Your car’s transmission is one of its vital organs. Your vehicle’s basic purpose is to get you from one place to another comfortably and reliably. This is accomplished in every automobile by transforming the power created by your engine to movement of your vehicle. Your transmission is the crucial link between your engine and the rest of your vehicle’s drivetrain. A properly and efficiently operating transmission often operates so seamlessly that you don’t even notice it. An improperly operating transmission can make a simple drive stressful and can make you question the reliability if your vehicle.
In this article, we’re going to talk about some common transmission problems for automatic transmission, why they happen, and what you can do about them.
Recently automatic transmissions have become more complicated and varied in design. As automobile manufacturers have strived to increase power output and fuel economy of their vehicles, automatic transmission have increased in the numbers of gear ratios, the type and design of the clutches and other small changes that have allowed higher power output and more fuel efficient vehicles.
Even with all these developments, most vehicles on the road today have relatively similar designs and operate with the same basic principles. One of the things that almost every automatic transmission shares is that the operating fluid has to both lubricate the transmission as well as operate as a hydraulic fluid to cause movement, gear changes or transfer power in the torque converter. As your transmission fluid lubricates the gears and bearings in your transmission it will accumulate wear particles, or tiny metal shavings, that will float in the fluid and travel through your transmission. These particles can wear out small passages, change hydraulic pressures, clog and quickly destroy seals and gaskets in your transmission.
Changing your automatic transmission fluid regularly is the best way to minimize this wear and keep things working like they should be. Check your vehicle’s maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual to find your vehicle’s recommended transmission fluid change interval.
Even if you change your transmission fluid often, things can still go wrong in your transmission. The majority of the time you’ll notice problems with your transmission in the form of odd shifting habits. The most common transmission problems include harsh shifts, hanging shifts or not shifting.
Harsh shifting can be caused by excessively high transmission line pressure, sticking control valves or sometimes a low transmission fluid level. High pressures and sticking valves usually come from gummed up control surfaces or gunk in your transmission. This can often be remedied by a transmission fluid flush and a new filter if your transmission is so equipped. A leaky transmission can be identified by a low fluid level on the dipstick or fluid drips under your vehicle.
Hanging shifts means that your transmission is shifting too late allowing your engine to over-rev. This can be caused due to improper adjustments of linkages on older transmissions, failed sensors on new cars or again a clogged transmission line or control valve. Your transmission decides when to shift based on inputs usually from your vehicle’s speed, your engine’s RPM, and your throttle position. Newer transmissions get this input from sensors and make the decision with a computer and older transmissions have mechanical inputs, like a kick down cable, and make the decision mechanically. If one of the inputs is improperly adjusted or a sensor has failed it will allow your transmission to behave improperly. If those all are working properly, a fluid flush and filter change is your best option.
If you’re finding your transmission doesn’t shift at all, even if it’s just for one specific gear, it could be an indication again of a low fluid level or excessive wear. The clutches and bands used to cause a gear ratio change in your automatic transmission will wear out over time even if your transmission is properly maintained. Just like a car with a manual transmission, these clutches and bands need to be adjusted and replaced every so often. If this is the case with your vehicle, it is best to have your transmission inspected and refurbished by a professional transmission shop. If your vehicle isn’t shifting due to a low fluid level you need to seal the leak and add more fluid.
If you discover the transmission problems you’re having are due to a low fluid level, add BlueDevil Transmission Sealer as you top off your transmission fluid to seal the leak in your transmission and keep from having to continue adding fluid to keep your car running correctly.
For more information about BlueDevil transmission Sealer, visit our product information page here: Transmission Sealer.
You can purchase BlueDevil Transmission Sealer at any of our partnering local auto parts stores like:
- Advance Auto Parts
- Bennett Auto Supply
- CarQuest Auto parts
- NAPA Auto Parts
- O’Reilly Auto Parts
- Pep Boys
- Fast Track
- Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
- S&E Quick Lube Distributer
- DYK Automotive
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