The Average Cost for Automatic Transmission Solenoind Replacement Is $75 to $450, Depending on if You Go to the Mechanic or DIY.
The average cost price range is based on the national average for all vehicles, not factoring in fees, taxes, make, or model. Related repairs or maintenance are also not included in this estimate. For a more accurate estimate specific to your vehicle’s make, model, and mileage, visit the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
Get a more accurate estimate for your solenoid replacement using RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator:
Cost at the Mechanic: $75-$450
- Parts: $15 to $100
- Labor: $60 to $350
Replacing the shift solenoids inside an automatic transmission will take approximately two to four hours for a trained professional. Although the parts are relatively inexpensive, the process of getting to the solenoid is challenging, which increases the labor cost. Depending on the transmission, there are two or more shift solenoids, and if yo’re having shifting problems caused by a faulty solenoid, you should replace all of them at the same time.
Cost to DIY: $75-$100
- Difficulty Level: Intermediate
- Parts Needed:
Although opening up an automatic transmission might seem like a daunting task, replacing the shift solenoids is actually not that difficult of a job. You can save hundreds of dollars by performing this project as a DIY.
Keep in mind: Many vehicle components are specifically designed for certain makes and models. If you plan to perform this task as a DIY, make sure you purchase the correct parts for your specific vehicle. If you’re unsure of your needs, consult your owner’s manual or local parts store.
What Is Solenoid Replacement?
Automatic transmissions are equipped with internal shift solenoids that are electro-hydraulic valves. These valves regulate the flow of transmission fluid throughout your transmission system based on electrical signals from the transmission control unit (TCU). Based on inputs from the driver and other vehicle computers, the TCU can modfity shift points to maximize fuel economy, performance, and comfort.
What Does Solenoid Replacement Include?
Once the shift solenoid has been diagnosed as the cause of your transmission’s shifting issues, you must be able to comfortably access the underside of the transmission, which could require using a jack on vehicles that sit lower. Once raised (with jack stands and wheel chocks in place), locate and remove the transmission oil pan.
If your vehicle has a transversely mounted engine (the front of the engine facing the side of the engine compartment), the automatic transmission will be mounted next to the engine. If your vehicle has a longitudinally mounted engine (the front of the engine facing the front of the engine compartment), the automatic transmission will be mounted behind to the engine closer to the center of the vehicle.
Place a drain pan underneath the transmission’s oil pan, and remove the bolts on the transmission fluid compartment and use the oil pan to catch the fluid. Remove the transmission filter and the transmission’s valve body, which contains the shift solenoids. Pay close attention so as not to damage any wiring harnesses or connectors. Unplug the solenoid from its connector, and remove the bad solenoid from the transmission.
Use a little transmission fluid to lubricate the replacement solenoid and o-ring before pressing it back into place. Clean everything up from excess transmission fluid and reassemble in the reverse order to get everything back to working order. The entire process should take between two and four hours to complete. If having it done at a shop, you’ll likely drop it off for the day and get a call when your vehicle is fixed and ready to go.
What Happens If You Don’t Replace Your Solenoid?
If you don’t replace a faulty shift solenoid, it could affect the ingerity of other parts inside your automatic transmission or lead to the vehicle being stuck in limp mode. Avoid costly transmission repairs by replacing the shift solenoids in a timely fashion.
How Often to Replace Your Solenoid
The solenoids are another car component that doesn’t have anything scheduled for regular maintenance. You typically replace your solenoid(s) when they start to go bad. Standard maintenance of your transmission can help prolong the life of your solenoids by offsetting the level of deterioration through proper care and maintenance. Solenoids can easily last for more than 100,000 miles on a properly maintained transmission, but if you mistreat your transmission or it is put through severe duty (such as frequent towing), you may need to replace them sooner than that.
Changing your transmission fluid as recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer is a key step in preventing deterioration. Changing your fluid helps clean out any dirt and debris that build up over time, while fresh fluid keeps the plungers on the solenoids from sticking. If you’re unsure when to change your transmission fluid, refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended interval.
Common Symptoms Indicating You Need to Replace Your Solenoid
You may notice one or more of the following symptoms, indicating you need to replace your solenoid(s):
- Erratic shifting: If your vehicle’s transmission slips, skips a gear, gets stuck in one gear, or shifts back and forth between gears, you probably have a bad solenoid.
- Transmission doesn’t downshift: If one of the shift solenoids is stuck in either the closed or open position, it’s unable to pressurize the correct gear and thus won’t downshift properly.
- Severe delay in shifting or gets stuck in neutral: If the solenoid cannot regulate the fluid pressure to activate the appropriate gear, it may cause delays in shifting or make your transmission get stuck in neutral.
- Loud noises when driving: When the solenoids aren’t regulating the fluid in the transmission, you may notice loud noises coming from your transmission as you drive down the road.
- Difficult shifting: Shifting gears may become more difficult because the transmission isn’t getting the proper level of lubrication due to failed solenoid(s).
Related Maintenance Services
Since the shift solenoids are key components to most automatic transmissions, the best way to ensure long-lasting life from your transmission is to perform regular services such as changing your transmission fluid per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
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