The transmission to your car is often one of the most expensive pieces to replace or repair, but it is also one of the most important parts of the car. Once it starts to slip, grind or otherwise act up, you want it replaced or repaired at once; ignoring any problems with the transmission can mean having the car get stuck in gear and facing even bigger repair bills. Note a few questions you might have about transmission and gearbox repairs so you know what to discuss with your mechanic and what to expect about their work.

1. What is included in a transmission rebuild?

Not every transmission needs to be outright replaced; yours might be rebuilt, which is when the mechanic takes it apart, finds the issue or problem, replaces parts as needed and then reassembles it. However, it's good to ask your own mechanic about what is included in his or her rebuild. Some don't include the cost of what are called 'hard parts', or parts of the transmission that are not supposed to break or need repairs. If these hard parts need replacement, the cost of your transmission rebuild could easily increase over the cost of a standard rebuild without hard parts.

2. What is a transmission flush?

Many transmission problems are caused by old fluid that has collected dirt, dust, rust flecks and other such debris over the years. Even though you may be faithful about adding new fluid to your transmission as needed, if you don't flush out the old, dirty fluid, this debris gets caught in the transmission itself. In turn, the gears and chains can start to lock up. Your mechanic may say that you may simply need a flush of fluids to get your transmission working properly again, and this repair job is a good place to start with most transmission problems.

3. Why would a transmission break down sooner than noted by the manufacturer?

Your car's manufacturer or owner's manual will usually tell you the expected lifespan of the vehicle's transmission, but note that the transmission itself may suffer more wear and tear if you haul anything or if the vehicle is always heavily weighed down. This is because that added weight pulls on the chains and gears, so the transmission's parts start to wear down and erode from this corrosion and weight. If you don't keep the fluid levels topped off, this can also cause added corrosion on the transmission's parts and early breakdown.