Updated at: 13-08-2022 - By: Lucas

One of the most critical issues you can encounter is transmission trouble. When it comes to transmission issues, you’ll need a trained mechanic to get the job done right the first time around.

If this were a typical tutorial, I’d offer you step-by-step instructions and a shopping list of the tools you’ll need to address the root of the problem. Then I’ll tell you roughly how much a mechanic would charge for the repair after going over the list of possible causes with you.

There are a number of potential explanations for an automatic transmission not moving out of first gear, including worn clutches, worn valve bodies or sensors, aged transmission fluid and jammed solenoids.

1. Transmission Fluid Level and Condition

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Transmissions, like engines, have their own lubricating oil to keep their numerous moving parts from grinding to a halt. If you’re driving a car with an automatic transmission, you don’t have to change the transmission fluid as frequently as you do the engine oil.

No external contaminants can get into transmission fluid because it’s a sealed device. This contaminates the transmission fluid over time since transmission gears and other components still wear out at the microscopic level even when they’re well-lubricated.

Keep an eye on the transmission fluid levels as well. Like the engine oil dipstick, most vehicles have an auxiliary dipstick behind the engine that may be used to check coolant levels. Replacing it is as simple as taking it out, wiping it down, and putting it back in.

How Much Does The Transmission Fluid Service Cost?

A professional should perform routine transmission fluid changes because the margin for error is much smaller. As a sealed unit, the gearbox should be inspected for leaks and the source of the low fluid levels.

For a transmission fluid change, the authorized dealership will charge the highest, up to $200 in labor costs. If you go with an independent mechanic, he or she will charge $50 to $100. A new transmission gasket, filter, and 8 to 13 gallons of transmission fluid are all required, and the expense isn’t negligible.

The ACDelco filter and gasket for a GM transmission, as well as 6 quarts of Valvoline fluid, are listed in the table below. The parts will cost at least $100 if you take into account the usual amount of fluid required.

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2. Transmission Shift Solenoid

Depending on the engine’s load and speed, the gearbox shift solenoid calculates the optimal moment to shift gears.

The solenoid failure will result in sluggish and delayed shifting, as well as difficulty shifting out of first or neutral gear. To avoid further transmission damage, it is imperative that the issue be resolved quickly.

How Much Does Solenoid Replacement Cost?

A solenoid can cost as little as $20 per, however for other automobiles, a solenoid can cost up to $100 per unit. Depending on the shop, labor costs roughly $300, while the average cost with parts is $450.

3. Torque Converter

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To spare your time, I won’t get into the nitty gritty of the torque converter. Several symptoms will appear if it fails to do its job of transferring electricity throughout the system. shifting problems, overheating, and slippage between gears are a few of the more common symptoms.

A new torque converter can easily cost more than $1,000, especially because labor costs have also increased. There isn’t much you can do on your own except weigh the pros and disadvantages of making the repair.

4. Transmission Rebuild

A less-experienced mechanic will have to redo the diagnosis if you can’t figure out what’s wrong with the transmission. Your transmission will need to be rebuilt unless it’s one of the more inexpensive fixes suggested above.

I can’t offer you an exact quote because I don’t know your vehicle’s particular make and model, but gearbox rebuilds often cost between $1,500 and $5,000. With a median of almost $3,000,

Consider purchasing a new or refurbished transmission if you find yourself with an unexpected repair bill of several thousand dollars. Refurbished transmissions that come with mileage warranties may be more cost-effective than rebuilding a transmission from scratch, depending on the model.

Making a substantial investment in an older car with poor value and excessive miles is probably not worth your time. Evaluate your car’s current market value to see if selling it and utilizing the proceeds from the transmission rebuild to purchase a new one is a good idea or not.

Transmission Problems – Mechanic or DIY?

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Dozens of how-to guides are available on VehicleFreak for simple to moderate jobs. You’ll save money by doing it yourself instead of paying a mechanic even if you have to acquire all the necessary equipment.

DIY mechanics, on the other hand, may not be able to handle all of the duties that professional mechanics can handle. Transmissions, in my opinion, are the most intricate component of any automobile, and changing transmission fluid or attempting to rebuild one should be avoided at all costs.

Others will give you an estimate and explain the advantages of doing it yourself, but make sure they show you exactly how to do it. An expert technician can only perform an effective transmission overhaul since it resembles brain surgery.

Transmission repairs and rebuilds, on the other hand, represent a significant opportunity for cost savings. Consider hauling your vehicle a little further if required, and look for shops with good customer reviews and the lowest pricing.


What are the signs of a bad shift solenoid?

Slow and harsh shifting, shifting when it’s not necessary, and gear failure are all classic symptoms of shift solenoid failure.

What are the signs that your transmission is going out?

The following are the most prevalent signs of a failed transmission out of more than a dozen possible causes:

  • Humming noises.
  • Burning smell.
  • Leaking transmission fluid.
  • Slow and mistimed shifts.
  • Failure to shift gears.
  • Rough shifting and metallic noise.

What are the symptoms of a bad transmission modulator?

In determining when to shift gears, the transmission modulator valve is involved. Whistling noises, jerky shifting, and white exhaust smoke are all symptoms of a malfunction.


You have no choice but to have your transmission serviced if it is stuck in first gear. Consider your options and weigh the expense of repairs against the worth of your vehicle. Selling your car or getting a new or refurbished one to save money on transmission repairs.