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Trans rebuild: worth the cost, or did I get screwed?

My 05 Kia Sorento decided it wouldn’t go in reverse while in a parking spot recently. I’m no genius, but I knew that’s bad news. Later in the day (when I got it to back out of the parking spot by parking, turning off, then starting up again), the expected check engine light glows and the car won’t shift beyond 1st gear. I took it to an AAMCO, one of the few places that will rebuild transmissions, assuming that might save me on the cost of a full replacement. A takedown fee of $790 was required to take it apart and decide what was wrong. It would be applied toward the repair and I was sure I’d be spending at least this amount no matter what. I budgeted 1500-2000 as a high end after calling around to see what the full replacement might run. The rebuild cost 2800 bucks with a 12 month/12K warranty. Not sure why the rebuild would have cost more than the replacement. Did I get screwed here?

Lastly, what’s a good formula to use when deciding if a repair is worthwhile against the value of the vehicle? No more than 30% of the value? 50%? I thought about ditching the car with the trans trouble but figured I’d be losing the same amount for the repair in the trade in anyway. Besides, who want’s a trade in that doesn’t run?


A factory remanufactured transmission from a Kia dealer MSRP is only $910.00
That is a very low price for a reman. transmission. You won’t find a deal like that from a place like AAMCO.

The first rule of trans repsir is never go to AAMCO, the second rule of trans repair is NEVER GO TO AAMCO.

One of the benefits of Kia that most people don’t know is you can get a factory rebuilt unit very cheap from your dealer. You did not say how many miles are in the truck, but if it’s paid for and suits your needs it is almost defiantly worth while to fix. As you said it’s not worth much of anything with out a working trans.

Repair or not repair? Assuming most of the car – especially the body and frame – remains in good working order, if the cost of the repair is less expensive than the total outlay required for trading in the old one and buying a new vehicle, doing the repair is probably the better economic choice and at least should definitely be considered in the mix.

Good luck with that. Yesterday I drove 50 miles to have my trans fluid changed by someone I trust. I also had a car towed there in the past because I didn’t trust anyone in town to work on it. I had one dealing with AAMCO and it wasn’t good. It didn’t cost me anything but I sure wasn’t going to let them do my transmission. More interested in selling than fixing.

It’s best to get a recommendation from an independent mechanic you know for which shop to go to for a transmission rebuild. Rebuilding transmissions – esp automatic transmissions – is a specialized skill, has special tool requirements, and most importantly, requires a well-managed shop to maintain the almost clean-room environment needed. To be successful rebuilding transmissions, you have to be patient and organized. That’s not the average auto-shop doing oil changes for a living. And it certainly isn’t a chain store. All the local independent car mechanics know which independent shop does this best in your local area. The owner is a car whiz kid. You can bet on that. It’s just a matter of a little social engineering to get someone to cough up the whiz kid’s name.

Why are Kia tranny’s so cheap?

Why is AAMCO consider such a terrible place?

$2800 is still cheaper than a new car.

where is Kia doing there rebuilding here or in Korea that could make a good differnce in the price of a rebuilt unit .