one year). They’re less expensive than new ones and are built with high-quality parts. They typically last as long as an original if properly installed and maintained, so they’re suitable alternatives to replace your old transmission.

Factory-remanufactured transmissions are more expensive, have a more extended warranty (75,000-100,000 miles), and require one to two days to install. Rebuilding a transmission often has a shorter warranty (30,000 – 50,000 miles), takes three to four days (or more), and may cost more depending on the state of the parts used.

New Transmission Cost

Factory-remanufactured transmissions cost between $1300 to $3400 depending on the transmission type, car model, and labor cost. You can buy a new transmission and have it installed by a local mechanic but if you’re grounded in automobile repairs do it yourself.

Rebuilt Transmission Cost

The average cost of a rebuilt transmission is between $1,100 to $2,800. The price of a rebuilt transmission depends on the transmission type, car type, model, and year. You can hire a technician to rebuild one for you or do it yourself.

Transmission Rebuild Cost Factors

How Much Is A Transmission Swap: #1. Vehicle Make & Model

Some cars are more expensive than others because they have a higher level of luxury or comfort built into them and better fuel efficiency ratings than other models within their category (like trucks).

How Much Is A Transmission Swap: #2. Additional Damage

If there is additional damage found during the inspection process, it will increase the cost of your transmission rebuild. For example, if your vehicle has a bad seal or bad bearings, these parts will need to be replaced and the rest of the transmission components.

How Much Is A Transmission Swap: #3. Condition Of The Parts Used

Some technicians get transmission parts from salvage yards and donor cars to cut costs, but they may not be as reliable as new parts. Buying new parts usually guarantees quality, and most manufacturers stand behind their products and will work with you to ensure that you are happy with the result. Overall, compatibility is more important than the price of acquiring transmission parts.

Replacement Cost

Transmission replacement costs can vary, but they cost $1,000-$6,000. This price includes everything from labor to parts needed for installation. However, the type of transmission (rebuilt or factory-remanufactured), year, and model of your car or truck will affect the price.

The reason for this high cost is that there are so many parts involved in changing out a transmission in a car. The process takes several hours and requires specialized tools.

Transmission Repair Cost

The average cost to repair a transmission ranges from $300 to $1,800 or more. Repair costs vary widely depending on your car’s make and model and the damage’s extent. If it involves buying expensive parts, it’ll cost more. Get an estimate before starting any transmission repair job. To find out more, check out our guide on the P0705 code.

A manual transmission usually costs less to repair than an automatic transmission because it is cheaper to replace parts in a manual transmission. Automatic transmissions are generally more expensive to repair because they are more complex. While some parts are relatively easy to replace by yourself (for example, filters or fluid), other components require special skills.

Transmission Service Cost

The average transmission service cost is between $80 to $250, depending on the fluid type and the dealership or mechanic. Car dealerships charge higher than mechanics for transmission service. It’ll be cheaper if you do it yourself because you only buy the transmission fluid.

Transmission service is a vital part of car maintenance that involves cleaning out the old transmission fluid and replacing it with new fluid. Complete service involves checking all parts like the filter, seals, and gaskets.

Servicing your vehicle regularly can help keep its value higher by preventing expensive repairs down the road. Regular maintenance can also help reduce emissions from your car by ensuring that its engine runs properly; plus, it helps improve fuel economy by and ensures that your engine isn’t working harder than necessary

Transmission Fluid Cost

Transmission fluid typically costs between $8-$20 per quart, depending on the type. You may have to confirm from the manufacturer’s manual what kind of fluid your car uses. You cannot use an automatic transmission fluid for manual transmission and vice versa.

To function effectively and to the maximum extent possible, your vehicle transmission requires the proper fluid, as the car manufacturer recommends. Adding ATF to a manual transmission will ultimately cause the transmission to fail.

Transmission fluid keeps the transmission moving smoothly and helps it shift gears without a hitch. If there’s insufficient fluid in your transmission, it can’t perform well and will eventually break down.

Transmission Replacement Labor Cost

Transmission replacement labor costs about $500 to $1,200 depending on the vehicle type and the technician. The labor costs vary based on the type of transmission that needs to be replaced. The labor costs for a complete rebuild are usually much higher than those for a simple replacement.

How Much Is A Transmission Swap

For example, some newer cars have dual-clutch automated manual transmissions (DCTs), which require specialized training to work on properly than traditional automatics do. Some people prefer to DIY because it is cheaper.

Is It Worth Replacing A Transmission

If your car transmission has failed, replacing it with a new one is the best option. You can buy a factory-manufactured transmission or hire a mechanic to build one. Don’t drive with a faulty transmission as it can cause severe accidents. If the damage isn’t serious, you can repair the affected component.

If you notice any signs of trouble with your vehicle’s transmission, you must take it to a professional for repair as soon as possible. The longer you wait to have your transmission repaired, the more likely you will run into more severe problems down the road.

How Much Is A Transmission Swap: What Goes Into A Transmission Swap

You first need to find a donor vehicle with the same or similar drivetrain setup as your car or truck. Look for transmissions with identical gear ratios, whether automatic or manual and find one that will work well with your vehicle. Alternatively, purchase a factory-manufactured transmission that is compatible with your vehicle.

When removing your automatic transmission from its housing, it’s important to remember not to damage any parts during removal. If any bolts or screws are holding down gaskets or other components, remove them carefully, so they don’t get lost during the removal process. Also, make sure you disconnect all electrical connections before the operation.

How Much Is A Transmission Swap: Automatic Vs Manual Transmission

Manual transmissions allow drivers to shift gears manually. While this level of control can be intimidating for some drivers, it also gives them more freedom over their driving experience. Manual transmissions require more skill than automatic transmissions because hand rather than computer controls operate them.

The drivers must shift gears manually instead of relying on electronics to change them automatically. A manual transmission uses a clutch pedal to switch gears and requires that you manually shift gears by moving the gearshift lever into each gear position.

The automatic transmission is the most common type of transmission found in cars today. It’s also the easiest to drive and performs all the shifting. It uses an electronic control unit (ECU) that changes gears automatically based on information from sensors that read road conditions and engine speed.

In an automatic transmission, power is transmitted to the wheels through a torque converter and a series of gears. The torque converter provides an increase in the rotational speed of the engine.

Parts Needed For The Transmission Swap

  • Flywheel
  • Pressure Plate
  • Clutch Disc
  • Pedal Assembly
  • Throw Out Bearing / Slave Cylinder
  • Clutch Fork
  • Clutch Alignment Tool
  • Pilot Bushing
  • Bolts
  • Crossmember
  • Clutch Cable and Quadrant
  • Driveshaft

How Much Is A Transmission Swap: How To Change Transmission

Note: Label all bolts and nuts, so you don’t mix them up.

Part 1: Prepare The Vehicle

  • Park the car on a level surface.
  • Engage the emergency brake.
  • Open the hood.

Part 2: Battery

Disconnect the battery cables and keep them away from the battery post.

Part 3: Transmission

The Outer Part Of The Transmission:

  • Remove the transmission fluid dipstick.
  • Remove the bolt holding the dipstick tube to the transmission.
  • Disconnect the electrical connections on the transmission.
  • Detach all brackets, hoses, and cables holding the transmission and the engine.
  • Remove the bolts on the starter motor.
  • Pull the starter motor from the bell housing and support it with a wire.

Bell Housing:

  • Remove the bolts holding the transmission bell housing to the engine.
  • Use a floor jack to raise the front and rear of the vehicle, and support it with jack stands for convenience.
  • Remove the bolts on the transmission pan and drain the transmission fluid.
  • Replace the bolts and hand tighten them. Reposition the pan.
  • Remove the bolts holding the driveshaft and differential together.
  • Use a flathead screwdriver to detach the driveshaft from the transmission gently.
  • Use a line wrench to remove the oil cooler lines.
  • Remove the inspection plate cover on the bottom of the bell housing.
  • Look inside the bell housing and locate the bolts holding the torque converter to the flywheel and remove them.

  • Remove the transmission mount bolts.
  • Remove the bolts holding the cross member to the frame.
  • Remove the cross member, the exhaust crossover pipe, and another part of the exhaust system that could cause inconvenience.
  • Lower the transmission jack, so the vehicle drops low.
  • Remove the bell housing bolts.
  • Detach the transmission from the engine.
  • Lower the transmission jack and remove the transmission and take it out of the hood.
  • Detach the torque converter from the transmission and drain the fluid into a pan.

Part 4: Reassemble

You’ll need some new transmission fluid (to learn more, check out our guide on how do you add transmission fluid and how often does transmission fluid need to be changed). Refer to your car manufacturer’s manual for the type and quantity required for your vehicle.

  • Pour 1-quart transmission fluid into the torque converter.
  • Place the torque converter into the transmission and wiggle it until it is fully engaged.
  • Replace the transmission brackets.
  • Flush the oil cooler line with compressed air. Finish up the cleaning with a transmission cleaning product.
  • Clean all necessary parts like the crank pilot hole.
  • Raise one side of the transmission with a hydraulic jack and slide the jack stand underneath the transmission pan.
  • Position the jack so that the dowel aligns with the dowel holes.
  • Replace the bell housing bolts.
  • Align the torque converter holes with the flywheel holes.
  • Use a flathead screwdriver as a wedge between the flywheel teeth and bell housing while turning the engine to access the bolt holes.
  • Tighten the torque converter bolts.
  • Connect the wires on the starter motor and tighten the starter bolts.
  • Replace all electrical connections and hoses.
  • Replace the transmission dipstick tube and the filler tube O-ring that came with the new transmission.
  • Replace the cooler lines, exhaust pipe, flywheel, cross member, and driveshaft.
  • Remove the jack stands, so your car lays flat down.
  • Return the battery and connect the cables.
  • Pour in transmission fluid as directed by the manufacturer’s manual.
  • Start the engine and press the brake line.
  • Check for fluid leaks under the vehicle; if there are none, your installation is complete.

Note: This procedure is for automatic transmission and doesn’t apply to manual transmissions. It doesn’t also apply to vehicles with a sealed transmission. 

Transmission Repair and Replacement Facts:

  1. Transmission repair costs typically range from $300 to $1,400, while transmission replacements can cost from $1,800 to $3,400.
  2. The cost of repairing or replacing your transmission depends on the level of damage and the amount you are willing to spend.
  3. If you need minimal repairs, it is best to opt for repairing your transmission, which is cheaper than a full replacement.
  4. Transmission replacement is the most expensive repair option, and the cost varies depending on whether you choose a remanufactured transmission, used/salvage, or rebuilt transmission.
  5. The transmission’s primary function is to distribute power among the tires properly, and it adjusts to new drive positions when you shift gears.
  6. To avoid transmission problems, regular transmission service such as a fluid flush or replacement is recommended.
  7. Commonly identified transmission problems include difficulty shifting gears, rough shifting, automatic gear slipping, delayed engagement into “Drive” mode, fluid leaks, and illuminated warning lights.
  8. The recommended frequency for transmission fluid replacement varies depending on the model and can range from 30,000 to 100,000 miles.
  9. Checking the transmission fluid regularly is essential to catch potential damage early on, and a burnt smell or dirty appearance indicates the need for a replacement.
  10. To check your transmission fluid, warm up your engine, find the dipstick, check the levels and color, and add more fluid if needed using a funnel.

Frequently Asked Questions On How Much Is A Transmission Swap

Here are some popular FAQs:

How Much Does A Transmission Cost

A factory-remanufactured transmission costs between $1300 to $3400 while a rebuilt transmission costs between $1,100 to $2,800. The costs vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Before taking your vehicle for transmission repair, contact a mechanic for the quotation.

What Is Transmission

A transmission is a mechanical device that takes power from a rotating shaft or axle and delivers it to the wheels through gears and gear ratios the driver selects, either automatically or manually. By shifting gears, you keep the RPMs low, which keeps the engine from being overworked and reduces fuel consumption. It is in charge of turning speed and momentum into power, propelling the entire vehicle forward. Its primary goal is to make the engine as efficient as possible by lowering fuel consumption while delivering maximum power. Transmissions are generally classified as either manual or automatic; each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Some car owners prefer automatic transmissions since they require less effort to shift gears. Manual transmissions allow for more control over engine RPM and acceleration rates but need more knowledge on behalf of the driver to operate correctly.

How Much To Rebuild A Transmission

Rebuilding a transmission can cost anywhere from $1,100 to $2,800. The cost of rebuilding a transmission varies depending on the transmission type, car model, and technician. Some companies charge more than others because they use better parts or have more experience.

How Much Is Transmission Fluid

Automobile transmission fluid costs between $8-$20 per quart; you need about 5 to 17 quarts to fill the transmission. The transmission fluid should be changed every 30,000 miles or as indicated in your owner’s manual to ensure that your car or truck runs smoothly and efficiently for many years.

What Does A Transmission Do

A transmission is a mechanical device located between the engine and the drive wheels that translates the power from the engine into motion. It also allows you to change gears while driving, which gives you better control over how your vehicle moves and responds. Automatic transmissions use hydraulic fluids to shift gears. They’re controlled electronically by computers that monitor driving conditions, such as how fast you’re going and how hard you’re pressing on the gas pedal. Manual transmissions use a gear stick to shift gears manually.

How Long Does It Take To Rebuild A Transmission

A transmission rebuild can take three to four days, depending on your job and your technician’s skill level. It is a time-consuming process that requires a lot of attention to detail. If there are complications, it could take longer.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Transmission

Fixing a transmission could cost between $300 to $1,800 depending on the part that needs replacement. Changing an expensive component like the clutch will cost more than repairing a fluid leak. The labor cost depends on the technician, but it falls between $500 to $1,200.

What Is A Transaxle

A transaxle is a transmission that combines the functionality of the transmission and differential into one integrated unit. A transaxle is typically mounted to the rear of the engine and contains the torque converter, which transfers rotational power from the engine to the transmission. The main advantage of this design is that it’s lighter than having separate components. It may improve handling characteristics by reducing weight transfer between axles during acceleration or braking. By transferring power directly from the engine through a single shaft instead of through chains or belts from one side of the vehicle, there’s less opportunity for power loss due to friction between moving parts (known as torque loss). While a transaxle layout can be used on front-wheel drive vehicles, it is most common in rear-wheel-drive models because it allows for better weight distribution by moving the additional weight towards the center of a vehicle’s mass.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Clutch

Depending on the car type and model, a clutch replacement can cost between $500 to $2,500. Luxury cars cost more to repair. However, if you have your tools and are comfortable with basic auto repair procedures, you can save money by doing it yourself.

Conclusion On How Much Is A Transmission Swap

A transmission swap is a daunting task that requires skills. The procedure is often done by a mechanic, and the labor costs are high. How much is a transmission swap? Swapping a transmission varies between $1,000 and $3,000 depending on the transmission type, model of the vehicle, and labor cost.

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