May 29, 2019

Complete Semi Truck Transmission Repair Guide

Complete Semi Truck Transmission Repair Guide

You expect a lot from your truck, but it’s way too much to expect it to last forever. Even if you’re religious about performing inspections and maintenance, you’ll be faced with repair issues at some point. Transmission problems are among the costliest for truckers. Not only will a damaged or shot transmission cost money to fix or replace, but it will cost you downtime, as well. Plus, not knowing what to expect when your tranny starts acting up can add to the trouble. At the very least, you need to know the details of semi truck transmission repair cost, the issues that affect it, and what your options are.

How to Know When You’re Having Transmission Problems

Before you start worrying about the semi truck transmission repair cost, first things first. If your truck is acting up, how do you know it’s the transmission? There are a handful of red flags that indicate transmission problems, but the top 3 are:

  • trouble shifting—slipping gears while driving, between shift revving, or transmission pops into neutral on its own
  • strange noises—clunking, grinding, thumping, humming, and other unusual sounds, especially when the truck isn’t in gear
  • transmission fluid leaks—plus, excessively dirty transmission fluid can cause problems, too

Other telltale signs of tranny trouble include a sluggish clutch—one that stays engaged even after you let up on it—and grinding gears during shifting.

Repairable Transmission Issues

If you notice anything unusual with your transmission, you could save money on the semi truck transmission repair cost by taking care of the issue right away. Some problems are fairly easy to fix and could extend the life of the transmission if they’re not allowed to get worse. For example, in the case of leaking or dirty fluid, replacing seals and/or topping off the fluid might cost hundreds of dollars, maybe as much as $1,000. However, that’s just a fraction of the cost of replacing a transmission.

There are other small transmission issues that can be repaired, too. First, the problem could be a worn or broken transmission mount. That can cost as much as $225 for the part alone and you’ll pay for labor on top of that. Solenoids are another repairable transmission issue. They can cost over $400. Even adding in an hour or more of labor, though, that’s still less expensive than a replacement job.

Average Semi Truck Transmission Repair Cost

When the question is, “What does the average semi truck transmission repair cost?” there’s not one simple answer. Many factors affect what each job costs. Things like the make of the truck, how old it is, and the extent of the damage play a part. Even the shop you take it to and what part of the country you’re located in will affect how much you’ll spend to repair your semi’s transmission.

Unless your truck is over 10 years old or has more than 100,000 miles on it, it’s worth your while to dig out the warranty if the transmission starts acting up. If the warranty is still valid, the repair could end up costing you little to nothing. For example, you won’t pay for problems due to manufacturer defect or shoddy workmanship.

Transmission Replacement Cost

Although different things affect semi truck transmission repair cost, in general, the transmissions typically cost at least $1,500 just for the part alone. What’s more, they can run over $4,000, depending on the issues listed above.

Then, there are labor costs. It can take 3 to 6 or more hours to remove, repair, and reinstall a transmission. Rates vary from shop to shop, but you could be looking at paying around $95 per hour or more for the tech to do all of that. When trying to budget for a transmission repair, plan for the high-end prices. It’s better than getting caught off guard.

Rebuilt Transmission Vs. Remanufactured

When you take your truck into the shop with transmission problems, the tech will check the fluid first. If dirty or inadequate transmission fluid isn’t the issue, then he’ll thoroughly inspect your semi. This step might include a manual inspection and even driving it, but the tech will probably also hook it up to a diagnostic tool to see what codes it’s throwing. If the problem is extensive, you’ll probably need to replace the transmission. You can save money on that semi truck transmission repair cost by having your existing transmission rebuilt or opting for a remanufactured tranny instead of a new one. As you might imagine, there are pros and cons to both options.

Why Chose to Rebuild?

Rebuilding your existing transmission is cheaper than buying new or even going with a remanufactured one. With this option, only the broken or worn parts get replaced, saving money and time. Plus, rebuilds typically don’t have compatibility problems, as they still have their core parts and replacement parts used are OEM. You’ll want to look for a shop or mechanic with a good reputation in transmission rebuilding and repair to increase the chances you end up with a durable rebuilt unit. Be sure to ask about a warranty on the parts and labor, too. The only testing that’s typically done on rebuilt transmissions tends to be during use, so there’s always a chance more work is needed.

Why Replace Your Transmission with Remanufactured?

Remanufactured transmissions tend to cost more than rebuilding. However, if there are several things wrong with your transmission and the plan is to have your truck for a long time, it’s worth the extra money. Plus, purchasing and installing a reman won’t take as long as a rebuild will. Remanufacturing happens in a quality-controlled factory with state-of-the-art equipment and tools. Certified techs who specialize in specific brands are the ones who do the work. Remanufactured transmissions are put through numerous inspections as well as tested with a machine built specifically for the task. What’s more, remanufactured transmissions typically carry a 3-year warranty that covers parts and labor at just about any repair shop in the U.S.

Tracking Your Transmission’s Health

Keeping on top of PMs can also keep you ahead of costly transmission repairs. Not only are PMs a chance to top off or replace the fluid as needed, but it’s usually during preventive maintenance when you discover potential problems. Software like Fullbay helps you track your truck’s overall health, keeping a record of past problems and repairs as well as parts used, maintenance history, and when the next PM is due. And that’s only a fraction of everything Fullbay does. Whether you have just one truck or a whole fleet, Fullbay helps minimize semi truck transmission repair cost. Fill in the form below to give Fullbay software a try.