The automatic transmission is one of the most complex components in your vehicle. It is responsible for transmitting power from the engine to the driving wheels. This is done through a series of gear sets and the use of a torque converter. The transmission relies on many different parts to run properly. Maintaining your transmission is just as important as changing your oil or rotating your tires. There are some things that you can do to help you avoid problems with this very important component.
Every time you stop for gas, pop the hood and check the level of your transmission fluid. If you notice that it is low, there may be a leak. Check the area where you regularly park your car. If there is a puddle or sign of a leak, consult your local mechanic as soon as possible. Driving with low fluid can cause severe damage to your transmission.
Your transmission fluid needs to be changed about every year or every 15,000 miles. You should consult your owner's manual for recommendations for your specific vehicle. Your fluid should be changed more often if you notice that it has become dark in color or dirty.
If you notice changes in the performance of your vehicle, ask a certified mechanic to check it out. Problems with shifting, hesitation when cold, loss of power in gears, and grinding or whining noises can all indicate a problem with the transmission. Do not wait until the problems become worse, this can only cause more damage, which results in expensive repairs.
One of the main causes of transmission failure is excessive heat. Problems with your vehicle's cooling system can negatively impact the other components of your automobile. Towing or hauling large loads can also cause your vehicle to heat up excessively. As your engine runs hotter, the transmission fluid breaks down more quickly, damaging crucial parts and components. If you have been running your engine hard, be sure to visit an auto service shop more often for transmission service.
Switching gears incorrectly can also damage your transmission. Always come to a complete stop before shifting into park or reverse. Try to make smooth transitions when shifting gears. Rocking your vehicle back and forth in snow or mud may result in damage as well because this action causes the temperature of the engine to get excessively hot.
Early diagnosis of a problem is crucial to saving you money and damage. Even the smallest issues can lead to major repair bills. The longer you drive with a malfunctioning transmission, the higher the repair costs will be. There are some other common engine problems that may present themselves in a similar fashion as transmission failure. The best thing you can do is have an automotive professional look at it and make recommendations for repairs. The transmission is a complex system and should only be worked on by a trained specialist.
Mac Allen is the location manager of Havoline Xpress Lube in Kernersville, NC, providing maintenance and repairs for all types of vehicles.