1 - Why does transmission repair cost so much?

There's no doubt about it: Transmission repairs can be expensive. But it's not so much money when you consider what's involved in the repairs.

 Today's automatic transmissions consist of thousands of individual components. During a major repair, each one is removed, cleaned, and inspected to exacting tolerances. 

Any worn or damaged parts are repaired or replaced. 
Then each part is put together into one of many subassemblies. Each subassembly must be adjusted, and tested for proper operation. Then the subassemblies must be assembled into the transmission case, where the adjustment and testing procedure begins all over again. 

Finally, once the transmission is completely assembled, it has to be reinstalled. If that's not enough to justify the cost. There is something else to consider: 

Virtually all of today's automatic transmissions are computer controlled. Which means that the transmission's ability to operate depends on much more than the condition of the transmission itself. 

Engine problems now can have a dramatic effect on how the transmission operates. All of which boils down to one, inescapable conclusion: Sure, transmission work can be expensive. But, dollar for dollar, it's one of the best values around. 

2 - Why can't you give me a price over the phone?

20-or-so years ago, there were only maybe a dozen different transmissions on the road. Every transmission repair shop had a good stock of rebuilt units on hand. There were almost no updates necessary, and even if something unusual failed, most shops had a good supply of used parts on hand to replace it. 

Today there are more than ten times that many transmissions in use, with new ones showing up all the time. Many of those transmissions have several different variations or calibrations, with as many as a dozen modifications necessary. 

What's more, today's transmissions are computer controlled, which means even though your transmission may not be working properly, there's a good chance the root cause of the problem doesn't have anything to do with the transmission itself. 

To provide you with an accurate assessment of your transmission's condition and give you an honest estimate for repairs, technicians must perform a series of rigorous tests. They must identify which transmission is in your car, and which version of that transmission it is. 
Then they have to identify the specific problem, and isolate whether it's in the transmission or the computer system. 

Finally, they have to determine the likely causes for the problem, based on a logical diagnostic process. Once they have that information, the shop is able to give you a more accurate explanation of your car's condition, and put together an accurate estimate of the costs to repair it. There's just no way to do all that over the phone.

3 - How can I make sure a shop has qualified technicians?

One of the first things you can look for is technician certification. These are certificates indicating that the technicians have passed tests to prove a level of competence in one or more areas of automotive repair. The most common certifications are provided by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). 

These certifications cover theory, diagnosis and repair procedures in virtually every area of the vehicle. In addition, many manufacturers and organizations offer some type of certification program. 

And while certification is no guarantee of competence, it does indicate a certain level of pride and professionalism. But no one offers a more detailed or extensive certification program than the one that ATRA offers its members. 

There are three types of ATRA certification: 

1. R&R Technician
2. Rebuilder

3. Diagnostician

ATRA's tests are extremely demanding: You can be certain that any technician holding an ATRA certification is qualified to work on your car or truck. 

4 - How can I be sure I can trust this shop? 

There are a number of ways you can learn if a repair shop is trustworthy or not. One way is to ask for references from people who have been there before. 

Another is to check with your local consumer protection agency, to see whether they have any records of misconduct by the shop. 

In the case of a transmission shop, you can also ask for recommendations from your general repair shop: 
They'll usually know a nearby transmission shop they can recommend. But one of the best ways to make sure you're trusting the right shop with your transmission repairs is to take your car to an ATRA-member repair center. Because the ATRA logo is the symbol of excellence and professionalism in the transmission repair industry. 

ATRA members are required to maintain an ethical standard unsurpassed in any service industry. These standards require ATRA members to provide honest diagnoses and repairs at a fair price. And ATRA backs that up by providing an arbitration process, to assure you of the highest level of ethical treatment. 

What's more, when you have your transmission repaired in an ATRA-member repair center, your repairs are eligible for protection under ATRA?s ?Golden Rule? warranty. With this warranty protection, your transmission is covered for up to two years or 24,000 miles from the original repair, at any participating ATRA-member repair center, anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. 

And ATRA has nearly 2000 members, coast to coast, over three times the number of centers in the next largest organization. 
There are many other questions that you may have when it comes to Transmissions, Diesel Upgrades, & other Automotive Services so give Doug or Bryan a call and ask them any question you like to make sure you have everything you need to make an informed decision on who / where you have your automotive services done. 


Bryan & Doug at CTDS rebuilt the transmissions in both my Camaro race car & my 500+ horsepower Nova. My engine builder & friends where all VERY skeptical about me installing the 4 speed 

 overdrive transmission in my nova, but the guys at CTDS not only met, they exceeded my expectations in delivering me a transmission that can handle my 500+ horsepower big block in my Nova. 

My friends are now thinking twice about using a 700r4 transmission in a high horsepower car and are considering using it in their cars too. 

CTDS has also rebuilt both differentials in my Camaro & Nova. I couldn't be more pleased with the exceptional service & quality of CTDS.

I have recommended them to my business associates & will continue to do so in the future.

Sincerely, Jim Hood 

Dear C.T.D.S, 

I am writing you this letter of appreciation to let you know how grateful we are for you to take time out of your Sunday to rescue us just east of Deer Trail, CO. 

My wife and I didn't know anyone & was very worried & stressed about the situation we were in. I am so glad I had Doug & Bryan helping us out. You made sure our Dodge truck was ready that Monday evening so we could head back home. 

P .S. You guys are truly the best transmission & diesel mechanics I have ever been around just wish you were in Little Rock, AR. 

C.A. & Jenn Smith 


Just wanted to drop a line to say thank you. I am so glad my car did not need a transmission. I know now not to trust the franchises with there big advertising.

They wanted to charge me $2500.00 for my Dodge Intrepid and you guys charged me $175.00 for a sensor like you said let me check it out first the most expensive transmission you will pay for is the one you don't need. 

Truly Grateful, Cynthia Garcia

Doug & Bryan At CDTS, 

My truck is working better than ever. After calling several tranny shops & getting the run around. You were right you gave me the best price, best warranty, & got my shift together. ROCK ON!!!! 

Leo Rodell

Doug & Bryan At CTDS, 

I had my 1999 Dodge Truck worked on by Doug and Bryan.

Kevin Todd

At Colorado Transmission And Diesel Specialists we value your thoughts, comments and opinions about our service, workmanship, parts and your overall experience. 

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