The transmission is the second most important part of your vehicle and the second most expensive to replace. Certain repairs can cost nearly as much as replacing the transmission.
The transmission directs power from the engine to the wheels via driveshafts and axles. It also allows you to start slow so the engine doesn’t drag and stall. Thus, transmission is a complicated system with many parts.
Some of the parts are wear and tear, such as the clutches. Others, known in the industry as “hard parts,” also wear out, but they are made of metal and generally last for the life of the transmission—as long as you take care of it.
With the following tips, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you keep your transmission healthy.
1. Check the Transmission Fluid
Many people never think to check the transmission fluid. However, checking it not only tells you if it’s low but also lets you know if it’s burnt and needs replacing.
While flushing the transmission is to be done every five years (if you drive in normal conditions), it still needs plenty of checks between flushes.
So, check the fluid with the vehicle running and in park. The fluid should be bright red or pink and should have a sweetish smell. If the fluid is dark or smells burned, it won’t have enough lubrication and will wear out the transmission faster.
2. Keep the Engine Cooling System Up to Par
Keeping the engine’s cooling system in good working order helps keep the transmission working well. If the engine doesn’t cool efficiently, the transmission fluid gets hotter and doesn’t have enough lubrication.
This is especially important in Arizona’s hot temperatures. Constantly overheating the engine or allowing it to run hotter than it should will eventually burn the transmission fluid.
3. Follow a “Severe Use” Fluid Replacement Schedule When Necessary
Always check the transmission fluid more often when you drive in severe conditions. Towing, hauling heavy loads, or driving long distances in extreme heat, especially in the mountains, are all considered severe use.
If you drive mostly in the city and rarely hit the highway, that is also considered severe use, as the transmission never gets a chance to benefit from the wind at higher speeds or stay in one gear for a longer time.
4. Avoid Beating on the Transmission
When changing gears, make sure you are at a complete stop before shifting into reverse or park. Improper shifting will wear the clutches and gears and can damage the planetary gears in the transmission’s rear. It can also damage the driveshafts and axles.
5. Use the Parking Brake
Get into the habit of using the parking brake when you park on a hill. Most automatic transmissions have a parking pawl that prevents the vehicle from moving backward when you park on a hill. However, the parking pawl is just a pin and not a very strong one that will eventually break when constantly put under pressure.
6. Inspection, Maintenance, and More…
Each time you bring your vehicle into Mac’s Complete Auto Repair in Chandler, AZ, our techs will inspect the transmission to ensure everything is working properly.
However, regular maintenance intervals might not be enough if you drive in severe conditions, including Arizona’s heat. If you are not comfortable checking the transmission fluid and looking for leaks yourself, a transmission technician at Mac’s Complete Auto Repair can check it for you.
Some additional tips include:
- You should flush the transmission fluid and change the filter every five years or every three years if you drive in severe conditions.
- Keep your engine tuned. A poorly tuned engine causes the transmission to work harder.
- Because of the hot Arizona sun, install an auxiliary transmission cooler, especially if you tow a lot or drive in the mountains.
Contact Mac’s Complete Auto Repair in Chandler, AZ
Mac’s Complete Auto Repair provides transmission repair, replacement, and other services. So, if you suspect a problem with your vehicle’s transmission, call Mac’s Complete Auto Repair for an appointment at (480) 709-6259. We are conveniently located at 6948 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler, AZ 85226.