Opening up a transmission on a Lexus? Help?

Shorthand expl. Son in college, RX suddenly won’t go into reverse or forward. He calls independent tranny shop. They say bring in, we open clean out the broken pieces, rebuild them and seal it up. Approx. price 1600, could be more depending on what they find out. I say, take to Lexus, have them put in a new one, that would be 4000 about. Help, I am not a mechanic! Son needs to get to class and work, he is panicking. Please car geeks weigh in…

Year? Miles? Front wheel drive or AWD?

I’m assuming no mechanic – Lexus dealership or inde – has actually seen this car yet. I wouldn’t assume anything at this point. You need to have the problem diagnosed first. There is usually one or two inde xmission shops in town that all the inde mechanics recommend. So ask around. Then have an inde shop make a diagnosis. It could well be something simple and inexpensive to fix. In any event, unless this car is under warranty, an inde xmission shop (home owned, not a chain) will probably produce the most bang for your buck.

One thing that really must be done is to put aside the panic that is felt. Making decisions while in a highly emotional state may turn out to not only be the wrong decision but an expensive one.

Maybe a cheap rental car would be a stress reliever until the problem with the Lexus is sorted out.

It sounds like the first shop is thinking about a piece-meal fix and those kind of repairs are usually mistakes.

There’s not enough info known to be able to determine what is going on with the transmission. Not going into reverse or forward could mean a wiped out transmission, broken shifter cable, or something like an interlock not functioning correctly.

I think George is “spot on”. Once it gets diagnosed, you’ll know your options.

One comment, avoid the dealer. You’lll not get uot of there for less than many thousands, and they won;t offer you options like a rebuilt tranny.

I should also comment that it sounds like the shop you spoke with is telling you the minimum you’ll get away with is $1600, but advising you that once they get into it it may get much more expensive. If I’m right, it sounds like they’re being honest. Can you provide any information about the shop?

I know so sorry about leaving out some details on the car. RX300 I bought it new, about 185k miles on it now. Always had it serviced by Lexus before sending it off to college w my son. Never had issues. It is not AWD. The independent mechanic “does all the tranny work” for the local police department I am told. I have told him to rent a car to get to work etc., and it is being towed to Lexus dealer for a diagnostic. I am concerned that the cost of replacement with Lexus is basically what the car is worth. But since I am the original owner and it will cost more to replace it I am seriously considering repairing it for more long term use as it has mostly been well taken care of. This shop is a home owned shop and I am HOPING that if it is something like a broken shifter cable then Lexus will be honest about that in the diagnostics. Any other thoughts are welcome. Thanks.

A highly recommended independent transmission shop is USUALLY preferable to the dealer in such a situation.I have known some outstanding dealership shops but they are rare. A failing engine mount can allow an axle to be pulled out of the differential resulting in the total disconnect of power to the wheels and the repair would be relatively minimal.