Transmission Problems Can Be Kept at Bay Through Regular Maintenance
Here it is, the blog post you’d never want to read unless you absolutely had to, the one that you always knew was coming…the one about transmission problems. Yes, transmission issues are the bogeymen of auto repair, the invisible threat that we hope will never appear if we simply pretend it doesn’t exist. The trouble is that this refusal to meet the problem head on is what so often wins our cars an extended vacation in the auto garage. Many of us are pretty good about servicing our car when it’s an oil change but very few of us even consider transmission maintenance. In some cases, the dealers are at fault, claiming transmission fluid is for lifetime use. The trouble is, some of these dealers consider 120,000 miles a lifetime. Liberally, transmission fluid should be changed approximately every 40,000 miles. You can shrug off that recommendation but that’s where these genuine problems can come into play.
A Slow Leak is a Quick Headache
We actually discussed this a bit in a previous blog about leaking auto fluids but your transmission fluid should never be leaking since it’s a closed system. In most cases, your car’s transmission fluid will be a reddish color, with a somewhat sweet smell. Leaks are actually pretty easy to find since there are only a few places from which the fluid could be leaking. If you suspect you’ve sprung a leak in your transmission, check out the area directly beneath your transmission, your radiator, or your selector shaft. The transmission fluid is integral for cooling the system as well as insuring all parts are moving fluidly. It is basically the life blood of your transmission. Excessively dirty transmission fluid can also lead to burning and a whole plethora of other transmission problems so it’s recommended to stay upon fluid changes.
The Infamous Dragging Clutch
You’ve most likely heard of the dragging clutch before if you’ve not had the misfortune of experiencing it firsthand. You can recognize a dragging clutch when an attempt to shift gears is met with a nagging, grinding sound. Fortunately, most issues related to the dragging clutch have a much worse bark than bite and are relatively easy to replace as long as you don’t sit on the problem. The grinding of a dragging clutch isn’t the only sound that can indicate transmission problems, though strange sounds aren’t always the most reliable means of identifying issues with your transmission. Depending on your car, you may hear an unnatural buzzing or high pitched drone if your transmission is straining. But in most cases, you’ll literally feel like something is wrong.
The Feeling of Transmission Problems
When difficulties with your transmission are becoming more pronounced, you’ll most likely recognize it through a lag in shifting gears. Automatic transmissions are supposed to shift between gears seamlessly. If you can feel your car struggling to shift gears, you should get your transmission checked before matters get worse. You can most often notice this struggle when shifting between “Drive” and “Park.” However, if you ever feel your car shaking or, even worse, jolting into another gear, get your transmission checked out ASAP. You don’t want to end up at the point of a costly transmission rebuild.
In many cases, transmission problems can be solved by simply replacing the fluid and/or the transmission filter. However, the more you neglect your transmission, the worse the problem will get. Transmission repair is rarely a do-it-yourself fix, so it’s best to keep your system properly maintained instead of pouring money into arts and labor for a full transmission rebu