The transmission solenoid is the main part of the transmission system. This part of your vehicle is one of the major sources to control your gearbox.
The efficient working of the part is mandatory for the proper functioning of the car. When you drive your vehicle with a bad transmission solenoid, it can be dangerous. Initially, your car won’t make it obvious that there is some problem with it, but gradually you start feeling the issue.
Maintaining the component will make your car run smooth and serve the purpose efficiently. As the solenoid is the key part of the transmission system therefore, it is suggested to keep the solenoid operating perfectly. If any malfunction is diagnosed, fix it as soon as possible. Take an idea of the cost you need to spend to fix it and always prefer a trusted technician to repair or replace the parts or the entire system. It is better to resolve the issue in the initial stage because in case it is exaggerated, it can be very costly. To stay one step ahead you must know the system in detail. Let’s dive in!
Transmission Solenoid System In Detail
Transmission fluid in the system holds paramount importance. It keeps your gearbox cool and prevents overheating. Moreover, it assists the system to control the drivetrain and transfer them the power of the engine effectively. Therefore, ensure that the fluid is flowing in each part of the system. The solenoids are the valves that allows the fluid to transfer through the system. It is the electro-hydraulic valve that receives the power from the battery of the vehicle. Thus, the battery of the car should be working properly in order to make the transmission system work appropriately.
There is a transmission control unit in the car which is responsible to control the opening and closing of the valves. When the solenoid receives electric signals from the control unit, it opens or closes accordingly. The speed sensors installed in the engine grabs the data from the solenoid.
If malfunctioning of any solenoids is detected, you should fix it immediately. Otherwise, it affects the system and the entire transmission can fail. The amount you need to spend to fix the solenoid is much less than that of the entire gearbox. The transmission solenoid will cost you around $400 whereas, replacing the entire system will charge you $3,500 or above. This can be very heavy on your pocket. To make it affordable and easy to restore, make sure to fix the solenoid immediately before the problem exaggerates.
You might be thinking that how can you detect that the solenoid is malfunctioning? Or it is difficult and inconvenient for you to visit a mechanic over and over again to get the system checked. But you don’t need to worry about it at all. Fortunately, there are some signs which you can easily diagnose if there is an issue with your shift solenoid. The indications include:
- Delay in gear shifting
- Downshift failure while the engine continues to revolve
- Transmission system stuck in a neutral position
- Shifting gears become difficult and hard
- Loud noises are heard while driving
On noticing any of these signs, get your transmission system checked immediately. And in case any issue is detected on inspecting the vehicle, make sure to fix it as soon as possible to avoid any future problem that might cost you more. All these signs occur when the solenoid of the system is not functioning properly. This ultimately leads to the failure of the entire system or we can say that this is just the beginning of the failure of your vehicle’s transmission system. Therefore, measures should be taken accordingly and promptly.
Working of a shift solenoid with an automatic transmission
In an automatic transmission system, the purpose of the solenoid is to shift the gears of your vehicle smoothly. To enhance the working and running of the vehicle, the control unit takes the information from several parts. The parts of the vehicle which provide required information to the system are speed sensors, engine revs, etc. They help the system to decide when to change the gears. This makes your vehicle perform all the necessary functions with minimum fuel combustion hence increasing fuel efficiency. Timely shifting of gears also contributes to the productive use of power and providing great gas mileage.
The solenoid immediately opens and fluid starts flowing into the system as the power is supplied to it. The power is supplied by the control unit of the engine. As soon as the engine’s control unit realizes that the transmission needs to shift gears. The pressure of hydraulic fluid changes accordingly. The change of pressure depends upon the gears on which the vehicle is shifting. The torque converter of the vehicle changes the pressure to make the change. In an automatic transmission, the inner working of the system plays a significant role in the cost to repair and replace the system.
Transmission solenoid Warning Signs
The solenoid plays quite an important role in the vehicle’s automatic transmission system. The solenoids forms the basis of the automatic system. Any slightest disturbance in the solenoids will affect the vehicle’s automatic gear system directly, right away. If you observe any disturbance or turmoil in the automatic system, then it might be indicating the transmission solenoid’s failure.
You might be thinking about why the transmission system of the vehicle fails. There are several reasons why the solenoid fails. One of the most dominant reasons for the failure of the solenoid is time. Everything in this world is worn out due to excessive use with time. However, some preventive measures assist in this slowing down of the failure of the transmission solenoid. The working of the fluid in the automatic gear system is as follows:
The solenoid of the vehicle is best labelled as a combination of an electrical system and a hydraulic (mechanical) system. When you change the gears of the vehicle the transmission control unit or the TCU of the vehicle sends a certain signal. These signals are encrypted to operate as directed by the driver. These signals are sent to the solenoids to shift the gears in a particular direction. The valves controlling the fluid, then open or close to direct the flow of the fluid. These valves work on the electricity that is converted into mechanical work to control the hydraulics. This fluid then reaches the intended destination and applies pressure onto the clutch. This applying of the pressure on the clutch allows the shift of the gears in the commanded direction.
The solenoid controls the shifting of gears in a vehicle containing an automatic gear system. These solenoid s govern complicated series of hydraulic tasks, that allows the vehicle to function similarly to the manual transmission. The solenoid used in an automatic system is of various kinds as follows:
- The Shift Solenoid
- The Lock-up Solenoid
- The Control Solenoid
The transmission solenoid of the automatic gear system is of key importance for the proper working of the vehicle. Hence the solenoid malfunctioning of the automatic gear system is recommended to be fixed immediately. You might be thinking of how to identify that the solenoid of the vehicle is malfunctioning? We have marked out some of the signs that the vehicle shows when the vehicle’s solenoid is malfunctioning. These symptoms of the solenoid malfunctioning are as follows:
The Erratic Shifting of the Gears
The erratic or inconsistent shifting of the gears of the vehicle is the first and foremost symptom that the vehicle gives off. In the case of delayed or erratic shifting of the gears, it is recommended to look at replacing the solenoids. When the transmission solenoids fails, the transmission system of the vehicle tends to skip gears. In this case, the gearbox skips single or multiple gears while shifting the gears either up or down. The gearbox often seems to shift the gears of the vehicle backward or forward or get stuck. This can cause problems in driving the vehicle or completely impairs you to drive the vehicle.
The Transmission of the Vehicle won’t Downshift
Another symptom of the malfunctioning of the solenoids is that the gear won’t be able to shift downwards. In such a condition, it is advised to get the transmission solenoids checked, fixed, or replaced as recommended. If the vehicle’s transmission won’t shift down, it might be because of the solenoids is stuck. One of the solenoids is probably fixed and wouldn’t function at all. This renders the transmission fluid blocked as it won’t enter the valves as required. When the transmission fluid would not enter the valve as necessary, it will not be able to apply pressure on the clutch. This problem is bound to continue even if you apply the brakes while attempting the gear shift.
The only real solution to this problem is getting the transmission solenoids fixed or replaced. This inability of the transmission fluid to apply the pressure onto the clutch will make the driving difficult or impossible.
Troubled Shifting of Gears
One of the signs of the faulty transmission is that the changing between the gears would be scratchy. You will feel bumps and disturbed ride whenever the gears are shifted. This is not counted as a real symptom as it can happen because of many other reasons as well. But this is among the most fundamental signs of a disruptive transmission solenoid . You must get your vehicle’s solenoids inspected, as it can save you from expensive replacement in the future.
Severe Delay in The Shifting of The Gears
The final sign that is shown by the vehicle if the transmission solenoids are broken-down is the delay in shifting. This delay in shifting of the gears of the vehicle is very severe, unlike in other vehicle problems. This delay in the shifting of the gears of the vehicle is specific to the problem with the solenoids. This problem is often accompanied by the gear stuck in one place and that is neutral. For the gear to be shifted efficiently the transmission system can adjust the pressure of the fluid properly. This is mandatory for the gear shift to operate efficiently.
The gears of the vehicle can be stuck or delay in shifting the gears because of lots of reasons. One of them is that not enough electric current is reaching the solenoids. Another reason is exactly opposite to the first one that is there is excessive current reaching the solenoids. Also, if the transmission fluid used contains any dirt or debris, the gear could be stuck or delay in shifting drastically.
The transmission solenoids of the vehicle are linked to the ECU (Electrical Control Unit) of the vehicle. When there is any problem regarding the transmission of the system the ECU turns on the light on the dashboard of the vehicle. The transmission system of the vehicle in response to this restricts the usage of the transmission to fewer gears. The transmission system in this condition only uses the second and the third gear. This allows the driver to drive the vehicle safely even in these conditions and restrict from speeding the vehicle. This process will keep you safe without completely letting the driving capability of the vehicle fail.
If you observe such delay in the shifting of gears while driving, you should consult a mechanic as soon as possible. You should get your vehicle inspected thoroughly by the use of a diagnostic scan tool. Using this tool, the mechanic and locate the sole cause of the problem and mark out the exact source. The reason could be quite simple ones as the bad grounding or a failed solenoid pack on the transmissions. A solenoid pack is a group of solenoids that are used in the transmission solenoid. This might give you an idea of the total replacement cost.
What is the right time to replace transmission solenoid?
The transmission solenoid should be changed immediately, once the issue is detected. You can easily tell that your transmission solenoid is not operating properly by noticing the symptoms mentioned above. If you notice that the gear is delaying in shifting it clearly shows that there is a problem with the opening and closing of the transmission solenoid. Due to the delay in gear shifting, you will experience a missing and grinding sound. Your vehicle will utilize more fuel hence your fuel efficiency drastically reduces. The speed of the car varies with sudden ups and downs. There are multiple other symptoms of faulty transmission solenoids.
Driving becomes more and more difficult for you with damaged transmission solenoids as time passes. A time comes when your car will stop and won’t start even on continuous ignition. The performance of the vehicle gets seriously affected if you keep delaying to resolve the problem. Moreover, fixing it timely will save you a massive amount which you would need to spend to fix the entire system.
There are many systems in your car and each system is so important to your vehicle. Every system among them can improve and reduce the drivability. Thus, if you feel that any system is not working in the designed way, instantly fix it. While fixing, make sure that you are handling your vehicle and the respective system carefully. Also, if you are taking it to a mechanic, concern a trusted technician. Remember that the system can make your vehicle unsafe and difficult for you to drive. They also affect other parts of your car and set them to malfunctioning.
Replacement Cost of transmission solenoid
The replacement cost of transmission solenoids depends on multiple factors:
- The year of your car
- The model you are using
- Make of your car
- How much work your want to do with your transmission solenoids
- Either you want to repair or replace the valve
These factors influence the replacement cost. If the transmission is not damaged so much or if only one needs replacement, it cost you less. However, sometimes when the technician is replacing transmission solenoids, they point out uncertain and illogical reasons to replace more than one, so make sure that the technician is trusted and offers top-notch service. Furthermore, the mechanic must be an expert in his work because the replacement requires to be smooth and strong. If the transmission is not properly installed, there is a risk that you get some transmission problems again.
In some cases, all the transmission solenoids need replacing. This calls for more money and is quite heavy on your pocket. This rapidly enhances the budget and you certainly have to spend more to replace it. The replacement is a massive job and demands a constant effort of 2-4 long hours. This will give you a clear idea of how much you have to pay for the labor. The replacement will cost you about $60-$140 for one hour. Generally, it cost you $150-$400 to get your vehicle inspected and the system replaced on the diagnosis of any fault.
Single solenoids are around $15-$100 to buy. The entire pack will be a bit more expensive and range between $50-$300. The labor cost would be $120-$400. A pack of could cost you $250-$600. Maintaining your vehicle timely and drive it carefully will reduce the total expense and save you from the extra effort.
Cost Comparison of The Transmission Solenoid Replacement
The replacement costs of the s vary significantly depending upon the place from where you are getting the replacement. There are some notable spots from where you can get the solenoid s replacements in today’s world as follows:
At your local mechanic, the average transmission solenoid replacement offered is from $520 to $685. Midas is a bit cheaper than the rate offered at your mechanic. Their price ranges between $515 and $672, they also offer a 12-month warranty on their product. Whereas at Mr. Tire you are offered a price between $503 and $699, and NAPA could cost $522 to $683. Walmart and Amazon are quite cheap as compared to the other but they should be so as they do not offer the services. They just charge you for the parts that you are buying. Walmart offers you the solenoids at costs ranging between $50 and $200, whereas at Amazon you can buy these parts from $30 to $190.
You might be thinking that among all these which will cost you the least with a satisfactory service? Well to save the most you can go replacing the s yourself as you will save all the labor cost. But this can only be accomplished if you have some knowledge on how it is done and have the adequate tools to complete the task. If you equate the risk, this option is least viable if you lack any of the things mentioned above. Another way to save most on your replacement of the transmission solenoids is to get the parts from the cheapest source. After getting this, you can get them replaced by a local, but trusted mechanic, who will cost you much less.