If you hang on to your car long enough, eventually the transmission is going to wear out. After all, the moving gears and parts inside of the transmission weren't meant to stand up to the wear and tear of hundreds of thousands of miles. If you happen to have a transmission fail on you, your two options are to go for a rebuilt transmission or a brand-new one. Most people choose a rebuilt for two reasons: cost and performance.

What About Cost?

In general, rebuilding a transmission will cost about half of what a brand-new transmission runs. (And that's assuming you can find a brand-new one. Most sold from dealerships are refurbished or repaired at the factory and sold as new.) According to the owner of a transmission shop in Ohio, a rebuilt transmission costs about half of what a new one does.

The reason that the cost is lower is that when you rebuild a transmission, you're only replacing the parts that are worn out. Those are the bands, clutches, seals, and gaskets. Additionally, these newer parts have the benefit of being updated from the original models with all the minor errors from the original transmission corrected.

What About Performance?

When you compare the performance of a rebuilt transmission to a remanufactured one, you're not going to find much difference. With proper maintenance, the rebuild is going to last side by side with its more expensive factory cousin, with very few exceptions. That means that if you're looking to replace your transmission, you're going to get the same bang for a lot less buck. And saving money isn't a bad thing.

What About Drawbacks?

There are some drawbacks to getting a rebuilt transmission. The first is time. In general, it takes longer for the rebuild to happen because it's done on-site by the shop. So if you need to get on the road on a schedule, this could cause a few problems. The second drawback is the warranty length. In general, rebuilds have a shorter warranty than remanufactured transmissions. However, if you deal with a shop that you trust and know does quality transmission work, rarely does a warranty come into play.

In the end, choosing between a rebuilt and brand-new transmission comes down to how much you're willing to spend and the time you have to get the transmission installed. As always, make sure you deal with licensed professionals for all of your transmission needs.

For more about this topic, talk with a mechanic near you.