if I end up spending 1,000 on a tranny rebuild then that'll be fine
You may not understand this, but just think about it for a while: That's far too cheap for a professional trans rebuild job, and will cost you a lot more than that in the long run. Run away fast.
A hack mechanic can ruin the entire car in a hurry, through pure ignorance and/or neglect. I've seen it far too many times. The average consumer just has no idea until it is too late.
FREE "diagnosis" is worth exactly what you pay for it, and will cost you dearly in the end.
I'd suggest you just start with a true professional. That means NO chain store.
You need a TRUSTED mechanic.
Dealer or independent, you need honest and competent.
(You may even want a full inspection to see if the car is even worth putting a transmission in it.)
Find an Independent Transmission shop (ATRA member) if you want a rebuild. ATRA member shops can give a nationwide warranty. If you don't have that, then you are at the mercy of the shop that did the rebuild when it ***** all over the highway. Not good.
Dealer will put in a factory rebuilt trans, complete with a warranty (good at any
Honda dealer) and all that neat stuff. (Most dealers don't rebuild automatics in-house.)
An independent shop shop could go with a factory trans, or an aftermarket reman trans. (I'm not a fan of the non-factory remans I have dealt with.) Check into the warranty available through those sources.
You bought a USED car, with high mileage and a cheap price.
If it had been on a used car lot, there would have been a tag in the window saying AS IS
, not "AS IF".
You got it cheap. You will need to spend money on it to keep it going. This is true of ALL cars.