A transmission is a complex system intended to always provide the perfect amount of power to your wheels at any given speed. This means that a transmission is a vital component to how a car feels to drive, and therefore is a sophisticated and expensive component to fix, or even sometimes replace altogether.
It can easily cost upwards of $3,000, $5,000, or even $10,000 to completely replace a car’s transmission. If you also consider the drop in value a car typically experiences if it needs a replacement transmission, you do not want it to fail, no matter the car you are driving. That is why we are going to list the cars with the least amount of transmission problems.
The Ford 4R75E transmission, the A245E Toyota transmission, the BMW ZF transmission, the PN3A Honda transmission, and the A750 Toyota/Lexus transmission are the ones with the least amount of problems. These are the transmission today that experience the least amount of issues overall.
It’s worth mentioning that manual transmissions typically are more reliable than most automatics, but most people these days don’t rely on manual transmissions. Therefore, we are only mentioning popular modern-day transmissions with the least amount of problems.
Ford 4R75E transmission
The Ford 4R75E transmission is typically known to be the most reliable Ford transmission out there. It was technically a successor to the fairly problematic Ford 4R70W/E. Ford realized that the 70W/E was having trouble due to its single-clutch configuration. That is why they added an additional clutch so the 75E could last for longer.
The 75E box is typically used in the Ford Mustang, the Mercury Marauder, and the Ford Expedition. The 75E beat its predecessor in almost every aspect because it is more reliable, faster, and a lot smoother. Many owners state that they have never had a more dependable box than this one, so it had to be on our list.
Toyota A245E transmission
The Toyota 245E CVT transmission typically found in the Toyota Corolla is known for its unwillingness to break, even after hundreds of thousands of miles on the clock. This comes as no surprise as Toyota makes some of the world’s most reliable cars in general. You need to change the transmission oil every 50-60k miles, and you should be good for a long time.
The 245E is a rather old transmission which means that it is not as common as some other transmissions found in this list. The 245E was used between 1993 and 2008 in cars such as the Toyota MR2, the Corolla, and the Geo Prizm LSI 1.6.
BMW ZF transmission
The good old ZF is a fan favorite among BMW, Audi, Aston Martin, Bentley, and even Rolls Royce cars because it manages to withstand huge amounts of torque for a long, long time. Therefore, this automatic transmission is primarily being used in 6, 8, or 12-cylinder cars. In order to manage such levels of torque, the box needed to be as robust as they come.
This means that the ZF is also good for hundreds of thousands of miles without needing major overhauls. Many automotive journalists also praise the ZF box for its driveability, smoothness, and responsiveness. The ZF really is the full package from every angle imaginable.
Honda PN3A transmission
The most famous Honda PN3A transmission application was in the 2015 Honda Pilot which was one of the least complained about cars in the 2010s, at least as far as the transmission is concerned. Owners did report some hesitation and shatter, but nothing that causes any serious issues.
Some reports state that the PN3A Honda box can easily last more than 100,000 miles without needing any work at all. This is a rare occurrence given how complex the transmission is. Either way, the PN3A had to be included on this list as it truly is one of the most reliable transmissions out there.
Toyota/Lexus A750 transmission
To finish up the list, we are going to mention one of the best and most reliable transmissions ever, the Toyota/Lexus A750. The A750 is the transmission typically used in the Toyota Land Cruiser which is one of the world’s most reliable and indestructible off-roaders. The A750 is known to withstand extreme amounts of abuse.
Some reports even state that the A750 does not require any major overhauls before reaching 250k miles which is an extremely rare occurrence with modern-day cars.
Are manual transmissions more reliable than automatic transmissions?
Yes, they are. Manual transmissions are inherently more reliable because they are not nearly as complex as modern-day automatic transmissions are. Manual transmissions come with fewer moving parts, are able to take more abuse, and are both lighter and cheaper to repair as well.
Therefore, if you want the most dependable and longest-lasting option, a manual box is the way to go. However, in order for a manual to be as good as it can be, it also needs an experienced and knowledgeable driver that knows how to operate the manual with care.
Are dual-clutch transmissions more reliable than single-clutch transmissions?
Dual-clutch transmissions are actually not as reliable as most single-clutch torque converter automatics are, and that is why the single-clutch is still a preferred option for many brands around the world. A dual-clutch box uses a lot more sensors and comes with more components overall.
This means that more things could potentially fail. As such, if you want the most reliable automatic transmissions, you should go for a torque converter. It may not be as fast as a proper dual-clutch is, but it should serve you for longer.
Do electric cars come with transmissions?
Most electric cars do not come with a transmission, but it is not true that EVs don’t come with a transmission at all. For example, the Porsche Taycan and the Audi e-Tron GT come with a 2-speed automatic transmission in order for the car to be more durable and for the acceleration times to be more extreme.
You are not likely going to feel the shifts, but they are there. These two are not the only two EVs with a transmission as many of them exist and are going to exist in the near future.