Dodge Transmission Repair and Replacement Cost

Good maintenance habits can save you money in the long term. Dodge transmission repairs may cost up to $10,000! Here’s what you need to know.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Dodge transmission repair costs range from $300 to $10,000. For example, a simple transmission fluid flush will cost about $300, whereas you may have to pay up to $10,000 to completely replace a failed transmission with a brand new part. Unfortunately, some Dodge Ram trucks seem especially prone to transmission issues.
If you already own a Dodge, you need to know how to maintain your vehicle properly to avoid costly damage. On the other hand, if you’re in the market for a new car, you might be eager to find out which Dodge models are infamous for transmission failure. Either way, we’re here to help.
Here is a quick guide to Dodge transmission repair, including costs, maintenance habits, and failure symptoms. Your guide is
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How much does a Dodge transmission repair cost?

The price of a Dodge transmission repair will depend on three factors: the specific model you own, the level of damage, and which shop you hire. For instance, a rare model in a major city (where prices are higher) will probably cost more to repair than a popular model in a smaller town.
The range for Dodge transmission repairs is between $300 and $5,000. Expect to spend above $1,500 for most transmission services. If you need to replace the entire transmission, expect to pay between $3,000 and $10,000, depending on the model. Here are a few examples of how the prices can change between models:
  • Average
    Dodge Challenger SXT
    transmission replacement cost: $3,700 - $10,000
  • Average
    Dodge Caravan
    transmission replacement cost: $5,000 - $6,000
  • Average
    Dodge Ram 1500
    transmission replacement cost: $2,600 - $4,000
  • Average
    Dodge Journey
    transmission replacement cost: $3,000 - $6,700
  • Average Dodge Viper transmission replacement cost: $7,000 - $8,000
But full transmission failure isn’t the only type of Dodge transmission repair. Your vehicle may need one of these services instead:
  • Dodge transmission fluid flush: $200 to $300
  • Dodge shift cable replacement: $300
  • Dodge new clutch installation: $900 to $3,500
Transmissions are one of the most expensive repairs a car will ever need. The average Dodge transmission lasts about 200,000 miles—but the vehicle itself could run up to 300,000 miles! So if you plan to keep the car over the long term, you may need to replace your Dodge’s transmission at some point. Meanwhile, prioritize the more minor (and affordable) transmission repairs that will keep your car running smoothly for longer.

What does a transmission do?

Why is this part so darn special? The transmission delivers the appropriate amount of power from your engine to your wheels as your vehicle changes speed. To achieve this, it shifts gears. 
The transmission is a highly complex machine composed of many moving parts. Therefore, disassembling and repairing the transmission is very time-consuming, so the labor cost for repairs can be so high.
The vast majority of Dodges have an automatic transmission, with a few critical exceptions like the Viper, Challenger, and Dart rely on a
manual
stick shift. The
Dodge Caliber
is the only Dodge with an option for a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Is it cheaper to repair or replace a transmission?

Replacing a transmission is the most expensive kind of Dodge transmission service. It will cost several thousand dollars, although the exact figure will depend on the type of transmission.
At the very top of the price range is an OEM replacement. This means you completely replace your old transmission with a genuine Original Equipment Manufacturer part with a Dodge technician. Contact your local dealership for quotes on parts and labor, but be prepared to pay toward the highest end of the quoting spectrum. 
At the middle of the price range is a remanufactured or rebuilt transmission, and you can go about this a few different ways. Contact a trusted transmission specialist like
AAMCO
, who offers discounts and
warranties
for a quality rebuilt transmission. Depending on the year and model, the starting cost will be around $2,000. 
A remanufactured Dodge transmission is one that a Dodge specialist rebuilt. For a reasonable price, you can purchase a remanufactured transmission from a large auto part store like
Advance Auto Parts
. Plus, they have a
handy online transmission search tool
where you can easily find the correct transmission and straightforward pricing. Remember, their prices do not include installation; you will need to find your own mechanic.
The cheapest option will be a used transmission that you find at your local salvage yard. While it might be a bargain, this option is the most unreliable unless you know exactly what to look for. 

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

Automatic transmissions are more complex so they usually cost more to repair.
If you drive a Dodge Challenger with a manual transmission, expect to pay between $4,000 and $5,000 for a new transmission. But if you drive a Dodge Durango with an automatic transmission, expect to spend between $8,200 and $9,500 on a
Durango transmission replacement
.

Common Dodge transmission problems

Dodge falls in the middle of the pack with regard to frequency of transmission problems. Dodges tend to have more transmission problems than Toyotas and Hondas but fewer problems than Kias and Nissans.
On CarComplaints.com, transmission issues were among the most common problems reported for the Dodge Ram 1500, Dodge Caravan, and Dodge Dart.
In addition to general transmission failure, some Dodges may struggle with specific problems related to the transmission:
  • Malfunctioning torque converter 
  • Failing solenoids
  • Loose anchor shaft
  • Faulty output speed sensor 
The most common cause of transmission problems—in Dodges and other makes—is insufficient, leaking, or dirty transmission fluid. Therefore, you should flush and refill your transmission fluid annually or according to the service interval set out in your owner’s manual.

What Dodge years have the most transmission problems?

Dodge Ram trucks seem to have the most transmission problems. Here are the models and model years that you should be wary of:
  • 1999 - 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 with the 45RFE transmission 
  • 2011 - 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan

Signs your Dodge transmission is going bad

It can be tricky to diagnose a faulty transmission correctly. Noises, leaks, and rough handling could signify a multitude of problems. But here are a few key signifiers that your Dodge transmission is going bad—especially if your Dodge has more than 100,000 miles on the odometer:
  • Knocking sounds when accelerating: This could indicate a loose transmission mount.
  • Squealing or buzzing in reverse: This may be caused by a faulty regulator valve.
  • Grinding or rattling: These noises may come from a worn out needle bearing in the torque converter.
  • Sweet smell and a rust-colored puddle: If you smell something sweet, check under your vehicle for a leak. Don’t drive with insufficient transmission fluid.
  • Erratic shifting: This may point to a problem with the transmission control unit.
  • Check Engine Light: This could signify transmission issues—get your Dodge checked out ASAP if this warning light illuminates.
You can use an OBD-II (onboard diagnostics) scanner at home to check for fault codes that indicate transmission problems. The
P0730 engine code
is a common offender. It indicates an incorrect gear ratio. Another common result is the
P0846 engine code
, which means the transmission fluid pressure is off.

What to do if your Dodge transmission fails

Transmission problems can become dangerous and expensive very quickly
As soon as you notice an unusual symptom associated with transmission failure, book your vehicle for the next appointment at a local auto shop or Dodge dealership. Delaying the repair could lead to more damage, costing you thousands of extra dollars to fix.
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How to maintain your Dodge transmission

The first transmission maintenance task every Dodge owner should prioritize is fluid flushes and topping up. Low fluid could force your vehicle to work too hard, putting strain on your transmission. Dirty, contaminated fluid could lead to dangerous overheating.
Here are several ways to maintain your Dodge transmission and avoid problems: 
  • Check your transmission fluid regularly, around once per month
  • Use the correct type of transmission fluid as recommended by your Dodge’s owner’s manual
  • Replace the transmission filter according to the service interval in your manual
  • Warm up your vehicle properly before you start driving
  • Book a transmission inspection once per year
Safety and cost-savings are easier to achieve than you may think. All it takes is regular transmission maintenance to extend the life of your Dodge’s transmission. 

How to check transmission fluid

If you know how to check your engine oil, then it’s easy to learn how to check your transmission fluid. The only significant difference is that you check transmission fluid while the car runs.
Start by turning on the car and allow the engine to run for a few minutes. This gives the fluid time to expand so you can take an accurate reading. Now, here’s what you need to do to check the transmission fluid on a Dodge:
  • Find the transmission fluid dipstick or the fill hole and plug
  • Retrieve the dipstick to assess the quality and level of fluid
  • Unplug the fill hole and observe the fluid that drains out
Note that many late-model cars have sealed transmission systems. This means no dipsticks and no regular fluid maintenance. 
Health transmission fluid is dark red with a slight translucence. Old fluid may appear brown or black and there may be clumps of material. Light pink fluid is a bad sign, as it could indicate that the transmission fluid is contaminated with coolant.
If you’re uncomfortable performing this service, bring your Dodge to a professional for a quick inspection.

How to save on Dodge insurance costs

Saving money on car expenses
doesn’t mean scrimping on necessities. It’s important to perform regular maintenance on your Dodge to keep repair costs low. 
But there’s an even easier way to reduce the cost of car ownership: find cheaper Dodge insurance using the free
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