Been having issues with mine (2008 Ford Escape) and I’ve narrowed it down to a broken band. Found videos on YouTube and the process is pretty straightforward - lower the transmission, remove the pump, pull out the old band, replace it, etc., and of course make sure everything is done carefully.

Here’s the video:


I’ve called several transmission shops and none of them want to just replace the band, they want to rebuild the transmission and of course that would cost a couple thousand. When I say that I’m thinking about doing it myself, they start talking about how complex transmissions are and it’s always best to have a professional do it and of course that I should rebuild it, not just change the band.

I’ve been working on cars my entire life but I’ve never worked on a transmission (mostly because of how much I’ve heard about how difficult it is) and I’ve got the same speech from mechanics before about other things - changing spark plugs, valve cover gaskets, shocks/struts, even oxygen sensors, and I’ve fixed all of those things myself with no issues. I’m pretty confident in my abilities. But is a transmission actually different in that you really shouldn’t do it yourself, and that’s not just the repair shop trying to make money?

  • You might want to look at this answer. Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 20:24
  • I'm not saying you won't be able to do this yourself, but it's likely to require a LOT more know-how and tools that what you see in a 45 min. video. But hey, you probably have little to lose but some of your time. While not automatic, I once had the manual transmission in my 03 Mini Cooper go out. The dealer wanted $10K to install a new one, a used one was $5K installed. Car was worth $3500. I was able to remove, repair, and replace it myself but it was a lot of work and I ended up having to fabricate some "special" tools myself to complete the job.
    – jwh20
    Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 10:44
  • It is doable, I am not a mechanic, I rebuilt a 2006 Nissan 4spd auto a few years ago. Bought a rebuild kit, replaced all the gaskets and o-rings, replaced all the friction plates and steels, when tearing into it, discovered that the splines on the sun and planetary gear set were ground down, bought new one and replaced. Glad to find this actually as this was the cause of the no-go. Put it all back, installed, filled with trans fluid - shifted smooth as butter! Key is to be meticulous, I took pictures of everything, every step of the process. Took me weeks, but was very satisfying!
    – Glen Yates
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


If you want a challenge that will take longer than you think ,give it a try. When band and clutch materials wear they get debris everywhere . The whole transmission will need to be dismantled and cleaned. You probably want to replace all bands , clutches and other parts like "O" ring seals. Long ago I worked part-time in a shop; the trans were all mechanical with essentially no electronics so different from today. That also means you may need to work on electronics. On my own ,I did change out front seals and governors for the 1 to 2 shift in Jetaway type hyromatics. The point is I did not need to dismantle transmissions to repair them. In the shop, after he repaired or rebuilt a trans, he used air pressure in the valve body to verify that everything worked. Today you would also need to check electronics. The alternative is to hope every thing is good. I did know an amature that successfully rebuilt a trans , he was a PHD Mechanical Engineer. It can be done but it may become a new hobby.

  • Bottom line with automatic transmissions: if you aren't anal about your work and clean beyond belief, don't attempt it. Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 20:52
  • You are better off getting a used transmission from a junkyard than trying to rebuild this yourself @user72604.
    – GdD
    Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 8:57
  • Bands don't break ; the lining wears off, or the actuator fails , or the control system for the actuator fails. Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 14:39

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