2008 Ford Focus Transmission Repair Cost

Recently (a couple days ago), my 2008 Ford Focus started experiencing a problem where when I shift the car into reverse it acts the same way as if it were in neutral. That is to say that it will roll freely and the engine will only rev but the car won’t move when the accelerator is pressed down. However, all other gears act exactly as intended.

I took it into a shop to get it diagnosed and the shop said that they would need to completely replace the transmission for one with 77k miles on it (that’s also about how much my car has on it) and that with the cost of the parts and labor that it’d cost about $3,400.

My question is does this sound like this could be the issue? Would the entire transmission need to be replaced for this? Also, does this price sound right?

What kind of shop?
Was it an independent transmission specialist shop, or a “general” mechanic’s shop?

If you want an expert opinion on your transmission problem–and the necessary repair–you need to go to a trans specialist. Just be sure that you don’t go to any of the chain-run trans shops, such as Lee Myles, Cottman, Mr. Transmission, or AAMCO.


It was a general shop.

Take the car to a transmission shop that only deals with transmissions.

A general service shop likely either doesn’t want to deal with a transmission repair, and/or they’re just going to send the car/transmission to a local specialist. It could also be a simple problem (solenoid, linkage, etc.) and much cheaper; a transmission shop would be able to tell.

If memory serves, don’t some Ford Focuses of this vintage have a history of transmission problems? Not that that helps here… but if so, there may be a TSB or even recall available.

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Well, they claimed they checked it for codes and that there were none that popped up. I also looked up if there were any recalls on transmission for this year and model, but there weren’t. How can I identify if a shop only deals in transmissions? I tried looking up transmission shops, but nearly all of the results also mentioned them working on other things as well.

Transmission shops can do “deeper” diagnoses than just hooking up a code reader.

My experience has been transmission shops have “Transmission” in their shop name. They may do other stuff like oil changes, etc., but their primary expertise is in transmissions.

Also ask friends or relatives for recommendations.


$3,400 seems excessive for a used transmission. As has been suggested, get a second opinion.


It’s the later (2012+) transmissions that have lots of problems.

Thankfully @screamindivr14567_179396 has an 08, not the later generation. @screamindivr14567_179396 when did you last change your transmission fluid?


I agree with @pyrolord314 in that the fluid should be changed if it hasn’t been done in this 3 years. That’s relatively cheap and could solve the problem. If not, you aren’t out much.

If you need to find an independent transmission shop, ask anyone you know if they know of a good one. You might get lucky with some recommendations. Barring that, look for shops that have been in business for several years and have good on line recommendations. If you have a good relationship with that shop you took your car to, tell them what you want to do and see if they will give you a recommendation.

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It nearly always in BIG letters on their signs and in their online adds. Google or ask Siri for “transmission shops near me”

I talked to someone I trust and we’re quite positive at this point that the guy I originally mentioned was trying to rip me off badly. The guy only told me that replacing the transmission would “be about $3400” and never gave me a write-up of how that all breaks down which is suspicious enough as is. On top of that, the guy I talked to said he’d found a transmission with almost 40k less miles on it than the one the original guy mentioned and even said the one he found would only cost ~$900 and that it’d only take around 9 hours of work to replace. That totals to ~$1800. That’s about a $1600 dollar difference, which is disgusting.

Lesson learned - always get at least 2 estimates from trusted sources.

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But, until you get a diagnosis from a trusted transmission specialist, you don’t even know whether the trans has to be replaced/overhauled, or if just a cheaper repair is needed.

Simply replacing the transmission on the basis of what one (possibly sketchy) mechanic said is the ultimate in “throwing parts” at the problem.

I hear you, which is why he’s going to look at it before going through the entire process of replacing it.

Is he a transmission specialist, or is he a general mechanic?

The original “mechanic” may have been trying to rip you off… or he may have legitimately not wanted the job an tried to scare you off with a high estimate.

Either way, it sounds like you’re on the right path.

Personally, I wouldn’t want a used transmission installed

Either get your transmission properly diagnosed and repaired

Or have a remanufactured transmission installed, if the diagnosis confirms that is in fact what is needed