6 Symptoms of a Bad Transmission Valve Body (and Replacement Cost)

A transmission valve body is a major component of an automatic transmission. It’s essentially a maze-like control center made up of valves, passageways, and solenoids that diverts transmission fluid to where it’s needed for gear changes.

While not a common part to fail, when you do have some type of malfunction in the transmission valve body, it’s not a simple fix. Your options are either to replace or rebuild it. Here is how an auto trans valve body works along with common signs and symptoms you may experience when a transmission valve body is bad.

How a Transmission Valve Body Works

All automatic transmission systems have a valve body which serves as the “brain” of the transmission. There are dozens of various passages and channels within the valve body which direct the flow of pressurized hydraulic fluid to different valves in order to activate the right clutch pack or band and shift to the most appropriate gear based on the current driving situation.

Think of each channel as a tumbler on a lock which has to perfectly line up so transmission fluid is directed where it should.

The valves that make up the valve body each serve a different purpose and their names reflect what they do. For example, the valve body has a 2-3 shift valve which is responsible for up shifting from 2nd gear to 3rd gear. And if there’s going to be a downshift from 4th gear to 3rd gear, then the 4-3 shift valve would be responsible for that.

auto-trans-valve-body

Types of Valve Body

There are two main types of valve body. The first type is the electronic valve body which uses the electronic system ECT (electronic controlled transmission) as its main control to operate all shifting on an automatic transmission. Many newer cars use this electronically controlled transmission (ECT) which has bands and clutches that are operated via hydraulics.

However, an electric solenoid valve is used to control each hydraulic circuit. This is what allows the transmission to have more elaborate and advanced control schemes than non-electronically controlled transmissions. The controller of the transmission can monitor the throttle position, vehicle speed, anti-lock braking system, and the engine speed.

The other type of valve body is called the hydraulic valve body. This system works by using hydraulic pressure to control each valve that’s linked to the shifting lever.

When you change the handle’s position, it will uncover and cover certain passages in the valve body to accommodate that position. So, if you were to change the gear lever to “Drive,” then fluid would be directed into the clutch and 1st gear would be activated.

6 Common Symptoms of a Bad Transmission Valve Body

If you have a failing automatic transmission valve body, there are some clear symptoms that you should look out for.

#1 – Harsh or Delayed “Garage Shifts”

One of the most common signs you have a problem with your transmission valve body is a delay (2 or more seconds) or harsh shift when shifting from Park to Drive or Park to Reverse. These are commonly referred to as “garage shifts”.

If you have a problem with only one scenario (example: Park –> Reverse), try to limit the amount of times you’re in that situation even if it means backing into the garage or a parking space each time.

#2 – Incorrect Up or Down Shifting

While driving, you may notice that your transmission is shifting into a higher or lower gear at the wrong time. For instance, you may be going up a hill and even though you want the transmission to shift down to give you more power, it instead shifts into a higher gear making the drive up the hill much more difficult.

In addition, you could be driving a steady 60 MPH on a level highway and your transmission sporadically shifts into either a higher or lower gear for no reason. Any type of erratic shifting can be a symptom of a bad transmission valve body.

#3 – Shift Flares

When everything in your transmission is working correctly, in between every shift the engine RPM should briefly decrease on an up-shift (ie: 3rd to 4th gear) to match up with the higher gear. A “shift flare” is when the opposite occurs: the engine RPM instead increases on an up-shift.

#4 – Banging or Knocking Sounds

If you hear a banging or knocking sound as your gears change while accelerating (up-shifts) or slowing down (down-shifts) or when putting your car into reverse, that may be an indication of a faulty valve body.

#5 – Gear Slippage

While it could be something else like low transmission fluid or worn transmission bands, when your transmission slips out of gear while driving, it could mean your valve body is going bad. With a slipping transmission, your vehicle may try to up-shift but then quickly falls into a lower gear. Or it may even refuse to shift into a higher gear which makes your engine run at a higher RPM than usual.

#6 – Check Engine Light On

If you experience any of the symptoms above and your check engine or malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) comes on, it’s a good idea to scan your vehicle for stored diagnostic trouble codes. Since the transmission valve body is responsible for so many functions of the transmission, many transmission related DTC codes can pop up. These may include P0715, P0751, P0783, P0829, P2707, among others.

It is easy to ignore these kinds of symptoms in the beginning because they may not be so bad. But the problems with your valve body will often become more clear when you drive your car continuously for at least 30 minutes and your transmission fully heats up.

If you experience any of these problems, it’s advisable to take your vehicle to an auto repair shop and ask a mechanic for their expert opinion.

Transmission Valve Body Replacement Cost

transmission valve body replacement cost

Replacing your automatic transmission valve body is no easy task, which means it’s not cheap. For a complete job (parts + labor), expect to pay somewhere in the vicinity of $390 to $860.

Parts alone cost on average $250 to $500 but expect to pay more for certain makes such as Mercedes, Volvo, Porsche, and others. Labor costs for the 2-3 hour job will be around $140 to $360 depending on if you go to an independent mechanic or dealership.

You can slightly reduce your costs by purchasing a re-manufactured valve body assembly if one is available for your vehicle.

Note: Before agreeing on replacing the valve body, make sure the issue is simply not a bad transmission solenoid by getting a second opinion from a different shop. Replacing a transmission solenoid is much cheaper.

Replace vs Rebuild

Some transmission repair shops might offer the option of rebuilding your current valve body instead of replacing with a brand new (or remanufactured) one. This can sometimes save you some money, especially for some higher end cars. But should you do that?

Generally speaking, if you have a higher mileage car (100,000 miles or more), you should simply replace your valve body. For lower mileage cars, rebuilding the current transmission valve body is a fairly good option if you’re dealing with a good transmission shop.

 

Comments

  1. Hi please help BT 50 2011 3.0tdi auto. Only when it shirt from 4to5 it gift’s a double jurk when it shifts. Is it the valve body?

    • Possible cause from valve body, if you do not fix immediately, it will effect to plates and clutches on 4th to 5th area and maybe one way clutch will defective as well.

      Correct me if i wrong…

    • yes, it is possible, and once the valve body malfunction, it will burn also clutches and discs, so it need to dismantle immediately

      thank you

  2. I have a 2008 dodge nitro with a 3.7 motor. I recently had a lot of work done to it such as a new pcm , tune up , fuel induction service, #4 injector replaced , and most recently a TIPM replaced. Shortly after the TIPM was replaced my transmission was getting stuck in gear possibly 2nd. And than it stopped until the other day it started up again. I took it to a mechanic that I trusted this time and came up with a code of p0882. He checked over everything and couldn’t find a problem. He even tried to get it to act up again and no luck. He said it could have a bad TIPM. So since I still had a warranty on the parts and labor, I took it back to the dealership where I had all of that recent work done. They called me up and said that the valve body is going bad and needs to be replaced. What do you think the issue could be ? Is the dealership right? Or should I continue to drive it until it acts up again and throws a code? Any information would be greatly appreciated!

  3. I have a chrysler aspen 2008 with a 5.7 hemi..i keep getting a code of p0750.shift selenoid A i have replaced my selenoid pack and pcm..can it be possible that my body valve is causing this problems?hope to hear from u thanks

    • Usually when the selenoid malfuntion, it will effects to entire automatic transmission relative parts if not repair immediately

      • I have a 2004 2.0 vw jetta gls automatic. Yesterday while driving I notice the transmission was not changing. I looked down and some of the insulation around the gear was missing I see down in the compartment. Should I drive to a shop or have it towed

  4. Hi I have a 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 4×4. The reverse does not work. It sounds like it wants to go into reverse but not movement. It goes into drive just done. Hoping you can give some guidance.

      • I got stuck at the courthouse yesterday with the exact issue. Could not go in reverse. Sounded like it was in neutral but didn’t go anywhere. Shifted from 1-6 just fine once i got out. It was the valve body. Had it replaced yesterday. I have a 2009 bmw 335X with 170k miles 🙂 Around 700 for the fix. Better than a new transmission or junking the car!

  5. Hi, I have VW tiguan 2.0l petrol. I have faced the problem that the car is not moving in drive mode(D) after driving about 25 km. Spanner sign came on cluster after driving for a while, and there was difficulty in shifting gears.But it could be driven normally after cooling down.After allowing the vehicle to cool, drive was only possible in D1, D3.Even Reverse was not possible. Moreover, most of the return drive was possible only in D1 gear.I visited the VW dealer and they have replaced gearoil but still the problem is the same.Is this the problem due to fault in the valve body?

    • 2012 Kia picanto new atf ..won’t engage gears , car could hardly move as if slow motion..60kph is already @ 25rpm, when I get home R shift is harsh…few minutes later it’s gone PLS HELP

  6. Hi, I have VW tiguan 2.0l petrol. I have faced the problem that the car is not moving in drive mode(D) after driving about 25 km. Spanner sign came on cluster after driving for a while, and there was difficulty in shifting gears.But it could be driven normally after cooling down.After allowing the vehicle to cool, drive was only possible in D1, D3.Even Reverse was not possible. Moreover, most of the return drive was possible only in D1 gear.I visited the VW dealer and they have replaced gearoil but still the problem is the same.Is this the problem due to fault in the valve body?

  7. my car is Mitsubishi pajero junior 1997, yesterday while i was driving the car around some hilly road suddenly the car slams out of gear while the the selector in still in D position and the car stopped but the engine was working, and nothing happens in all gears D, 2,L and even in R or reverse the car doesn’t move at all.. please anyone who knows the problem help me out… Because i couldn’t figure it out.

  8. I have a 2004 bmw745i can i use the valve body off another 2004 bmw 745i. I switch mines out now its only flashing in park

  9. Have an infinity g35x was driving loud bang then my slip light keeps flashing and sound like a bike chain that cannot catch does go into gears tho plz help

  10. I got a 2004 nissan maxima 3.5 v6 with a 5 speed automatic transmission. When it’s cold it goes into drive good but when it gets up to operating temperature it bangs into drive could that be a valve body causing the problem?

  11. I own a golf 5 DSG GTI. And it doesn’t change gears from 1 to 2 To 3. It change manually on the steering pedals…what might be the problem for it not to change gears ?

  12. I have a 2008 audi A8 3.2 L car. The problem started with a jerk which shifting the automatic transmission gears either in reverse of into D mode. There would be a violent jerk.Sometimes the car would also stall while going up a steep incline and it would seem as if the gears are shifting in the transmission.

    One more problem occurred that while driving normally at various speeds there would be a sudden jerk as if the transmission changed gears or a fuel supply issue occurred.

    the local Audi dealer ship changed the fuel filter and the control unit of the transmission. This has greatly reduced the gear jerk from stationery position but not eliminated it. The jerk feeling while driving is still felt once in a while. The Audi dealer said that when they opened up the transmission they observed that the Valve body is damaged and needs replacement as the circuits on it are not properly transmitting the signals and the jerks are as a result of this.

    I live in Lahore, Pakistan and there are not many highly qualified technicians here so your well considered advice will be greatly appreciated as Ive already spent over 5000 usd and the valve body and labour is another 4000 usd.

    Please help

  13. 2008 Ford F-250 super duty 6.4. Was driving down the highway at 65 to 70mph and the truck just down shifted by it’s self driving home did the same thing the got a code 0766 shift solenoid d stuck off before getting home it won’t not shift into over drive. Got to the road I live on the then it wouldn’t shift out of second. Got the solenoid from Ford replaced that and the filter and noticed one bolt was missing out of the valve body it was in the pan and three others were lose tighten them down put it back together same thing transmission wouldn’t shift into over drive and the temperature became normal in the transmission and wouldn’t shift out second again. Is the valve body bad please help.

  14. I drive fairly easy on the gas but still…. what about that rough jerk when accelerating from a complete stop, going to 2nd or 3.rd ? Doesnt seem to happen much when the engine is cold. It easily happens when it downshifts to an almost complete stop such as first gear will engage and when shifting up, it will jerk badly if I press the gas a little extra..
    So I’ve seen reman’d valve body at $200 bucks and that would be a great replacement if it cures the problem. What you think ?
    I certainly don’t want to spend +$2,000 on a new transmission a valve body on a truck that is worth about $2500 🙁 … I like this truck (Ford Ranger 2004, single cab, extra long bed is a bliss and I just replaced rear window gasket – was leaking; redid the ceiling lining and even went further and put an Outback roof console (yeah, it was cheap on ebay), and also bright LED internal lights… so I like this truck 🙂
    Thanks for the article.

  15. I was told by the dealership that the valve body has a problem. They have been trying to identify the issue for 10 months. They are replacing it now. Could this problem have affected other parts of the transmission? I am not sure what to ask to have them check and my warranty expires in 1 month. Thank you

    • If the problem started in the warranty period you should be covered especially because you have taken it in to the dealership to get looked at.

  16. My bmw e46 zf automatic transmission that works well for 20min on a nonstop straight drive and fails in 5,4,3 gear after 20min as it indicates (*) on the drive mode. Could it be atf or valve body or something else? Pls help.

  17. I just bought a 2016 altima and the valve body needed to be replaced. I bought it less than a month ago. Car is under warranty but im kind of skeptical now. Should the car be fine after replacement or should i see if i can change car? Bought it through a well known dealership.

  18. I have 2011 polo vivo clp i have problem changing the gears if i shift the gear stick to drive it makes a banging sound and it makes same sound when you shift to reverse and it remains on the first gear,pls help.

  19. I have an MG 3 salon car,2013 model,its the valve body that’s faulty but i can get the replacement to purchase.Do you have some dealers i can contact?

  20. Hi, i have a issan Pathfinder se 2003, i took it out for a drive one morning everything ok and then suddenly i observed on the way back that it i would have to rev up to 3000 rev/min b4 the gear changed to 2nd gear and after that it would not change to any gear after that , but would downshift back to 1st gear once i slowed down.

    pls what could be d problem and is it still manage to move around with?

  21. Good day..I have a Venda 2009 model and it was skipping gear so I just changed the valve body but after that I found out that the gear stops changing after the 4th gear.what could be the cause and how do I resolve it..thank you

  22. What might cause a with an automatic transmission that in 5th gear when given a punch of gas revs to very high rpm

  23. My volkswagen transmission slips between first and second gear. You can see the rpms shoot up inbetween gears before in engages second gear. Have warranty for transmission but they claim the repair shop cannot show physical signs of damage therefore they deny the coverage. There are also no warning lights on dash. Any suggestions on how to prove its the valve body?

    • Actually if you need proof for the warranty claim, workshop can do active test using scan tool. scan tool can record the data for failure condition. it look like your car has delayed shifting.
      as you said the transmission has slips, if you keep run at this condition, the plates and clutches will be burn

  24. I got a Madza 3, 1.6, it lights AT Light then skips gears, from 1 to 4. What could be the problem? But if the AT light is off it changes gears just fine.

  25. Hello,
    I have Mercedes W202 C200 1999 automatic transmission , recently i have replaced conductor adapter 13 pin and Gasket , now the gear does not shift to up gears during drive it moves with 1 , 2 , 3 and not change the gear automatically to up shifts as well when it is in D after moving and push the accelerator pedal the gear not change and the it stick have to press break pedal and then it goes to the manual.
    so please tell me what is the problem? does it relate to the transmission body valve or other things. what should i have to do to fix this issue.

  26. I have a 2007 Porsche Cayman S, new to me, with the auto tiptronic trans. I notice when driving in the auto mode, around residential area mainly, the rpm’s will fluctuate a bit…a very slight rev… while going thru the gears. Doesn’t feel like its slipping….no jerking or sounds other than the slight rev…..Usually in 4th or 5th and only when the car is lugging. Seems to shift at about 2000 rpm’s and lugs a bit at slower speeds (kind of normal from what I have learned as far as the lug goes).

    I can make it do it at about 40 mph which is about 2000 rpm…rpm needle jumps a bit, almost like it doesn’t like being in 5th at that speed and is searching for 4th???

    Odd thing is it doesn’t behave like that as much when in manual mode, shifting gears myself…i am guessing because I shift it higher than the 2000 rpm as the auto mode does

    Explained all this to my mechanic…had all the trans fluid and filters replaced (needed it app 72,000 miles) and he reset the computer for it to “re learn” my driving habits????

    Had trans fluids all re checked and all good there. Mechanic suggests rebuilding valve body, THINKS that will cure the problem…

  27. 2018 GMC Canyon. I owned it for 2 weeks and 500 miles before it failed to start, then ran in what seemed like only first gear. It’s been at dealer’s shop for close to 2 weeks. They now are saying that it needs a new Automatic Transmission Valve Body. Bad luck or just the first of what may be many future problems?

  28. Can dirty/neglected trans fluid cause valve body malfunction? My 1995 Escort was shifting funky at slow speeds but after a few more fluid changes everything smoothed out. Assumed it was the some valve body crud. I typically removed 2 quarts of warm fluid from the fill tube every other time I changed the oil vs dropping the pan. Recently sold the perfectly running, 23 yr old Ford with 175,000 city miles. The trans filter was changed @ 75,000 miles when I got the car in 2000.

  29. I got a VW Sharan 2.8 tiptronic, I got no reverse , can drive in all other gears , but gets a hard jerks when it changes over to 3rd gear. I am not driving the vehicle at this moment but would like to fix. I was told that there are four solenoid valve that can be replaced and it will fix the problem. Can enaone help me , please.

    Thanks
    Luqmaan

    • It’s definitely possible the control solenoids need replacing. Also make sure your transmission fluid is at the correct level.

  30. Hi, have a 03 nissian altima it’s automatic it’s had a little rough shift for the last 6 months if hard on the gas.
    So did a timing chain repair on it and was running great better than it ever has, went to work turned it off went to leave for break put it in reverse and it wouldn’t move like the brake is holding it but will go through all the gears fine no weird noises or banging just a little wissle sound like it has low fluid and neutral goes forward but no power at all

  31. my sister took her Toyota sienna to have transmission rebuilt. shop completed work but noticed that car shifts odd. now they are telling her the transmission valve body is bad and needs replacing. is this something that should be replaced when rebuilding a transmission off the bat?

    • The valve body doesn’t necessarily need replacing during a transmission rebuild but any reputable transmission repair shop would also be testing the valve body at the time.

  32. I drive a Mercedes Benz E200 Kompressor W211, 2006 facelift. I have a problem with my automatic transmission and from my research on the 722.6, I am having shift flares from 2-3 (in between shifts from 2 to 3, there’s a slight high rev) and 3-4 (having high revs before engaging) and lately it has been going into limp home mode frequently. I have done 3 fluid changes where I changed filter, adapter plate and O-Ring and nothing changed. Need your advise please as I suspect this could be an issue with the valve body.

    • If you’re not noticing any transmission fluid leaking, I’d consider the valve body, torque converter, or vacuum leak at the intake manifold gaskets.

  33. I have a 2004 KIA Sadona.
    5 minutes on the road and I loss all power. I cannot accelerate at all. Can you give me some insight please.

  34. 2006 Audi A6 Quattro with minor slipping from 1st to 2nd and very little in third have a diagnostic check they said valve body bad with the replacement cost of $4008 I’m thinking it’s possibly just the solenoid from 1st to 2nd and possibly third as well what are you think ? Thanks 🙏

    • Bad valve body solenoids are likely. Either find and replace the bad solenoid(s) or the entire valve body (some cars require this).

  35. I have a 2006 Camry I noticed it hard shifts from 1,2 and on 3to4 it double jerks but runs well on 4to 5 does not slip off does not downshift inappropriately down shifts well but when I took the gearbox down I noticed the clutch plates were work the solenoid is bad and the filter is clogged do you recommend changing the valve body also

  36. I have got Toyota 110 5A engine with transmission problem; the car starts well but when you engage drive, it delays for like two to three seconds then jerks as it engages the gear then moves.
    while it’s on sometimes it engages without any problem but reverse has no problem…
    what might be the problem?

  37. I have a 2007 Chevy trailblazer that will no go in reverse but all other gears seem to shift fine. Everytime the check engine light comes on it seems to throw a different code one was a wheel speed sensor one was a camshaft timing sensor and one was a torque converter clutch solenoid and my abs light is on as well as my faction control light what could cause all this

    • I have a 2011 dodge grand caravan crew. I had the engine light come on, took it into the dealership and they said that the valve body needed done and it was going to be $1,900 after taxes to replace it and do an transmission flush and a new filter. This seems super high but other places seem to be quoting around the same.. is this right?

  38. 2004 f150 4.6 v-8trition truck will only go in reverse do u think it’s the values over 200,miles on transmission mechanic wants to repair for $1400.00 am I getting taken or is this really the problem an he wants to warranty for 1yr after repaired,I replaced a solenoid an filter an fluid an go the same result not forward only reverse give me some recommendations please before I spend 1400.00

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