Your car has tons of sensors on it that relay information to the main control unit. Sensors record the status of instruments and also give cues to change car systems.
One important sensor is the transmission range sensor. This sensor is a very important part of your gear shift assembly and may need replacing eventually.
On average, you can expect to pay $289 to replace a transmission range sensor. The cheapest option would be about $200, while the most expensive transmission range sensor replacement would cost $500. Both of these figures assume professional installation, and for DIY expect to pay about $40 for the part.
Below you will find the labor cost and part cost based on the model of the car.
- What is a Transmission Range Sensor?
- How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Transmission Range Sensor?
- Transmission Range Sensor Parts
- Factors that Affect Transmission Range Sensor Replacement Costs
- Signs of a Bad Transmission Range Sensor
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words
What is a Transmission Range Sensor?
The transmission range sensor is a component of your car’s computer control system that determines the position of the gear shifter.
The range sensor feeds data to the powertrain control module, which then makes a decision about which gears to disable or enable. In other words, the range sensor ensures that your car knows which gear it’s in at all times.
There are two major kinds of range sensors: Hall and inductive sensors. Hall sensors detect magnetic fields to gauge the position of the gear switch. Inductive sensors instead use electrical fields to sense position and motion.
Most modern cars use Hall sensors because they can detect static magnetic fields, not just changes in the electric field. However, inductive transmission sensors are usually less expensive to replace because the circuit is less complex.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Transmission Range Sensor?
|BMW 3 Series||$280|
The above table shows you can expect to pay around $350 on average to replace a transmission range sensor. The typical price range is $200 on the low end up to $500+ on the higher end.
Generally speaking, modern cars will be more expensive to repair because they most likely use Hall sensors, which are more expensive than inductive sensors.
Below is a table showing the average cost for transmission range sensor replacements for various popular models of cars. Keep in mind that these prices are averages and will differ based on the age of your car and your mechanic’s location.
As you can see, the price for transmission range sensors can vary significantly. As you might expect, luxury brands and high-performance vehicles will be more expensive to repair.
Transmission Range Sensor Parts
If you do not want to pay for a professional, you can buy the parts online and change them out yourself. Fortunately, range sensor parts are fairly cheap and should cost you anywhere between $20 to $80 on average.
Most customers end up paying around $40 for a good-quality sensor. Below is a table showing average costs for various popular transmission range sensor parts.
|Dorman 511-101 Transmission Range Sensor||$30|
|Standard Motor Products NS129 Neutral Switch||$40|
|SURIEEN Transmission Range Sensor Safety Switch||$35|
|APDTY 134100 Transm Range Sensor Safety Switch||$40|
|NewYall Transmission Range Sensor Neutral Safety Switch||$35|
|Ensun 31935-8E007 Transmission Speed Sensor for Nissan Altima||$20|
|Motorcraft SW6538 Sensor||$50|
|Genuine Honda 28900-RYF-023 Position Sensor Assembly||$90|
|ACDelco GM 88962315 Transfer CAse Position Sensor||$40|
|Dorman 511-103 Transmission Range Sensor||$110|
|Beck Arnley 090-5099 Transmission Speed Sensor||$40|
As you can see, sensors do not cost that much. The main thing that determines price is the type of transmission sensor you get: Hall or inductive.
Hall sensors are generally more expensive than inductive sensors because the parts are more complex to produce the magnetic fields.
Factors that Affect Transmission Range Sensor Replacement Costs
Type of sensor
Modern cars use two types of position sensors: Hall sensors and inductive sensors. Generally speaking, Hall sensors are more expensive because they use more complex magnetic fields.
The newer your car is, the more likely it contains a Hall sensor.
The make and model of your car will also affect replacement costs.
Some models, such as foreign cars, will be more expensive because they require specialized parts and labor to fix.
Age of car
The age of your car will also affect costs. If your car is over ten years old, then you will probably have to replace other parts in addition to the transmission range sensor. If you have an old car, it may be harder to find compatible parts as well.
Location of sensor
Most cars have the sensor located on either the outside of the transmission box on the inside.
Sensors on the outside of the box are much easier to replace because you do not have to disassemble the transmission to get to them.
Signs of a Bad Transmission Range Sensor
Here are the most common signs that your transmission range sensor is on the fritz.
Gear Switch is Inaccurate
The most common sign of a broken sensor is if your gear selection input differs from your lever.
For example, if the car says you are in third gear but you are actually in fourth gear, then the problem is likely your transmission range sensor. This can lead to difficulty switching gears and unsafe vehicle operation.
Some cars have a safety feature that locks the gear shift in place if the sensor goes out. This is called limp mode and you won’t be able to change the gears.
Limp mode could be locked into 3rd, 4th, 5th, or reverse. You will be able to drive your car, but you won’t be able to switch gears.
Car Won’t Start
If your sensor is broken and the control module can’t sense that the gearshift is in neutral or park, then your car won’t be able to start its engine.
Even if your car can start, you may not be able to drive it because the module cannot sense the correct gear input.
Service Engine Light
Also, most modern cars have an emergency indication light specifically for the range sensor. It is located on the dashboard near the other indicator lights. If you have an older model, the dashboard may just flip a generic check engine light.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a transmission range sensor replacement cost?
It costs about $350 on average to replace a transmission range sensor. The typical range is between $200 on the low end up to $500 on the higher end.
The cost is approximately evenly split between parts and labor costs. You can also buy a transmission range sensor for about $40 online and replace it yourself if you have the tools.
How often do I need to change my transmission range sensor?
Transmission sensors are not rated for any mileage and are designed to last the entire lifespan of your car. However, they are more likely to experience problems after about 10 years.
If your sensor fails, it will do so randomly. A good rule of thumb is to check the sensor once every 50,000 miles and replace it as needed.
Can I drive with a bad transmission range sensor?
It depends on your vehicle. Most modern cars will completely lock up in neutral or park if the sensor is broken, so you won’t be able to move your car.
Even if you can start your car, it will likely be in limp mode so you won’t be able to change gears.
How long does it take to replace a transmission range sensor?
If you get a professional to do the job, then it should take about 2 to 3 hours to replace the range sensor.
It may take longer to fix if the sensor is located on the inside of the transmission box as the mechanic will have to disassemble it and put it back together.
Can I replace a transmission range sensor on my own?
It depends on where the sensor is located. If it is located on the outside of the transmission box, then you should be able to replace it on your own without too much hassle.
However, if the sensor is located on the inside of the transmission box, you will probably want to get a professional to replace it. Taking apart the transmission box is complex and easy to mess up.
The transmission range sensor is an important part of your car but is often forgotten. You need the sensor working properly so you can change gears and accelerate your car.
Fortunately, changing the range sensor is a fairly easy job and should not cost very much to replace. The main cost factor is the type and location of the sensor.
A broken range sensor can lead to difficulties operating your car, so we recommend getting a broken sensor replaced as quickly as possible.
As always, make sure you get several quotes from different mechanics so you can get the best possible price.