Many parts of a car I can visualize, but the transmission and/or transaxle (in front wheel drive cars), is harder to get my head around. Do you have this problem? Talking about car parts often sounds like Greek to me, but if I can break it down into smaller pieces, it usually makes more sense.
We like to provide relevant information to our customers, because smart customers are satisfied customers, especially when they understand what needs to be done on their car. Don’t you feel more comfortable when you understand what is being performed when you are in need of auto repair, and when you feel at ease asking questions?
Let’s talk transmission. Transmissions are unlike tires, brakes, oil changes – all of these require common, routine maintenance that we usually remember. However, our vehicle’s transmission doesn’t come to mind unless something goes wrong with it, or we begin to hear or feel glitches with shifting.
What does the transmission do? Both automatic transmissions and manual transmissions (along with the clutch and pressure plate) are critical in transferring the power from the engine to the drive train, and therefore makes the car move. It allows acceleration and deceleration, and changes power from forward to reverse. If you did not have a transmission, your car would always go at a constant speed (probably fast) and only in one direction, thus making it a very vital and critical component of your car.
What signs should you watch out for?
Check Engine Light is lit on your dashboard. Never ignore your Check Engine Light (or put a piece of duct tape over it!), as it is your car’s way of telling you there is a problem that needs attention. Remember, a “Check Engine Light” is not just for your engine…that light encompasses your transmission and a whole lot more.
Your nose knows. When the transmission fluid overheats, it may have a burning smell.
Sluggish, shaky, or erratic shifting. If you are having increasing difficulty getting your car to shift gears, if you are hearing strange sounds with changing gears, or you feel your transmission (or clutch) slipping, it is time to have your transmission checked out.
Is there a cherry red puddle under your car? (Any leak should be checked out, but red is most commonly transmission fluid). Since the transmission system is a closed system, there should not be any fluid leaking.
Maintenance of the transmission includes changing the transmission fluid periodically (check your Owner’s Manual for your particular manufacturer’s recommendations). Since transmission repairs or replacement can cost a few thousand dollars, replacing your transmission fluid is money well spent to keep your transmission properly lubricated, and to prevent premature wear and overheating.
Be aware as you are driving your car for changing or odd sounds, smells, or noises. You are the best judge of changes in your vehicle’s operation. Relay what you hear, smell, or feel to the Service Advisor at the front desk to help us diagnose accurately what is going on with your car. We enjoy helping you keep your car running safe…without spending more than you have to.
From your Honest Accurate Auto Service Team