BMW Transmission Repair and Replacement Cost

BMW transmission repairs can be pricey. While minor repairs might cost around $300, a complete rebuild or replacement could range from $1,800 to $7,000.
Written by John Davis
Reviewed by Shannon Martin
If your BMW has a faulty transmission and needs repairs, you might be looking at a significant bill. Even the more minor repairs and services will cost you upwards of $300. And if your Bimmer needs a transmission rebuild or replacement, it could set you back anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000 or more. 
Driving a BMW is all about hitting that sweet spot between opulent luxury and thrilling sports cars. But unfortunately, the luxury price extends to replacement parts. Your Bimmer’s transmission is no exception, and if you need a rebuild, replacement, or even a minor repair, it could cost you a pretty penny. 
Here to help you understand and estimate a potential BMW transmission repair—and develop a car care plan that includes regular transmission maintenance—is
Jerry
, the licensed broker and
car insurance
super app. We’ll cover everything you need to know about your BMW transmission and any possible repairs or problems you might face. And we’ll even throw in some tips for saving money on
BMW insurance costs
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How much does a BMW transmission repair cost?

If your BMW needs transmission repairs, it could be due to a wide range of problems with varying costs to repair. Beyond the cause of the problem, the price to fix it will also depend on your car’s age, model, and location. Generally, you can expect BMW transmission repairs to cost between $300 and $7,000
The most expensive BMW transmission repair is a full-scale rebuild or replacement following a complete transmission failure. Here is a look at the average cost of transmission replacement from some popular models:
  • Average
    BMW 740
    transmission replacement cost: $9,000 - $10,500
  • Average
    BMW X5
    transmission replacement cost: $10,000 - $16,700
  • Average
    BMW 530I
    transmission replacement cost: $9,000 - $10,000
  • Average
    BMW 328D Xdrive
    transmission replacement cost: $9,000 - $10,000
A full transmission failure isn’t the only problem you might encounter. Your car might need other transmission services, including:
Even though some BMW transmission repairs might cost less than a full rebuild or replacement, the transmission is still one of the vehicle's most expensive and complex parts to work on and repair. And while following the proper maintenance program can help your transmission last for more than 300,000 miles, there’s a good chance you still need a few transmission services along the way. 

What does a transmission do?

You know the transmission is expensive, but what exactly does it do for your car? The transmission turns engine power into the force necessary to move your vehicle’s wheels at the appropriate speed. Depending on the transmission type, it uses a torque converter, clutches, gears, and hydraulic pressure. 
Most modern Bimmers have an automatic transmission that BMW calls the “Steptronic Transmission.” However,
several new models with manual transmissions
are available, and many older BMW vehicles have either a manual transmission or a dual-clutch transmission (DCT).

Is it cheaper to repair or replace a transmission?

When it comes to transmission repairs, the most expensive option will always be a complete rebuild or replacement. Replacing the transmission on your BMW could cost upwards of $10,000. If you have to replace your transmission, the type of transmission you choose to purchase as a replacement will play a large role in the overall cost. 
The most expensive option is an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) transmission. Before you take your BMW to the dealership for a
genuine OEM transmission
replacement, call ahead for an accurate estimate.  
A cheaper option is to purchase a remanufactured or rebuilt transmission—you could even go with a used transmission from a scrapyard. A salvage or scrapyard transmission will be the cheapest option, and you might even be able to snag one for less than $1,000. Keep in mind, though, that a salvage yard part will be less reliable, and you may have to replace it again at some point in the future.
A remanufactured transmission is one that BMW specialists have overhauled and rebuilt to manufacturer specifications. These parts will be more reliable than a used transmission and have a higher price tag, starting around $2,000 to $3,500 if you purchase the part independently. You will still need to account for labor. On the other hand, a rebuilt transmission has a starting cost of around $2,000 and up, but if you go with a company like
AAMCO
, they handle the installation and have a warranty. 

Does it cost more to repair a manual transmission or an automatic one?

It is generally cheaper to repair a manual transmission than an automatic one. That’s because manual transmissions have a more basic design and fewer parts, resulting in lower repair and replacement parts costs. 
If you drive a BMW with a manual transmission, you can expect the repair costs to be slightly lower than those of a Bimmer with a DCT or Steptronic Transmission. 

Common BMW transmission problems

While BMW is not known for producing vehicles with transmission problems—the most common complaint among BMW owners on CarsComplaints.com is engine trouble—that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t occasionally happen. 
The most common BMW transmission problems include the following:
  • Bad transmission mechatronic sleeve 
  • Faulty mechatronic bridge seal adaptor
  • Mechatronic (valve body) malfunction
  • The EGS transmission software needs to be updated
  • Problems with first gear
  • Faulty torque converter
Many transmission problems are caused by bad or low transmission fluid. Just like the motor oil in your car’s engine, the transmission fluid plays a vital role in your transmission’s health. You should get your
transmission fluid flushed
every 30,000 to 60,000 miles and regularly check the fluid level and condition in between flushes. 

What year BMWs have the most transmission problems?

As previously mentioned, BMW isn’t well-known for producing cars with transmission issues. However, there are some models with a track record for minor transmission problems—specifically, the mechatronic bridge seal adaptor commonly fails in these cars. The following vehicles have a history of minor transmission issues:
  • 2001-2008 BMW E65/E66 7 Series
  • 2004-2006 BMW E53 X5 V8
  • 2003-2010 BMW E60 5 Series
  • 2005-2011 BMW E90 3 Series
  • 2003-2010 BMW E63/E64 6 Series
  • 2007-2013 BMW E70 X5, excepting the 4.0d
  • 2008-2012 BMW F01/02 7 Series, excluding the 760i/Li and Hybrid 7

Signs your BMW transmission is going bad

As such an integral part of your vehicle, it’s important to know the warning signs of a bad or failing transmission. But what exactly are those warning signs? Let’s take a look at the most common symptoms of a faulty or malfunctioning transmission:
  • Trouble shifting gears. A bad transmission can cause your car to feel like it is hesitating between gear shifts. In cars with automatic transmissions, this might feel like a lurching sensation or a delay between gears. In vehicles with manual transmissions, the car might feel unresponsive after shifting. 
  • Inability to enter gear. If you can’t get the car to enter gear, there’s likely a serious problem with the transmission, including faulty sensors, broken internal components, or even dirty fluid. 
  • Unpleasant noise. A failing transmission may cause some scary sounds, like buzzing, whining, humming, or clunking. 
  • Jerks when accelerating. If your car jerks when accelerating, it could be a sign that the transmission is struggling to shift gears due to a malfunction. 
  • Grinding gears. If your BMW has a manual transmission, grinding gears are a common sign of transmission trouble. This might also feel like strange resistance when you attempt to shift gears. 
  • A burning smell. A burning smell without noticeable leakage can be a sign that your transmission is overheating due to damaged internals or bad fluid. Burning transmission fluid produces a distinct odor that smells more like burning rubber than oil. 
  • Fluid leaks. Transmission fluid is usually a rich red color, much like red wine. If you notice puddles of a dark red liquid beneath your vehicle, it could be a sign of transmission problems, and you should address it immediately. 
  • Dashboard warning lights. Your BMW may illuminate the
    check engine light
    or the transmission fault warning light if there is a problem with the transmission. 
If you suspect that you’re experiencing any of these issues, the best thing to do is take your vehicle to a professional mechanic as soon as possible for diagnosis and repair. 
If you have access to an onboard diagnostic (OBDII) scan tool, you can check your BMW for codes related to the transmission. Common engine codes that your car might display if you have a problem with the transmission include the
P0730 engine code
—this code indicates problems with the gear ratio—and the
P0846 engine code
, which is suggestive of transmission fluid pressure problems. 
MORE: Are BMWs expensive to maintain? 

What to do if your BMW transmission fails

If your BMW transmission fails, the smartest thing to do is take your car to the dealership or automotive repair shop. The earlier you address transmission problems after noticing them, the better.
You can keep the prices lower and expect better customer service at an independent repair shop. However, BMW dealerships have technicians explicitly trained to work on your car, and they will have precisely the right tools to handle the job. 

How to maintain your BMW transmission

The best way to maintain your BMW transmission—and prevent costly repairs down the road—is to regularly check and service the transmission fluid
Many transmission problems are the result of low or dirty fluid. To avoid these problems, you should:
  • Routinely check your transmission fluid (around once a month)
  • Use the correct type of transmission fluid recommended by your owner’s manual
  • In cars with automatic transmissions, avoid changing gears while moving (the exception is for drivers with Steptronic Transmissions or DTCs set to manual mode)
  • Regularly replace the transmission fluid and filter (BMW recommends servicing your transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles)
  • Get your transmission inspected annually
As with other components in your car, regular inspections and maintenance can prolong the life of the transmission and increase its performance. 

How to check transmission fluid

If you own a modern BMW, checking the transmission fluid is not as easy as checking the oil. That’s because BMW no longer produces cars with transmission fluid dipsticks. While it’s still possible to check the fluid level, it does require a bit more effort.
First, drive your car for at least 15 minutes to warm up the transmission. Ensure that you allow your vehicle to shift through all of its gears. Then, park your BMW on a level surface or place it on a lift and follow these steps:
  1. Step 1: Put the car in park but leave the engine running.
  2. Step 2: Lift the vehicle using a lift, ramps, or a jack with some jack stands. Be sure to keep the car level.
  3. Step 3: Locate the transmission fill plug and remove it. On some BMWs, the drain plug is used for this step. You will need to confirm which transmission your car has by using a repair manual or consulting with a professional. 
  4. Step 4: If the level is correct, a slight amount of fluid should dribble out of the hole. If no fluid comes out, the level is too low. 
Your transmission fluid should be a rich dark red color. If it is brown or black, the fluid is old or contaminated with debris, and the fluid and filter should be changed. Pink fluid contaminated by water or coolant can be catastrophic, often necessitating a complete transmission rebuild or replacement.
It’s also important to remember not to overfill your transmission. Transmission fluid expands when hot. And overfilling your transmission can result in shifting problems. 

How to save on BMW insurance costs

Regular transmission maintenance can help you save money in the long run. Another great way to cut down your vehicle expenses is to shop for car insurance with
Jerry
.
As a
licensed insurance broker
and the car owner’s super app, Jerry is committed to helping you get the best deals on insurance without sacrificing coverage. To get started, simply download the app, answer a few questions, and in about 45 seconds, you will have competitive quotes from today’s best providers.
“Insurance companies originally charged me $189 while driving my BMW 300 miles per year. Thanks to
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