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Why is AAMCO consider such a terrible place?

Why is AAMCO consider such a terrible place?

Well let’s see:

-They extort money from customers by tearing down transmissions and then charging an enormous fee to put them back together or giving you parts in a box. This after convincing you that it was necessary.

-For nearly every problem, their solution is a total rebuild at exorbitant prices.

-They use scare tactics to goad customers into paying for unnecessary rebuilds.

-Their warranty sucks.

-They have zero ethics.

I would love to hear about someone’s positive experience with them.


Didn’t you know? AAMCO is an acronym for All Automatics Must Come Out.



All national chains of transmission shops have horrible reputations, You just hear more about AAMCO because they have more locations. All national chains are best avoided for auto repairs of all kinds. Find a good local mechanic with a reputation for honesty. Don;t expect him to br perfect, do expect him to stand behind his work. Remember, he didn’t design or make your car and he didn’t break it. He is just the guy who is trying to fix it.

Ok, so if your tranny is DEFINITELY toast, then the removal diagnosis isn’t a ripoff, but the cost of the job will be overpriced.

I should add to my response: While certainly a lot of transmission problems can only be diagnosed by taking them apart to see what’s going on in there, in this age of electronic transmissions with advanced diagnostics, it is not necessary as often as AAMCO and others tell their customers. An experienced transmission mechanic can often diagnose a problem based on the symptoms and the data from a decent scan tool. AAMCO… “Nope, we gotta take it apart.”

Kind of like taking your PC to Geek Squad, where their solution to nearly every malady is to wipe and reformat the hard drive. I guess it’s like the old saying—when all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.

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In addition to the chain transmission shops, they have a cousin called chain oil change places.

The oil change places don’t get as much per visit but they get you more often.

Both type of place work the same way. They hire kids to do the work. The kids generally try to do a good job, but the boss keeps telling them they are taking too much time and to speed up. They also like to find problems that don’t really exist, but cost you money.

So, what do you do? You ask around. Ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers etc and try and find a local (not a chain) shop that may take a few more minutes to do the job and may charge you more, but are going to do the job right in the first place and that will save you a lot more.

I can go into a whole long story about when I was a poor freshman in collage… Lets just say… skip when driving…yadayada… $750 torque converter and should have the trans rebuilt… yada yada… did TQ… yada yada… problem still there was a arching rear spark plug wire…

Keep in mind that all AAMCOs are independently owned and operated, so I am sure there are good ones somewhere… I have just not found one…

The last straw for me was a commercial on the radio about 4 years ago that said something along the lines of, did you know that the FLICKERING DOME LIGHT COULD MEAN YOUR TRANSMISSTION IS BAD !! No lie !! I never laughed so hard… I tried to find it online but could not…

I would love to hear about someone’s positive experience with them

Before I learned to work on them myself, I had a Toyota Corona back around 1978 or so. It started acting up and I was clueless about transmissions so I went into the local trans shop which was an AAMCO chain. The guy took the time to go on a ride with me to see how it was acting. He then fiddled with it for about 15 minutes or so and said it was just the linkage needing adjustment, no charge. As you can see, that left an impression that persists to this day. They got the subsequent business to R&R another trans a few years later and did great work at a reasonable price. That’s a long time ago so perhaps it doesn’t apply today but I’ll bet there are good to go along with the bad just like any other business…

AAMCO is a franchise operation like McDonalds… Each shop is independently owned. There are good ones and bad ones.

Transmission shops need at least one and maybe two very high skill technicians that do the actual rebuilds. The rest of the employees are R&R techs and helpers of various skill levels…Many transmission shops are just R&R operations that install rebuilt transmissions from various sources…Consumers should ASK if THEIR transmission will be rebuilt in shop or just exchanged with an outside rebuilt unit…

Owing to the complexity of todays transmissions, a 'Factory Rebuilt" unit can be a better choice than one rebuilt “in house”.

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Years ago (late 1960s), my brother had a 1961 Buick Skylark convertible and was having transmission problems. This car had the “twin path” Dynaflow automatic which was not known for being a great transmission. At any rate, an AAMCO shop rebuilt the transmission and the transmission had a one year warranty. Before the year was up, the AAMCO rebuilt transmission began having problems and wouldn’t always shift back into low after a stop. My brother returned to the AAMCO shop and they said that this was “normal” and there was nothing they could do. My brother then took the car to a different AAMCO shop. This shop said that the transmission needed to come out and be rebuilt. My brother authorized the repair. When the work was completed, my brother showed them the warranty which was good at any AAMCO nation wide. The proprietor of the second AAMCO had a fit, but the repair was free.

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IMHO one of the reasons I prefer an independently owned and operated shop to a chain operation is that chain operations can survive off the chain’s name whether they’re good or bad. The franchisee need only meet the minimum standards of the chain.

An independently owned and operated shop has much more incentive to ensure that they so the work properly and to care about the customers…or they’ll end up out of business. Their own name is on the door.

That difference makes me feel that I stand a better chance of getting good work from someone who cares in an independently owned and operated shop. That does not mean that there aren’t well-run franchises that care, nor does it mean that there aren’t crooked independents. I’m just trying to hedge my bets.

The last straw for me was a commercial on the radio about 4 years ago that said something along the lines of, did you know that the FLICKERING DOME LIGHT COULD MEAN YOUR TRANSMISSTION IS BAD !! No lie !! I never laughed so hard… I tried to find it online but could not…

Hey GS, believe it or not, this actually CAN happen. I’m on a special online group of transmission rebuilders from all over the world, we help each other out with problems that the other might have while working on units. This actually came up just last week. One of our members was telling us that he had a GM RWD trans several years ago he rebuilt that was burned up. (Converter blue from heat) He built it, sent it on its way and guess what?? Came back burned up again. New converter also blue from excessive heat. The second time the customer brought it back he just happened to mention the radio is in and out. (No power then power). Well it just so happens that the TCC is wired in with the radio. Some vehicles even have the dome light wired in with it also. A bad wire would open causing the radio and the TCC to lose power which shut off the lockup and burned up the trans. He built the trans again, fixed the bad wire and never had another problem from it.

This is why I harp on not driving a vehicle with the TCC unplugged.


I actually have worked for Aamco I was the service manager for two of their shops well actually two amp hours because they are independently owned. Basically the way it works is that they actually do try to train you to get the transmission out of the car to break it down and then give them a cost of the actual repair itself however if we pull it out and I come back and tell you a ridiculous quote you tell me know now we will put it back together broken and install it back in the car and you would have to pay for that. Also every week corporate will take 7% of your earnings and then require you to do certain things as far is like ad pool for the phonebook. They do not really take good care of actual shop owners And a lot of times that gets passed down to the customer

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Aamco corporate will actually send you a script of what they think you should say in order to remove the transmission from the vehicle they even go as far as calling the shop as if they were a customer and ask them how much a transmission would cost for specific vehicle and they don’t want you getting prices like that over the phone instead you’re to try and get the customer to come into the shop Even though it’s very easy to give somebody a ballpark estimate of what the repair would be I also read Somebody mentioning how bad their warrantee is the way that works is you can purchase a three-year warranty or even a lifetime however if you break down and you’re at another location the owner of the shop would tell me and I would have to pay him to do it AAMCO does not get involved With warranty stuff that much because there’s no need to as long as they’re saving money they don’t care so I’ve had a lot of customers in that position where they’re at another Amco or they come to mind when I was there with a warranty job and 90% of the time you wouldn’t wanna get involved in it so you would try to send them back to the original shop they got the work done I’d be more than happy to answer questions as well about them