Transmission 101!

Taking care of your car includes taking care of the transmission. The transmission is the part of your automobile that sends power from the engine through the gears and drive shaft to turn the wheels. Muck this up and you’re, well, shafted!

Take care of your transmission.

First off you should love your transmission. Treat it well, don’t abuse it and it will love you back. This means:

Don’t tow too much or tow too fast. Summer is boat season but knowing how much boat you can tow is critical. When you overwork your transmission it gets hot. When it gets hot it gets mad and can actually blow seals, gaskets and your mind. Know how much weight your vehicle can tow and most manuals will tell you keep it at or below 55MPH. Do not tow your pontoon boat with your Fiat! And don’t drive 70MPH all the way to St. Louis transporting heavy treasures on your trailer.

Change your transmission fluid! Out of sight is out of mind and so is your transmission fluid, but it’s essential to flush your transmission fluid as a part of normal maintenance. If you have a car with a sealed unit you won’t necessarily have to do this as much but ask your mechanic what he suggests about these guys.

Don’t punish your vehicle. This means not coming to a complete stop before shifting gears. It also means driving with sudden violent starting and stopping. Yes, we’re all in a hurry these days but treating your vehicle like a rag doll just adds months of wear to your transmission. So be nice. Your vehicle and your passenger’s necks will thank you…and you may arrive a little less stressed!

If you are guilty of most of what is described above this is what you may be possibly looking forward to:

Leaks - transmission fluid is a light reddish color and will show up on the pavement under the car when there is a leak. When drops of fluid are noticed, the transmission fluid should be topped off every day until the leak is repaired. This doesn’t mean you can do this for a year.

Color - Clean transmission fluid is a clear reddish color. When the fluid is checked and appears dark and muddy on the dipstick you may have a serious issue. Dark transmission fluid also stinks like burning oil.

Noises – a transmission that is beginning to show signs of wear or damage can make noise when the car shifts between gears. If you drive an automatic you’ll hear it as your car speeds up or slows down. If you have a manual transmission unusual grinding could be symptoms of wear.

Delays - there should be no clunking sounds or jerky movements of the vehicle when it’s shifted from park. Your car should shift quickly and quietly. If you have to read a magazine while it shifts into reverse you’re in trouble.

Jumping – an indication of transmission problems happens when the transmission jumps out of gear while moving. This could indicate that the linkage holding the gears can be worn or broken. The slippage could be the beginning of serious problems that won’t allow the gears to shift at all.

Keeping your transmission happy and healthy is key if you’d like to continue driving your vehicle. These days we’re holding on to our vehicles longer so regular maintenance is essential. Sallas Auto Repair can perform a diagnostic tune-up on your vehicle to keep your transmission feeling good and performing well so you don’t find yourself with a broken transmission and a burning debit card. So do your vehicle a favor and show it some love and by:

1. Being consistent with transmission flushes – do one every 30,000.
2. Tow within your vehicle’s limits.
3. Stay at 55MPH or below when towing.
4. Address any problems as soon as you can.
5. Smooth driving helps keep wear and tear down on the transmission and many other parts on your vehicle.

Please feel free to call either shop to discuss a transmission flush for your vehicle or any concerns you may have!

Thanks so much and have a wonderful summer!


Vehicle Systems