Honest Transmission Shop – How to Avoid Being Scammed

Transmission repairs can be expensive, especially if a full rebuild is required. However, transmission repairs can be outrageous if the repair shop tries to scam you. Life is full of companies (and people) trying to take advantage of innocent individuals; don’t let transmission repair cause you unnecessary heartache. We discuss a few common scams to be aware of when you step foot into a transmission repair shop.

Do You Have a True Estimate?

Be wary of phone estimates. Unfortunately, some vehicle repair shops “lowball” over the phone to coax vehicle owners through the door – then demand an inflated final cost once the repair is complete. Other shops may suggest an exact price – be just as wary of this. Without a proper diagnosis, how can a how provide an exact price? Shops quoting precise repair cost over the phone often possess questionable quality standards and often do not complete transmission repairs in-house. Many shops might replace your transmission with a used unit and because they know their cost for that unit, they provide you an exact, marked-up price. Don’t be fooled: a high-quality transmission shop will have to complete the removal, disassembly and inspection of a transmission prior to proving a specific price. Over the phone quotes are a common transmission or general repair shop scam, and one to be easily avoided. Ask about the process of repair, the complexities of each stage, when a repair strategy will be provided, and an honest price range. You should be able to walk into the shop, see the damaged parts and get an explanation of the tailored rebuild strategy for your vehicle’s transmission.

Another good way to evaluate honesty and integrity is through Google reviews. If a transmission brand has multiple shops, it makes sense to read the customer reviews of all location to see if there’s a pattern of honesty and high-quality work across a brand. What are people saying about the repair shop? Are customers complaining about outrageously high pricing or unclear estimates? Or do shop users leave singing high praise? Taking a quick look through Google reviews is insightful.

Like customer reviews, what affiliations or awards does the business maintain? For example, only 1% of all automotive repair shops in America are designated “AAA Approved Auto Repair.” You are in better hands with a shop vetted by AAA than those that are not. Also, the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association (ATRA) is a network of the best transmission shops in North America. Does the transmission shop you’re speaking with have partnerships with other credible businesses?  Consumer advocations like Tom Martino or www.referrallist.com in Denver metro also work to identify businesses that operate with high ethical and quality standards. There are numerous 3rd party sources to validate the integrity of a business so take each with a grain of salt but try using customer reviews, affiliation and awards as a way to filter out the bad and identify the top performers.

Is a New Transmission Better than Rebuilt?

There is no such thing as a “new” transmission in most situations. Even at an OEM dealer, a salesperson might try selling an unknowing customer a “new” transmission however this is misleading. Dealers have factories where damaged transmissions get remanufactured. Transmissions evolve over time, so each model is only used for a few years and then a new variation is introduced. The original manufacturers of transmissions produce units that go into newly produced vehicles, not vehicles from a decade ago. If a dealer, general automotive shop or even a “transmission specialty shop” tries selling you a new transmission, hang up the phone or leave immediately!

Does “Lifetime” Fluid Really Last for a Lifetime?

Auto repair shops will commonly try to upsell customers. While additional suggestions may be legitimate, others are purely for monetary gain. One prime example is transmission repair shops offering a “lifetime” fluid. Even some manufacturers claim their fluid has the magical ability to last forever. In our opinion, “lifetime” fluid doesn’t exist. The right fluid for you depends on type of transmission and the specific make & model of your vehicle. One thing do we know about transmission longevity: if you periodically change your fluid, the lifetime of your transmission willbe extended, and costly repairs can be delayed or completely avoided!

Transmission Warranty – Worth It?

Not every transmission warranty is created equal, although salespeople may say any number of wild things to make you sign up for one. Be careful. We believe that a bad warranty is as good as no warranty.

Yes, warranties are important. A strong warranty from a credible transmission shop offers important protection. However, be warry of a few common warranty pitfalls we see customers often fall into:

  • Parts-only warranty for a used or remanufactured transmission: cheap transmissions often come with remarkable-looking warranties. Charm can be deceptive, though. You pay for what you get. Often these warranties only cover certain aspects of the repair – and used transmissions are notorious for failure. Even costly transmissions from a dealership often carries only a 12-month warranty!
  • Warranty covering cheap labor: some transmissions come with labor warranties. However, pay attention to the details. Certain warranties often cover labor to an extent. For example, a warranty may cover $50/ hour of labor. However, when the shop charges $150/ hour, you may still have a large labor bill at the end of a “warranty repair.”
  • Extended warranty on a newly purchased used vehicle: extended warranty companies make a habit of denying costly, transmission-related claims. Not all extended warranty companies use bad practices but be weary of the bad actors.
  • General automotive repair shop warranties: when in doubt, take your vehicle to a transmission repair shop rather than a general auto repair shop. Often, auto repair shops purchase cheap transmissions from junk yards, poised for failure. Plus, if something does go wrong, they won’t be able to diagnose the issue.

Advanced Transmission Center

As Denver’s leading transmission repair specialists, the team at Advanced Transmission Center is dedicated to honesty, integrity, and top-quality workmanship. Our aim is total customer satisfaction, every time. Utilizing the latest diagnostic equipment, we accurately identify and repair all automatic & manual transmissions. Learn more about how we are your best local transmission repair shop in Colorado.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch! Call our Westminster (Northwest Denver) location at (303) 421-4140, our Lakewood (Southwest Denver) location at (303) 922-4102 or contact us online to get started today!

Written by Advanced Transmission Center