Automatic transmissionds are tough, but they can be damaged.

Transmissions have always been complex systems, and they get more sophisticated every year. Even though they are made of metal, wrapped in metal, and capable of moving tons of metal, they can be damaged if mistreated. Cars with automatic transmissions in particular are susceptible to damage in some ways you might not have thought.

Shifting into drive or reverse when not completely stopped is not good for the transmission.image - driver shifting gears

This can be a transmission killer. Even in newer cars with more advanced technology in their automatic transmissions and engines, it’s just a good idea to be fully stopped before making any major gear shifts. In a car with an automatic transmission, shifting into drive or reverse isn’t like changing gears on a manual transmission, where you can disengage the clutch indefinitely. An automatic transmission is designed for rigid, linear operation. It might be full of fluid, but many of its parts consist of gears with teeth that will grind and be damaged if you force your transmission to change gears while moving. Doing so can damage your drive shafts and suspension, too.

Too little or too much fluid – either will damage your transmission.

Letting the transmission run out of fluid is a surefire way of causing some serious damage. That precious red fluid keeps the transmission’s internal parts lubricated and running together smoothly. If that fluid gets low, the parts grind together, overheat, and eventually fail.

Neglecting to change the transmission fluid is a common mistake that damages transmissions.

Failing to change, or at least check, the fluid according to the schedule in your owner’s manual will result in fluid that is not as effective as the transmission needs in order to operate. Just like motor oil, transmission fluid wears out, becomes dirty (in extreme cases, even burned), and has to be changed. Failure to change the fluid can lead to leaky seals, cracked gaskets, and other important parts overheating and breaking down.

Don’t just put your car in park. Use the parking brake.

Your car’s automatic transmission isn’t meant to serve as a mechanism to hold your vehicle in place. Its primary purpose is to move your vehicle, not keep it securely parked. When you put your car in park there is a small part called a “pawl” that holds the weight of the entire car in place. This puts an extreme amount of pressure on this part – especially when parked on an incline. Use the parking brake to alleviate that excess stress on your already hard-working transmission. If you find that your car rolls while in park, you might have some serious transmission problems.

Forgetting to service your transmission can cause permanent damage. image - transmission fluid draining from pan under car on lift

An automatic transmission needs to be tuned every once in a while, just like your engine. If you don’t service your transmission on a regular maintenance schedule, dirt and contaminants will build up and cause your transmission to develop problems over time. Its performance will decrease, parts will wear out more quickly, leaks might occur. Ignore your transmission’s health long enough and one day it will fail outright, probably when you least expect it or can afford it. An ounce of maintenance is worth of a pound of repair.

Come to AAMCO Colorado for All Your Car Repairs & Maintenance

You need an experienced transmission specialist who can honestly tell you what needs to be done.

If you have questions about your car’s transmission, engine, repair or maintenance needs, AAMCO Colorado can help. Stop by or call a local AAMCO Colorado repair shop for a Multi Point Vehicle Courtesy Check for your transmission and related systems. We’ll winterize your car and get you ready for the cold, snowy winter driving months ahead. We can handle all your scheduled car maintenance and repairs, from brakes to factory recommended maintenance.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Change Your Transmission Filter

Benefits of a Transmission Flush

Common Transmission Problems that Spell Trouble

Locally Owned & Operated AAMCO Colorado Transmission Repair Shops

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