Save Money – Take Care of Your Transmission
Your transmission is one of the most important parts of any vehicle.
Here are some tips for making sure you’re not driving your transmission too hard.
Every driver knows that there are certain parts of their car which will require regular maintenance. Oil changes occur regularly, tires need to be rotated and replaced, and the wiper blades need to be replaced as the seasons change. We all know what our car feels like when the brake pads are being worn down, but there are other components which often are overlooked or neglected altogether.
The transmission is one of the most important and complex systems of any vehicle. Essentially, it is a gearbox which uses gears and gear trains to provide torque conversions and speed from one rotating power source to another power source. In even simpler terms, your transmission converts all of the energy or power created by your car into a controlled source of power. The transmission acts as the middle man between your wheels and your car’s engine. This little guy has a big job to do
The Difference Between Manual and Automatic Transmissions
Both transmission types are imperative to your car functioning, but they work in very different way. Attempting to compare the two is like comparing apples to oranges – sure there are similarities, but fundamentally they are very different. Both transmission types rely on fluid to cool and lubricate the internal parts and gears, however automatic transmissions depend on the fluid to transmit the power hydraulically. In automatic transmissions, this fluid is exposed to far more heat than the manual transmission type, therefore using clean fluid is especially important for automatic transmissions.
An Ounce of Prevention…
First and foremost, always read your vehicle owner’s manual. Be sure you understand the suggestions provided by the manufacturer of your car, as they know the most about your vehicle. AAMCO Colorado service centers can help you with your car’s manufacturer’s recommended maintenance.
- Check your transmission fluid. For most modern vehicles, checking the transmission fluid is as easy as checking the oil. While the engine is idling, pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean, remove it again (wait just a moment), and then remove the dipstick again. If the fluid level is low, you may have a leak. The fluid itself should be bright red or clear, and it should have a sweet smell. If the fluid appears to be dark and dirty, or smells like rotting fish, get it to a transmission shop right away. Since this fluid does not burn off like oil does, if these levels are low, you have a leak. (Note: in some vehicle models the crankcase dipstick is located next to the transmission dipstick – be sure you are checking the correct fluid!)
- Use the right type of transmission fluid! This is one of those times in which you should look at your manual for details about what type of fluid is intended for your transmission type.
- Have your vehicle serviced regularly. Regularly scheduled maintenance is extremely important for the overall health of your car. Anytime your vehicle is experiencing difficulties, it could have an adverse effect on other systems in your engine. Be sure to refer to our Maintenance Schedule.
- Completely stop your vehicle before shifting gears. It is very important to bring your vehicle to a complete stop before shifting from one gear to another. This premature shifting puts tremendous strain on your transmission, and over time can lead to serious damage.
- Don’t drive on a spare tire for too long. Driving a vehicle with mismatched tires is acceptable for a very short amount of time – literally as long as it takes you to get a tire replacement. Driving with one tire that is smaller than the others puts additional stress on the transmission, but also on the wheel bearings, brakes, and may cause damage to your alignment.
- Don’t forget to replace the transmission filter. Some cars with automatic transmissions also rely on a filter to help catch excess fluid and to regulate pressure of the fluid. These filters are not present on all automatic transmission vehicles, but if your make and model has one, be sure to have these replaced regularly.
- Schedule annual transmission inspections. Much like you go to the doctor each year for a physical, your car deserves to be healthy. Having a certified transmission repair specialist inspect your transmission for leaks, the color of the fluid, and smells of the fluid preemptively may save you a great deal of upset later.
- Service your engine’s cooling system regularly. The cooling system in your vehicle’s engine is responsible for ensuring that your engine does not overheat. Did you know that it is also responsible for ensuring the transmission fluid pumping through the gearbox is also cool? Making sure that your cooling system is working properly helps to protect your transmission from harmful temperatures.
Other Transmission Maintenance Tips
Transmission flush might be what your car needs.
There are a few ways you can keep your transmission in the best shape possible. There is a lot of discussion around whether transmission fluid flushes are necessary for transmission maintenance. While some manuals advocate for it, others will tell you to avoid this procedure. If your owner’s manual and your mechanic agree that a transmission flush is required, it’s a good idea to have it done and be sure to keep up to date on your maintenance schedule.
Transmission noises can mean trouble, so pay attention and have them diagnosed.
If you have encountered any strange new performance issues while driving, don’t ignore these problems. Often, drivers put off taking their car to the mechanic to avoid expensive repairs, but addressing these issues sooner rather than later may save you a lot of time, energy, and money. It is important to understand your manufacturer’s recommended service schedule, and follow it closely.
AAMCO Colorado – Your Local Transmission Experts
Call or come in with any questions or for a diagnostic inspection.
Don’t gamble with your transmission! If you suspect a problem, give us a call. At AAMCO Colorado, we take our passion for transmissions seriously, and will work closely with you to resolve any issues you have with your car – transmission and beyond. Call your local Colorado AAMCO transmission and auto repair center or schedule an appointment today!