Keeping your transmission healthy must be top priority for all drivers. To do this, it is important that you understand not only how it functions but also the problems associated with transmissions and causes for these problems. Take a look at our guide to transmission problems and its causes.
Your transmission is one of those parts that you want running at peak performance. However, the question is how you know your transmission is not in optimum shape, how you can diagnose these issues and what you can do to fix these problems. We are going to discuss the common cause of transmissions problems and signs that your transmissions may be in trouble. Read on for more.
What does a transmission do?
Before we go on it is necessary that you understand what this important part does. There are two types of transmissions: manual and automatic transmissions both of which make a large contribution to the driving process.
Automatic vs. Manual transmissions
Manual transmissions that require more work to use compared to the automatic transmissions. These transmissions require you to use a clutch to physically shift the gears.
You will need to apply shift knob and clutch pedal to move forward and achieve higher speeds. Automatic transmissions on the other hand will make these gear changes; you need only push the gas pedal.
You must be wondering why anyone would choose a manual transmission with the convenience that comes with an automatic transmission. Well apart from the difference in control, there are other differences including fuel economy, control and price points that influence the decisions.
Unfortunately, an automatic transmission means greater fuel consumption. Additionally, manual transmissions offer more control however they are bothersome to use unlike automatic transmissions that promise comfort and convenience.
Cost of purchase and maintenance for automatic transmissions supersedes that of manual transmissions.
Troubleshooting your transmission
Wondering how you can tell your transmission needs repair? Here are some of the signs to look out for if you suspect a failing transmission.
Burning smells and strange noises
A burning smell or a weird noise is never a good sign with anything. This is the same case for transmissions. Smells are usually a result of fluid issues. Leaks of any sort will lead to issues with the.
Strangely colored transmission fluid
This includes dirty or even burnt fluid. Over time, transmission fluid becomes worn out and accumulates a lot of contaminants. If this fluid becomes too thin or dirty, it will not properly perform its functions within the transmissions.
Delayed engagement an gear issues
You may notice issues while you drive or when you start your car. These delays in gear engagements or even slipping and failure to engage are indicative of one or more issues within your transmission.
Cause for transmission problems
This fluid is responsible for lubricating part within your transmission and cleaning the dirt and shaving that may build up within your transmission. It is important to have healthy fluid for the longevity of your transmission.
Contaminated, dirt or even leaking fluid has the potential to cost you your transmission. Some of the signs or effects of low or dirty transmission fluid includes slipping, rough shifted, noises and smell, and no drive engagement when in forward or reverse gears.
Wear and tear
One for the most common cause of transmission problems is accumulation of wear and tear. This also applies to the parts and the fluids that assist the function of your transmission.
Because it is a complex part with many working components, it is only natural that some of these will experience wear from aging or overuse. It is advisable to always have your transmission checked for any signs of wearing or damage. This might save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in replacement cost.
Like we’ve mentioned, the transmission is a complex part with some electrical components. When some of these components malfunction or blow, then the effects will become apparent in transmission failure.
What does it mean to have a slipping transmission?
Slipping transmission is among the signs you can use to detect transmission failure. This slipping is often problematic and can lead to a more severe and expensive problem when left alone.
Among the effects of this slipping include difficulty shifting gears or when you successfully shift gears, a harsh response occurs. In addition, your vehicle may be unable to reverse and has the check engine light on.
Causes of slipping transmission
If you’re experiencing slipping transmission, then take a look at some of the reasons it may be happening.
Issues with transmission fluid
Low fluid levels, leaking transmission fluid or even burnt fluid often result in issues with your transmission. Among these issues is slipping.
Wear and tear on transmission bands
When transmission bands break or wear out, the result is usually a slip. These band link gears together are prone to breakages or wear due to overheating.
Wear and tear build up within the gears from ineffective transmission fluid, overheating or even from high mileage will lead to slipping. In this state, worn gears cannot work well together and end up causing a bunch of transmission issues including slipping, engagement failure and in many cases, grinding and clunking noises.
These are the valves that are electrically activated to control fluid flow within your transmissions. Issues with solenoids will mean a faulty transmission as this system is controlled by hydraulic pressure. A faulty solenoid will lead to shifting issues or failure to engage gears.
Your battery can affect your transmission
There are many parts that could affect your transmission, and the batter is one of them. One of the ways which your battery will affect transmission is through battery corrosion. Battery corrosion happens when you neglect your battery. It is important that you clean the build up and around the terminals and cables. This acid corrosion results in green or white deposits around corroded parts.
A corroded battery will cause different types of malfunctions from your transmissions. You may notice your transmission missing gears when you shift. Alternatively, you may have shifting delay. You might also notice the transmission shifts won’t be as smooth as you’re used to.
When you notice these issues, it is best that you see a professional immediately in order to have your battery and transmissions thoroughly inspected and return to optimum condition.
Tips on maintaining your transmission
If you want your transmission to serve you properly for a long time, then you have to care for it and maintain it at healthy conditions. Some of the ways you can do this include the following.
When in doubt, check your transmission fluid out
Evidently, transmission fluid has a very large influence on your transmission performance. Low levels of this fluid or even contamination of the fluid are cause for worry. If you suspect issues with your transmission, it is important to check the transmission fluid for more clues into your transmission’s status.
Set up a servicing schedule
Having your vehicle serviced regularly will ensure your components are always inspected and the transmission is kept in top shape. Annual or biannual transmission checkups for example are great for maintaining your vehicles transmission properly.
Don’t shift gears while in motion
Before you change from one gear to another, it is important your vehicle comes to a complete stop. Premature shifts usually stress the transmission and contribute to transmission failure overtime.
Driving on balanced tires
Unbalanced or even mismatched tires not only put strain on your transmission but also stress the wheel bearing sand breaks. Eventually, it could lead to damage to your alignment. Sure you can drive on the occasional spare tire, but doing it for too long is not great for your transmission.
Rebuild, replace or repair
If your transmission begins to show some signs of failure, then it may be time to get it fixed. Question is, how do you know when to replace it? Does it just need or a repair or is a rebuild the safest way to go?
Well, usually, a repair will be best when you’ve narrowed down the cause of your transmission problems to one or two parts of your transmission. You can have these parts repaired and your transmission back up and running at prime conditions.
A replacement on the other hand means an entirely different transmission. This is usually a more expensive service and should only be considered when your whole transmission is shot. Sometimes, you’ll hear this option referred to as a remanufacture.
Lastly is the rebuild option that is kind of a combination of rebuild and replace. During rebuilds, the old transmission is taken out disassembled and inspected. Any parts that are worn, damaged or not looking great are replaced and then the transmission is put back together and reinstalled.
There are many causes for transmission problems. Most of them are related to issues with transmission fluid, electrical issues and wear and tear.
While some of the problems due to wear and tear might be inevitable, you can prevent other problems by maintaining your transmission and its components in top conditions. Additionally, ensure to have your transmission fluid in accurate level and in top condition as it pays a large role in the proper function of your vehicle.