Is this a normal amount of time for a mechanic to hold a car?

In October 2021 I took my car into AAMCO transmission repair shop and paid to have my transmission completely rebuilt. I have called them several times each month for updates regarding my car and they have been telling me that they have waiting on a transmission control module that they ordered and that the delay is due to the current microchip shortage.

I asked them if I could find the correct kind of TCM on my own if they would be willing to install it. They said they would be willing to try but it probably wouldn’t work, and I would need to have someone come out and program it. They couldn’t give me the part number because “we order parts by VIN number not by part number.”

Is this at all normal? And what should I do?

Order the part by the vin. Never darken the doorway of an AAMCO franchise again. No one can give you more targeted advice without knowing more about your car

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Your vehicle is probably setting without a transmission in it . You might call a few independent shops and tell them your problem . Almost anything you can think of is in short supply now . As for getting the part yourself might not work and if it does you will not have a warranty.

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That is true, but–then again–Aamco’s “Nationwide warranty” has so many weasel clauses in it that many–perhaps most–of their customers are told that they are not covered when their overhauled transmission fails.

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In the future, never go into AAMCO or Cottman’s, not even to ask directions.
All Automatics Must Come Out!

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On a car that new, I wonder if Hyundai offers a factory remanufactured transmission? Might call them and find out.

If they do, I’d have the vehicle towed to another shop, have the factory remanufactured unit installed, and pay AAMCO nothing.

Chip shortage issue could be true and parts unavailable. In that case, kind of stuck.

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If you buy a TCM, new or remanufactured, it should come with a warranty. If you steal a TCM, there is no warranty.

Unlikely for the transmission to be out of the car, hard to test the TCM with no transmission installed.

My record was 7 weeks at an unreliable trans shop trying to save $200. I would visit ever other day. Car was parked disassembled gathering dust. Once you are stuck you are stuck and not much else to do. They’ll have to burp it up eventually so maybe buy a spare car and save up for a second overhaul. Mine lasted a year.

I don’t know what this means, but I agree with it.

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I guess the supply chain response may have some validity in it, but your advice regarding AAMCO is something I’ve been recommending for years. Back in the '60s there was one near our house. There was a story on the news about a guy who took his car there to take advantage of their “special diagnostic service.” At the end of the day, he was told (surprise, surprise) that he needed to have a complete overhaul of his automatic transmission. He said he’d think about it and would be down to get his car. He came down, they gave him his keys (after he paid for the “service”) but the car wouldn’t drive. He had them come out, they opened his trunk and there was his transmission, disassembled. They were going to charge him for reassembly and reinstallation. I don’t remember the outcome

Maybe they’re better now, but I’m a firm believer in fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

No they aren’t any better now. I got a free ten mile tow out of them to get me closer to home. They dumped the fluid and dropped the pan to tell me it needed an overhaul. I said the Olds dealer was going to stand behind their work and I’d have it towed home. The guy got pretty mad and I had to wait outside for my tow from the dealer. I had no intention of having them work on it. It was nice out though. No free coffee or cookies.

I’ve never dealt with AAMCO but have heard plenty of horror stories about them.

I’ve had one experience with Cottmans but it was as an advisor; not as a customer. Pretty bad situation but the car owner was asking for it and Cottmans left him in a bad spot by completely disassembling his Subaru manual transmission when all it needed was a simple linkage adjustment.
Even worse, the trans was torn down to the last nut and bolt and they did not know how to reassemble it.
My suggestion as I walked out was tell it to the Marines because I don’t care about you or the car owner.
I have no idea what the outcome of that sordid mess was.

Both Aamco and Cottman are owned by the same company, American Driveline.

Interesting!
I did not know that–until now.

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American Driveline bought Cottman a few years ago.

My guess, OP’s best bet at this point is just wait until the needed part(s) arrive.

Transmissions are very complicated and to get a good result, the shop must have a well-trained and highly experienced staff. In the future when you need a transmission shop, suggest to ask you regular inde repair shop, and a few others, which is the best transmission shop in town. i.e. “which trans shop would you use for your own car?” Often you’ll get the same answer from every shop you ask. The better shops will have dealt with almost every problem before, and will be able to offer the customer some ideas for work-a-rounds for problems like this.

But the OP said the car was at an AAMCO.

Many years ago in a bygone era my Dad would emphaize that “All business is personal” so ALL automotve work would go to Dewey Davis Gulf a fellow WW2 Vet.
Continually chomping a cigar stub, missing 3 fingers and scarey as hell to my teenage self, the job got done to the customer’s satisfaction come hell or high water.

Dewey is long gone, God bless him, but why anyone would entrust any repairs their $30,000 vehicle to a nameless Chain or Corporation instead of a Person is beyond me.

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My neighbor had a couple fingers missing. Great mechanic. Watched him replace engines, do body work, fix outboards, etc. wish I would have asked him how but thought better of it as a kid.