Transmission solenoids are electromechanical valves responsible for managing the fluid’s flow. These usually come in a pack installed in the transmission solenoid unit, valve body, or control module. The essential function of a transmission solenoid is to direct the transmission’s fluid into the vehicle’s body to attach to the right gear.
We’re well-acquainted with pressurized hydraulic fluids in today’s modern era, which are vital to shift gears too. But what happens when they fail to do so? How would you understand the bad transmission solenoid symptoms?
It’s pretty clear that if the fluid flow is hindered, it can cause significant damage to your vehicle. Hence, we’re here to unveil every minute symptom and error you must know for a transmission solenoid repair.
Bad Transmission Solenoid Symptoms:
Let’s take a gander at some of the most common transmission solenoid symptoms.
1. Check Engine Light
The very first sign of a faulty system is the solenoid check engine light lighting up. Check engine lights could show you errors such as the P0700 trouble code. This code is a direct gateway for knowing that your automatic transmission solenoid control is acting up. This light could switch on for other problems in the transmission too.
2. Shift Delays
When the solenoids in cars detect any issue within the control system, it can cause a significant delay in shifting. The delay can occur during downward and upward shifting.
Related: How to fix transmission shifts hard when warm
3. Warning Light
Few models are equipped with transmission warning lights. When the system within goes haywire, the transmission shift sensors detect the issue and show the user a warning light. However, to read these codes, you need OBD2 scanners, and they have to be of top-tier quality to illuminate both enhanced and generic codes.
4. Skipped Gears
Do you know how many solenoids are in a transmission? There could be two or more solenoids in your car, and unfortunately, the gear might skip even if one of the solenoids is broken. The vehicle might have more than one solenoid, so it could shift and skip the second solenoid altogether and jump to the next.
5. Stuck Gear
If the solenoids in transmission are damaged instead of engaging the gear, they might get stuck. Once you see the signs of a stuck gear, you can release the gear or assist it with external power.
When the vehicle’s engine gets onto lip mode, it’s mainly because of the 2500-3000 RPM. This can affect the transmission shifts as it limits the transmission within three gears. Limp modes are caused when any of the solenoids in these transmissions are faulty.
7. Up & Downshift Issues
Any intermittent issues with the auto transmission solenoid will cause problems during shifting. One of the clear signs of this occurrence is facing shifts with extremely high or low RPM.
Related: Bad Transmission Control Module Symptoms
Transmission Solenoid Replacement Cost:
Depending on the quality and brand, an overall transmission solenoid replacement cost should be around $100 to $400.
Moreover, if you’re opting for a single solenoid, it could cost approximately $15 to $100. On the other hand, the total price of one pack could be $50 to $300. Consequently, you will have to pay about $60 to $100 to the professional to change transmission solenoids which should take around two to four hours.
However, let us simplify the pricing for you without the extra charges of fluid replacement and diagnosis.
- Valve body replacement cost – $500 to $1000
- Shift solenoid pack replacement cost – $300 to $600
- Single shift solenoid replacement cost – $50 to $150
The choices are endless. Therefore, you can replace the section as needed. Some models require that you change the entire pack and don’t allow a single solenoid replacement. So beware of that before you purchase.
You can also let the transmissions serve you for an extended lifetime by changing them as per the recommendations.
As transmission solenoids can gradually accumulate grime and dirt, the manufacturers recommend users replace them in a specific interval. This promotes the good health of the transmissions and refrains the insides of the plungers from sticking.
Related: Bad Hydraulic Lifter Symptoms
- Where is transmission solenoid located?
Transmission solenoids are situated in the transmission control module, control unit, or valve body. Transmission control units are devices that control the automatic transmissions and utilize sensors to measure the inner works of each of the electrical compartments in your car.
- What does transmission solenoid do?
Solenoid transmissions are elements in your car which responsible for closing or opening the valves in the body. This can either prevent or allow the fluids from entering the system. These fluids, in return, are essential to pressurize the bands and clutches, which change the gears rapidly.
- How to replace transmission solenoid?
Here’s how you can replace the transmission solenoid in your car if it’s acting up.
- Disengage the negative cables of the battery.
- Securely raise your vehicle.
- Empty the existing transmission fluid.
- Extract the fluid pan.
- Locate the downshift solenoids.
- Detach the solenoid’s wiring.
- Remove the transmission solenoids.
- Change the transmission solenoids.
- Connect the wiring harness.
- Reattach the pan cover.
- Refill the transmission fluids.
- Test transmission solenoids functions to see if it’s working correctly again.
- What is the purpose of a transmission?
Transmission’s purpose is to allow the gears of the engines to change. It will enable the power to transfer from the engine to the wheels and let your car propel forward. For manual cars, you can build the speed by moving onto the gears one after another.
Related: R154 vs W58: Car Transmission Comparison
Let’s boil it down. We’ve understood that detecting the bad transmission solenoid symptoms is just as crucial as aftercare.
How would you pinpoint what’s wrong with your vehicle if you don’t know the origin of the issue?
Hence, locating and comprehending the various error codes and warning lights play a vital role in correctly eradicating them later. Solenoid for transmissions might come off as trivial components to your car, but once these minor objects start acting up, your vehicle will face a vicious cycle of bad health.
But, not to worry, now that you know every possible symptom of the problems, you can immediately identify them and get to work!
Simon graduated with a Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Degree. He has over 20 years of servicing experience in both Japanese and German car dealerships. He now acts as a freelance mechanic’s instructor for local schools.