Over the years, both manual and automated gearboxes have advanced significantly. It’s now possible to perform tasks that traditionally required exceptional hand-eye coordination and patience with the ease of breathing.
While it’s true that manual transmissions have generally improved in smoothness and controllability, offering drivers of current vehicles a considerably better driving experience The automated gearbox represents the true advancement.
The concept of not having to change gears was far more appealing than the product we received when they were initially introduced to the market. The early automated boxes felt quite constrained since they had a relatively small number of gears and were clunky and sluggish.
But technology has come a long way since then in terms of simplifying the process of replacing our gear. This is mostly due to the automated box’s modifications.
Synchronizers, planetary gears, and valve bodies are a few examples of parts that have made gear change considerably smoother and improved fuel efficiency. Because of the contemporary gearbox’s high level of complexity and technicality, problems are often diagnosed and fixed by professionals.
Your car’s automatic gearbox likely features a component known as a transmission valve body. If you’re not a car aficionado, you may not be familiar with this component, but the transmission valve body is crucial to the general health of your vehicle.
It’s frequently referred to as the transmission’s “brain.” In light of this, you’ll need to always have a working transmission valve body in your vehicle. If yours ever breaks down, you’ll have to pay the transmission valve body repair price to have a new one installed.
A car engine in the engine bay by Tennen-Gas / CC BY-SA 3.0. The engine’s RPM should briefly decrease when you change ratios before shifting higher. That should be the case if the transmission and valve body are functioning properly. When the complete opposite happens, it is known as Shift Flare. Your engine’s RPM increases during an upshift as opposed to decreasing.
Transmission fluid is routed through circuits in the transmission by a complicated labyrinth of valves and solenoids called a transmission valve body. The valve body would be the heart of the transmission if the transmission control module (TCM) served as its brain.
Certain automatic transmission capabilities would not be accessible if the transmission valve body experienced a problem. The transmission may completely stop working in specific circumstances.
To find out all you need to know about replacing a transmission valve body and how much it would cost, keep reading.
A Transmission Valve Body: What Is It?
You’ll notice that a transmission valve body resembles a maze when you look closely at it. It is made up of several valves, solenoids, and passageways that combine to form a structure that resembles a maze.
Despite the intricacy of its outward appearance, the transmission valve body in your car performs a reasonably straightforward function: it is made to carry transmission fluid wherever it is required for the gearbox to change gears.
It will be challenging for your car to transfer transmission fluid to the proper areas if the transmission valve body isn’t functioning as it should.
Your gearbox may have a variety of problems as a result, making it challenging for you to operate your vehicle. The first indication of difficulty with your transmission valve body should be looked for because of this.
If you have any reason to believe that your transmission valve body may have failed, you must immediately pay the replacement fee.
Transmission Valve Body: How Do They Work?
We’ll discuss a little more about how to determine whether the gearbox valve body in your car has failed in a moment. But first, let’s talk about how your transmission valve body functions.
To appreciate your transmission valve body and understand why it’s important to replace it when needed, you must have a firm grasp of how it functions.
The transmission valve body in your car operates by letting transmission fluid in and shifting it around according to the gear your transmission needs to be in.
While you are driving your vehicle, the transmission valve body will swiftly transport the fluid through its numerous channels to activate the proper bands in your transmission. Your transmission valve body has a variety of valves that all have various functions and aid in shifting your vehicle from one gear to the next.
If your transmission valve body is unable to direct transmission fluid to the proper location, your transmission won’t be able to shift gears.
Where Is the Transmission Valve Body Located In a Car?
The valve body is often found near the lower side of the automatic gearbox case within your vehicle. When you take off the gearbox pan, you will frequently notice it.
A car’s automatic transmission by Silverxxx / CC BY-SA 3.0. Even though automatic transmission issues are rather uncommon these days, it would be wrong to say that they never happen. Due to the low frequency of transmission valve body problems, finding assistance may be difficult if you encounter an automated gearbox breakdown.
They can vary in size based on the size of the gearbox and are frequently buried in transmission fluid. Some will be located outside the gearbox, but the majority are located within and must be changed by removing the transmission pan.
What are the Different Kinds of Transmission Valve Body?
If you want to better understand what to do with your transmission valve body if it breaks down, you should be aware of the different types of valves. To properly adjust your valve body, you’ll need to be aware of the two different sorts.
Two different styles of transmission valve bodies predominate. The electronic transmission valve body will be the first sort of transmission valve body we discuss. This valve body operates all shifts on the automatic gearbox using the electronic technology ECT, also known as electronic controlled transmission.
Most contemporary vehicles nowadays employ an ECT, or electronic control transmission, which includes clutches and bands that are actuated by hydraulics. However, an electronic solenoid valve governs each of the hydraulic circuits. This results in more sophisticated and intricate control methods for the transmission as compared to transmissions that are not electronically controlled.
The transmission’s controller tracks the anti-lock brake system, vehicle speed, engine speed, and throttle position.
The hydraulic valve body is the second variety of transmission valve body. The system uses hydraulic pressure, as the name implies, to operate each of the valves connected to the shift lever.
Specific channels in the valve body will cover and uncover themselves to suit a handle’s change in position. For instance, the first gear would be triggered if you were driving and shifted the gear lever into Drive since the fluid would be poured into the clutch to activate it.
When Should You Replace the Transmission Valve?
There is a very excellent reason why you may not have heard of a transmission valve body before. Transmission valve bodies are crucial parts of your transmission, although they don’t often fail on drivers very frequently.
A gearbox valve body lasting as long as a car is not at all unusual. It’s possible that you won’t ever need to replace your transmission valve body.
Despite this, gearbox valve bodies occasionally fail on drivers, and when this happens, it’s usually extremely obvious. It won’t take long for you to notice there’s a problem if your transmission valve body is damaged.
Keep an eye out for indications that your transmission valve body may be having issues, and have it replaced in time.
What Signs Show the Likelihood of Incurring Transmission Valve Body Cost?
You won’t have to look very hard to locate indications of a damaged transmission valve body, as we just said. Most of the time, you and anybody else riding in your vehicle will be able to painfully see the problems that you’re having with your gearbox valve body.
The car’s ”Check Engine Light” fault management system by Wikiuser100000 / CC BY-SA 3.0. The check engine or malfunction indicator lights (MIL) may also turn on in addition to any of the aforementioned symptoms. In that case, it could be in your best interest to have a professional diagnostic performed on your automobile.
Your transmission may initially make knocking noises, which is an indication that the valve body needs to be repaired. But from there, things might also grow worse.
The following are a few of the most typical signs of a damaged transmission valve body:
1. Harsh or Delayed Shifts (Garage Shifts)
One of the most frequent signs that there is a problem with the transmission valve body in your car is that there is a two-second or longer delay while changing gears.
Usually, whether switching from Park to Reverse or from Park to Drive, this abrupt or delayed shift occurs. This is most frequently referred to as garage shifts.
As you maintain a constant pace on a flat roadway, you could also notice that your gearbox will periodically change into a lower or higher gear seemingly at random. Remember that any jerky shifting might indicate a problem with your transmission valve body.
2. The Car Shifts Up or Down Inappropriately
The gearbox of your car may change into a lower or higher gear at the incorrect times while you are driving, as you may have seen. When navigating an uphill road, for instance, you’ll want your transmission to downshift so that you have more power.
Your gearbox will instead go into a higher gear, which will make the ascent much more difficult.
You may also see that your gearbox will periodically change into a lower or higher gear when you are moving steadily at a constant pace on a flat route. Remember that any jerky shifting might be an indication that the valve body in your gearbox is malfunctioning.
3. Flares In Shifting
When you shift between gears, your engine’s RPM should temporarily drop before an upshift, for instance, from third to fourth gear. If your transmission’s valve body and transmission are operating as they ought to, that ought to be the case.
We refer to it as a Shift Flare, though, when the exact opposite occurs. It turns out that during an upshift, your engine’s RPM rises rather than falls.
4. Banging or Knocking Sounds
When shifting gears, if you hear any banging or knocking noises, you are either upshifting (accelerating) or downshifting (slowing down). When you drive backward while in reverse, you could also hear these noises. All of this might indicate that the valve body in your gearbox is broken.
5. Your Gears Begin Slipping
If you find your car’s gearbox slipping out of gear while you’re driving, it may be a sign that your transmission valve body is malfunctioning.
You should be aware that this might also occur if your transmission is short on fluid or if the bands are worn out. As a result, the transmission falling out of gear may not always indicate that the transmission valve body is malfunctioning.
The transmission valve body controls the majority of your vehicle’s transmission functions, and DTC codes related to the transmission may be present. The OBD II codes P2707, P0715, P0783, P0829, and P0751 are a few that might show up. Look for any stored diagnostic trouble codes in your automobile.
Your car could try to accelerate or upshift, but it will swiftly shift into a lower gear. Your car can even just refuse to change into a higher gear. Your engine will operate at a greater RPM than it normally would, which is bad for it.
6. Your Car’s Check Engine Light Comes On
Let’s say you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms together with the check engine or malfunction indication lights (MIL) turning on. It could be in your best interest to take your car for a professional diagnostic in that situation.
Many of the DTC codes connected to the transmission may appear because the transmission valve body manages the majority of your vehicle’s transmission operations. Among the numerous common OBD II codes that might appear are P2707, P0715, P0783, P0829, and P0751. You should thus check your car for any stored diagnostic issue codes.
7. Inability to Downshift
If your transmission is unable to downshift effectively, the hydraulic or transmission fluid may not be properly traveling or entering the transmission valve body. This will prevent the gears from being compressed adequately. Your vehicle’s performance will eventually deteriorate if you let this slide and disregard it.
8. Inability to Shift to Other Gears
The transmission control module, or TCM, can switch several solenoids on and off to regulate the flow of transmission fluid inside the transmission valve body.
If one of these solenoids were to quit working on you, you could discover that you are unable to shift at all or that you are just locked out of some gears. A competent and reputable transmission shop should be able to repair the required parts on the transmission valve body and carry out a valve body replacement, depending on the cause.
You would need to purchase a new transmission valve body if the issue were too significant to be rectified.
These symptoms may not first seem to be the worst, so you might choose to ignore them. However, after some time of continuous driving, your gearbox will fully warm up, and you will start to notice the issues with your transmission valve body much more clearly (at least around 30 minutes or more).
If your vehicle is having these issues, you should get it checked out by a trained mechanic to see whether you will need to set aside money for the purchase of a replacement gearbox valve body.
Why Do Bad Transmission Valve Body Symptoms Occur?
The signs of a damaged transmission valve body might be brought on by many different factors. The accumulation of sludge and debris in the valve body is one of the most frequent reasons.
This may occur as the transmission fluid degrades over time. A shift solenoid issue is another frequent reason. The shifting of the gears in your gearbox is managed by the shift solenoids.
The signs of a faulty valve body might also result from their not functioning correctly, among other issues.
The Car Transmission Control Module (TCM) by Mgiardina09 / CC BY-SA 3.0. The transmission valve body is a complex maze of valves and solenoids that directs transmission fluid via circuits in the transmission. If the transmission control module (TCM) acted as its brain, the valve body would be the transmission’s heart.
Is It Safe to Drive a Car With a Bad Transmission Valve Body?
You’re going to be inclined to disregard possible transmission valve body issues when they initially start to surface. If your transmission valve body is making banging noises, you might bump up the volume on your radio a little bit or ignore your check engine light. But do not, we repeat, do not, drive about for an extended period with a damaged transmission valve body.
An issue with your transmission valve body might develop into a serious problem with your complete gearbox over time. When you have a damaged transmission valve body, you’ll put a lot of force on it.
This is the reason you should fix a faulty transmission valve body as soon as possible. Before you start driving your vehicle again, you should take it to a shop to have the gearbox valve body either refurbished or completely replaced.
Where Should a Car Be Taken for a Transmission Valve Body Replacement?
It’s not simple to change the gearbox valve body in a car. Even the most skilled mechanics may find it difficult to reach the transmission valve body so they may take it out and replace it. For this reason, if your transmission valve body is damaged, you shouldn’t let just anybody operate your vehicle. Going with someone familiar with a car’s transmission will benefit you much.
When you need a new transmission valve body installed in your vehicle, you should at the absolute least make sure that the mechanic is an ASE-certified technician. However, if at all feasible, you want to go the extra mile and bring your vehicle to a gearbox expert.
They’ll be able to pinpoint the precise issue with your transmission, determine if you require a rebuild or a replacement, and then get to work.
When getting a new transmission valve body fitted, if you don’t take your vehicle to a transmission professional, you can soon experience further transmission issues.
Additionally, you could ultimately need to have your transmission as a whole undergo substantial repairs. You’ll regret not sucking it up and paying the original job’s transmission specialist’s transmission valve body replacement fee.
Is It Bad to Replace a Transmission Valve Body on Your Own?
Have you ever successfully repaired the gearbox in your car? If your response to that question wasn’t a loud “yes!” then you shouldn’t attempt to repair your transmission valve body and you shouldn’t get near your transmission. If you do, you’ll be making a serious error.
One of the most challenging components of your car is the transmission, which is sophisticated in and of itself. It’s packed with a variety of unique parts, which makes it challenging to repair. So, trying to replace your transmission valve body won’t be very successful. If you attempt to repair your transmission on your own, you can cause more harm than good.
Nobody likes to spend the money necessary to replace a gearbox valve body. However, paying it will be a far better choice than attempting and failing to restore your transmission valve body yourself. It would be preferable to leave the replacement of the transmission valve body to the experts.
Automatic transmission fluid for a car by Hymn62 / CC BY-SA 4.0. To prevent transmission valve body failure, be sure to check the fluid level in your car’s gearbox frequently, especially if there are any leaks. Use the correct automatic transmission fluid (ATF). ATF should not be overfilled into your transmission as this will result in transmission problems.
How Much Does the Replacement of a Transmission Valve Body Cost?
There is a solid reason why you could see folks with a wrong transmission valve body neglect it or attempt to fix it themselves; especially if you have a transmission professional handle it, it is not inexpensive.
Even the most skilled technicians need more than two to three hours to accomplish the entire repair from start to end. The cost of the repair may increase as a result. In general, you should budget at least $400 to as much as $850 if you need to repair your transmission valve body.
It also includes parts that are worth at least $250 to $500 in addition to labor that costs hundreds of dollars. If you drive a fancy car like a Mercedes, you can be required to pay much more than that.
If purchasing a new transmission valve body is truly out of your price range, you can consider choosing a remanufactured one. It’s one of the methods you may avoid having to shell out a sizable sum of money to repair the valve body.
Even so, you should be aware that the cost will still be higher if you choose that course of action. You must acknowledge that any owner of a vehicle will find this to be a somewhat pricey repair. To achieve the greatest results and maintain the general health of your car, quality expert service is required.
Is It Worth Incurring the Transmission Valve Body Cost?
You could be considering whether it is worthwhile to replace the transmission valve body after learning how much it would cost. Paying for a single gearbox component seems like a significant financial commitment.
However, if you intend to maintain and use your vehicle for the foreseeable future, it will be an expense that you just cannot avoid. For those who want to make sure their transmission is operating correctly, it is well worth it.
Only owners of really old vehicles may decide that the cost of replacing the gearbox valve body is not worthwhile. You generally won’t want to spend more than $500 having a new gearbox valve body fitted in an ancient vehicle that may only be worth $1,000 or so.
Why bother fiddling with your transmission valve body when it’s just a matter of time until other components of your gearbox start to fail on you?
How to Replace the Transmission Valve Body
It’s not difficult to replace your gearbox valve body, but it’s crucial to have the proper equipment. You can simply repair your gearbox valve body yourself and avoid a trip to the technician with the correct equipment and a little bit of know-how.
- Lift your car, then take off the gearbox pan.
- Remove the filter and drain the transmission fluid.
- Remove the electrical connections and shift cables from the valve body.
- The fasteners holding the valve body in place should be removed.
- Reconnect all of the connections and connectors before installing the replacement valve body.
- Reinstall the transmission pan and refill the transmission with new fluid.
- Start the car, then look for leaks.
- To make sure everything is in working order, test drive the car.
Gear changes are now much smoother and more fuel-efficient thanks to items like synchronizers, planetary gears, and valve bodies. Due to the modern gearbox’s high degree of complexity and intricacy, faults are frequently identified and resolved by experts.
Although changing the transmission valve body is not a difficult procedure, it is crucial to carefully follow these instructions to guarantee that everything is done correctly.
Should You Rebuild or Replace the Transmission Valve Body?
Instead of replacing your present valve body with a new (or remanufactured) one, some transmission repair companies may offer to rebuild it. This can occasionally result in cost savings, especially for some higher-end vehicles. Should you, nevertheless, do that?
In general, you should only replace your valve body if your vehicle has more kilometers (100,000 or more). If you’re working with a reputable transmission shop, repairing the existing transmission valve body is a reasonably excellent alternative for lower-mileage autos.
How Can You Protect the Transmission Valve Body from Going Bad Often?
The old lubricant is among the most frequent causes of the valve body becoming bad or even breaking. The metal components of the transmission valve will deteriorate due to friction if the lubricant is not changed appropriately. Small metal fragments will be produced and mixed with the fluid.
Make sure to regularly check the transmission fluid level in your car, especially if there are any leaks, to avoid this from occurring to it. Additionally, make sure you are using the appropriate ATF, or automatic transmission fluid. Avoid overfilling your transmission with ATF since doing so will cause your transmission to malfunction.
So, there you go. It would be incorrect to suggest that automatic transmission problems never occur, even though they are quite rare these days. It may be challenging to locate assistance if you experience an automatic gearbox failure due to the low prevalence of these issues. So, if you find yourself in this situation, hopefully, this guide will be of great help to you.
If you suspect a problem with your transmission, we always advise getting your car thoroughly assessed since, in addition to being risky for you as the driver, letting the problem worsen might lead to unneeded damage to other engine and gearbox components.
Get your vehicle the finest possible repair it deserves if you intend to maintain it for an extended period. Poor repairs simply serve to deteriorate your car’s condition. We hope that this clarified the significance of replacing a faulty valve body. Safe travels!
Jim Wicks is the founder of MotorVehicleHQ. With over two decades of experience in the automotive industry and a degree in Automotive Technology, Jim is a certified car expert who has worked in various roles ranging from a mechanic, car dealership manager, to a racing car driver. He has owned more than 20 cars over the past 15 years. Ask him about any vehicle you see on the road and he can tell you the make, model and year. He loves the aesthetics of all things cars, and keeps his vehicles in pristine condition.
In his free time, Jim enjoys getting his hands dirty under the hood of a classic car or taking long drives along the country roads. His favorite car? A 1967 Shelby GT500, a true classic that, according to Jim, “represents the pure essence of American muscle.”