You may not know much about transmissions, but if you’ve ever had a problem with yours, you may know it’s time to get it checked out. A delay when you try to accelerate, any difficulty changing gears, or a burning smell can all be indications that your transmission needs a little help. Sometimes your transmission woes are more obvious, such as an indicator light on your dashboard or a puddle of red fluid underneath your parked car. Let’s look at three of the main causes for a slipping transmission that go beyond the symptoms of a larger problem.
A Little Low
While modern cars may have a sealed transmission system, they can still develop leaks, resulting in not enough fluid to keep the transmission working properly. Low transmission fluid should not be ignored because it could lead to expensive repairs. Those sealed systems usually do not have a dip stick, so you may need to take your car to a transmission dealer to get it inspected.
Breaking Up the Band
Most transmissions have bands that keep the gears moving smoothly. Like any moving part, these bands can wear out or break over time, which means transmission repair or replacement may be in your future. This type of repair is best left to a professional.
Let Out the Clutch
Another reason the transmission may be slipping is broken or worn out clutch pads or a dragging clutch. If your transmission has trouble switching gears or makes a grinding noise, it could be a sign of a problem with your clutch or the gears themselves. A transmission dealer can replace your clutch kit and get you back on the road.
Of course, these three issues are not the only causes of a slipping transmission, which is why taking your car to Trans Works should be your next step. We can inspect your vehicle and replace your system if needed. Contact us to make an appointment for your newer model or vintage car.
The transmission of your car is an important component. It’s what delivers the power generated by the engine to the wheels to make everything work. When the transmission doesn’t work, your car won’t work. Sometimes, you can repair the specific issue that isn’t working. Other times, the transmission may need to be replaced.
No one wants to think about a car transmission replacement, but when the transmission isn’t functioning right, your options are buying a new car, replacing your transmission or rebuilding it. Economically, you may not be ready to replace your car. Here are three reasons that rebuilding a transmission is a good choice.
Less Cash Outlay
Rebuilding a transmission is not cheap, but it is significantly cheaper than a new one and won’t cost as much as a new car. Most rebuilt transmissions come with a warranty, which should give you peace of mind that you’ll get your money’s worth. The cost savings puts less of a financial strain on you, because you won’t have higher insurance payments or take on a huge debt that you’ll being paying off for years to come with a new car.
A rebuilt transmission extends the life of your vehicle, keeping it out of the landfill. You don’t get rid of parts that are working correctly. The parts that you do replace are often updated, making your transmission work more efficiently than before. It uses less energy than manufacturing an entirely new unit.
Make Your Car Last Longer
Making your used car last a little longer gives you more time to save up money for the car you really do want to purchase. Fixing the transmission can mean that you get more for your trade-in than you would if the transmission were faulty. Rebuilt transmissions from a reputable mechanic can be just as reliable as new ones.
Wholesale Transmission Services
Workshop owners and auto mechanics who can’t rebuild a transmission in their own shop should consider our wholesale transmissions services. Buying in bulk saves money, because we guarantee the best price when you buy several transmissions at once. We’ve got over 30 years of experience in the industry. Our name is our reputation. We rebuild transmissions from scratch, using recycled and old components. We know our prices are affordable and know that our products are reliable.
Need more information about a rebuilt transmission? Contact our team online or call our office at 608-742-5136.
If you follow the recommended maintenance, the average automatic transmission might last up to 200,000 miles. Skip even one fluid service, and you could shorten the life of your gearbox. When the gears no longer grab, you need a replacement.
For the best value, you have your choice between a remanufactured or a rebuilt unit, but which one is better?
Here’s what you need to know:
Remanufactured Transmission Pros and Cons
A remanufactured gearbox is an older unit that has undergone a complete overhaul. Specialty repair shops equipped with machine and test equipment supply these units.
The technicians follow an established procedure:
- Complete disassembly and inspection of the old unit
- Worn metal components are machined or replaced as needed
- During reassembly, techs install new gaskets, clutches, bands, snap rings, and bearings
- The unit receives a technical update to correct for any known engineering defects
- A transmission dynamometer tests the function of the restored unit before delivery
These replacements come with some of the best warranties that also cover additional labor expenses should something go wrong. These are great options if you don’t mind spending a little more for your repair.
There are potential delays. It’s unlikely the local repair shop has the exact model you need sitting on the shelf. Order and delivery times keep your car out of service longer adding to your headaches. If you have an exotic vehicle, you may even have to wait for a refurbishment shop to service your unusual order.
All About Rebuilt Transmissions
In the right circumstances, a rebuilt transmission is just as good as a refurbished unit. These can last as long, and a good repair shop stands behind the work. The process is similar except that your gearbox does not need to arrive from a third-party supplier.
Your rebuilder performs the work in-house:
- Complete disassembly and inspection of the existing equipment
- All original hard metal parts remain with minor adjustments to severely worn assemblies
- The case and gears receive a thorough cleaning
- The technician reassembles the unit replacing worn clutches, gaskets, and fasteners
- After installing the reassembled unit, the vehicle gets a road test.
A qualified shop still warranties the work, but you must return to the rebuilder for any follow-up repairs. Rebuilders also typically do not upgrade the functionality. Instead, they focus on restoring the original equipment to working condition. For an older vehicle or a vehicle that you do not want to invest as much into, the rebuilt is often the preferable option.
Let’s Talk Transmissions
Trans Works Transmissions Warns Against Dangerous Transmission Habits
Trans Works Transmissions takes pride in helping their customers learn how to better protect their transmissions against serious damage. This is why they work hard to educate car owners. The common ways they could destroy their transmissions through potentially dangerous transmission habits.
The professionals at Trans Works Transmissions believe there are 14 ways car owners are putting their transmissions at risk. Some of these practices include using the incorrect fluid type or not changing the fluid at regular intervals. Stopping and starting abruptly and using the shift lever rather than braking. Driving without warming up the engine and improper towing techniques. These and other habits can cause excessive wear and tear on the transmission. It could ultimately lead to its failure or the need for repairs.
Although Trans Works Transmissions specializes in the repair of transmissions, they want to help their customers minimize costs and reduce the risk of needing serious repairs. Making their customers aware of the driving habits that can unnecessarily stress the transmission is their way of giving back and ensuring everyone can protect their car investment as much as possible.
Anyone interested in learning about these and other dangerous transmission habits can find out more by visiting the Trans Works Transmissions website or by calling 1-608-742-5136.
About Trans Works Transmissions:
Trans Works Transmissions is a car repair shop specializing in the repair of transmissions. Founded in 1981, the company has grown from operating out of a small home garage to serving customers out of a 9,000 square foot garage. Their highly trained and certified technicians are qualified to work on most makes and models.
Most auto manufacturers recommend servicing your transmission every 50,000 miles or so (check your owner’s manual for more details). But it’s a good idea to check transmission fluid periodically. One of the best times is during a normal engine oil change. If your transmission has a filler tube and dipstick you can check it yourself. If not, you’ll need to have it check by a transmission specialist.
It’s simple. Just follow these steps:
- Make sure the engine is at normal operating temperature.
- Park your vehicle on level ground.
- Place the shifter in Park and set the parking brake.
- Locate the transmission filler tube (note: some transmissions, particularly newer cars, do not have a transmission filler tube. If your car doesn’t have one you’ll have to take it to a specialist to check).
- Remove the dip stick and wipe it dry with a clean cloth.
- Reinsert the dipstick (all the way) and then remove it to view the fluid level. Dipstick design varies from manufacturer to manufacturer but they all have a “low” and a “full” mark. In this case, they’re holes in the stick. In most cases, the distance between the low mark and the full mark is one pint.
- In addition to checking the fluid level, check the condition of the fluid as well. Transmission fluid comes in a variety of colors but in all cases, the fluid should be clear and not have a burnt odor. For more information on transmission fluid condition see the ATRA article that addresses the color and smell of automatic transmission fluid.
- If the condition of the fluid is poor or the level is low you’ll want to have your transmission checked by a specialist. You can locate a qualified transmission specialist with ATRA’s Shop Finder. If the level is low, chances are you have a leak. Make sure you add fluid before driving any further.
To add transmission fluid:
- Place a clean funnel in the dipstick tube.
- Add fluid based as needed.
- Recheck the level as you did in step 6 above
No way to tell… at least, not yet. Not until the problem has been checked thoroughly by a qualified technician. After performing those tests, a technician will be able to tell you whether you’re dealing with a problem inside the transmission. Or a possible problem in the vehicle systems that control transmission operation.
But then he’ll be able to give you a price, right? Well, no… not completely. If the problem is in the computer system, the technician will probably have to perform additional diagnosis. This will identify the specific cause of the problem. That may take a half hour, or may take a few hours, depending on the problem. Once he’s identified the specific problem, the shop would be able to give you an accurate estimate of the cost to fix your car.
If the problem is inside the transmission, the shop may be able to give you a rebuild price based on the type of transmission and the transmission repair option you choose. If your preference is a custom-rebuilt transmission they’ll need to disassemble and inspect the transmission in order to give you a firm price.
The good news is that the vast majority of transmission problems that come into the shop these days don’t actually end up needing a new transmission. The repairs may end up costing less than 25% of the price of a rebuilt transmission.
The important thing is to take your car to a qualified transmission repair shop. There they can diagnose your transmission problem accurately, so you don’t end up paying for work you don’t really need. The ATRA Code of Ethics — which all ATRA members are bound by — dictates that ATRA members provide competent, quality diagnosis and repairs at an honest price.
Transmission Shop Or General Auto Repair?
If you’ve ever had your car at a quick lube or the auto department at your local big box store, you’ve probably seen the signs offering to service your car’s transmission. Which begs the questions: Should you use a transmission specialist or generalist?
Generally speaking, when it’s time to have your transmission serviced, you’ll always be better off taking your car to a transmission specialist, such as your local Transmission repair center.
Of course, that begs the question: Why? Why can’t a general repair shop handle a transmission service? After all, it’s just about draining out the old oil and replacing it with new, right?
Not exactly. Oh, sure, in the simplest terms, a transmission service is about changing the oil. But that’s really only a small part of the process.
Servicing Your Transmission The Right Way
The more important issue is about knowing what to look for. Is the old oil really burnt or just a little worn out? Is the material in the bottom of the sump indicate a problem or is it just from normal wear? And should you really be paying for a service… or is it too late for that?
These are important questions, and they go way beyond the simple “drain out the old oil and replacing it with new” mentality. Those questions require technical expertise that’s well beyond that of the average oil change worker. It requires the eye of a true transmission expert.
So, when asking yourself whether to use a transmission specialist or generalist, consider whether they can offer you the knowledge and the experience to be sure your transmission is in good condition.
Both manual and automatic transmissions are generally trouble-free, but there are times when problems arise. Transmission issues manifest themselves in different ways, so it’s important that vehicle owners monitor how their vehicle’s transmission is operating. While there are many potential issues that require transmission repair, there are three common ones that should never be ignored.
Any transmission, whether manual or automatic, should not leak. That means if there are any signs of a leak developing, it’s important to deal with the issue quickly. This will prevent damage to the transmission’s internal components. Seal leaks are generally the cause of fluid leaks and are one of the easier issues to deal with. Although the labor for replacing some seals can be quite high, it’s always lower than having to replace a transmission that fails because of that leak. Leaky Transmission issues should never be ignored.
Transmissions Should Never Slip
Slipping Gears always indicate some sort of problem. That means when transmissions don’t engage quickly when shifted into gear or shifts between gear are not precise. It’s time to have the vehicle looked at by a transmission specialist. Letting a problem go unattended is not recommended, as additional damage can occur when problems are not promptly dealt with.
Don’t Ignore Warning Lights
That Check Engine Light is there for a reason. In most cases, the light will come on to let the driver know there is some sort of an engine-related problem, but there are also times when the light indicates a transmission issue. Industry experts always recommend drivers take steps to determine why the light is on. Diagnostic equipment will quickly isolate the source of the issue, so it pays to visit a qualified technician when the check engine light comes on. Quickly identifying an issue and dealing with it often saves money.
No one wants to be stranded by the side of the road, and responding to any changes in the way your transmission behaves normally helps to prevent breakdowns. Maintenance is also important, so discuss your driving habits with a transmission expert to determine what care your vehicle needs. If any changes in a vehicle’s performance are noted, it’s always time to ask an expert for advice.
Arguments related to Manual vs. Automatic Towing have raged for years, with proponents on both sides touting the advantages of their preferred transmission. Anyone considering towing with any vehicle should carefully consider a variety of factors that contribute to the argument. Once all the factors are considered, your choice may be clear. Or, maybe it won’t.
Manual Shifting Has Advantages
There are a great many people who steadfastly believe Manual Towing allows drivers to have better control, especially during poor weather or when driving over rough terrain. In fact, there is some truth to those claims, as carefully selecting gears can control speeds effectively on steep inclines. However, it’s important to recognize the fact newer vehicles now incorporate safety devices to assist automatic transmission users on all types of terrain and during inclement weather.
Automatic Transmissions are Easier to Drive
The number of drivers who are truly proficient at using a standard transmission is rapidly declining. Even Jeep has reportedly considered dropping manual transmission options from its Wrangler lineup in favor of automatic transmissions. Automatic Towing does eliminate the need for drivers to focus on which gear they’re in, though, which does, in fact, make it easier to stay aware of other conditions when towing.
Towing any trailer without fully understanding the importance of the trailer’s weight can cause many problems. Here, automatic transmissions often have the edge. The towing capacities as rated by manufacturers tend to be lower for vehicles with manual transmissions. Every vehicle’s towing rate is readily available, and it pays to check that rating before towing anything. Some engine/transmission options, especially with smaller vehicles, are not intended to pull any heavy loads. If you’ve got any questions about the ratings for your specific vehicle, contact an expert. That will determine what, if any, towing is advised.
Hauling that boat to the lake or pulling a utility trailer loaded with home improvement supplies is not a problem for most light trucks, SUVs, or even larger cars. However, safety should always be a top priority when towing any type of trailer. The argument over which type of transmission is best can be an issue, but both options will work when the driver is comfortable with the driving situation.
Determining what problem(s) your car has may seem like an impossible task. Especially to the untrained eyes and ears of the average driver. It may be helpful to think of your car’s inner workings as similar to that of the human body. For instance, if you have chest pain that could point toward any number of health issues. But if the chest pain exists in addition to difficulty breathing, then it is much more likely that asthma (or something very similar) is the cause. Automotive problems are diagnosed in a similar manner. Problems that involve mechanical systems typically exhibit distinct sensations and sounds. These act as indicators that a certain process isn’t working the way it is intended to. As soon as you recognize that something seems a bit “off” with your vehicle’s functionality, it is time to assess the issue and look for a way to fix it.
Diagnosing car problems yourself may seem like an impossible task. Try to think of it in terms of your own body. For instance, if your stomach begins to hurt without warning, you’ll probably start thinking of the last thing you ate in order to figure out why you’re having the pain. A similar type of thinking goes into diagnosing car trouble. The moment you start noticing something out of the ordinary, it’s time to start considering the problem and finding a way to fix it.
Your car’s transmission is a complex mechanical system that controls the application of power from the engine to the driveshaft. It experiences more wear and tear over time than most other parts of your vehicle due to the heat and friction produced by their many moving and interacting components. Major issues are bound to arise if your transmission is not well maintained and/or symptoms of a problem are not checked by a professional soon after they develop.
Transmission repairs or replacements are inconvenient, stressful and typically quite expensive, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to any activity that seems unusual. Adhering to the recommended maintenance procedures and schedule intended to prevent problems will help your transmission last longer, perform better and require fewer repairs over its lifespan. That said, if you’re having some car trouble, it is important to know what the most common types of transmission problems are so that you can easily diagnose them and get them fixed. Here is a list of 10 symptoms of transmission trouble and what signs you should look for.
Lack of Response
Ever notice that while driving that the car hesitates or refuses to go into gear? If you have, then there is definitely something wrong. The moment a driver shifts from park to drive the car should immediately go into the proper gear. For automatic transmissions, you might notice that when shifting into drive or park that there is a delay before you feel the gear engage. This is usually a transmission-based concern. Manual transmissions can have the same lacking response issue, but after shifting into gear the engine’s RPMs will surge, but the car won’t move as fast as the engine sounds like it’s going. This is usually caused by a clutch that needs to be replaced, but may sometimes point to a more severe problem.
Whining, Clunking and Humming
It’s impossible to say exactly what your car will sound like when there is trouble with your transmission, but one thing is for sure, you’ll get an “I haven’t heard that sound before” feeling when you notice it. The sounds that are produced vary widely between different makes and models, but the best way to describe them is that you’ll probably hear a humming, buzzing or whining noise.
Manual transmissions will emit sounds that can be described as being slightly more mechanical, louder and abrupt sounding. A clunking sounds when you shift gears almost always lies within a transmission, while constant velocity joins or the differential may be the source if the clunking is coming from the underside of your car.
As mentioned already, it is always best to get the problem diagnosed and repaired as soon as possible and not wait until later when you “find the time” or “have the money”. If you wait until later what would have been a relatively inexpensive repair can easily become a much more costly one.
A leak is probably the most recognizable symptom and should be repaired as soon as possible. Letting the fluid leak is one of the most common causes transmission break down. Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is the life-blood of a transmission as it lubricates, cleans and conditions the seals and acts as hydraulic fluid. Without it (or even if it gets too low), the engine will seize up and stop working completely.
ATF is bright red in color, clear and smells somewhat sweet if everything is working correctly. If this is what you find on your driveway, then all that needs to be fixed is the hole. If the fluid is dark and/or has a burnt smell then it’s time to get the fluid changed or flushed and repairs might be required. To check if you’re running low on fluid, take your car for a short drive to warm it up and then lift the hood and read the dipstick (be sure the vehicle is on level ground).
Unlike motor oil, transmission fluid is not burned off or consumed by a car so if the level is low then there is a leak somewhere that must be patched. It is recommended to top up the fluid anyway even if the leak still exists to make sure there is enough fluid for the transmission to function properly until you get it fixed.
To check the fluid level for a manual transmission, you must check at the transmission case (usually through the fill plug) – not with a dipstick under the hood.
Grinding or Shaking
A car is supposed to run smoothly and without any shaking, or jerking, and there is not supposed to be any grinding sounds. These all suggest that there is a problem with the gears. Manual transmissions commonly indicate problems by making a grinding noise or feeling when you shift into a gear. If the grinding occurs after engaging the clutch and shifting, this can be sign that the clutch may need to be replaced or adjusted. That said, it can also point towards several other issues including damaged or worn out gear synchronizes.
Automatic transmissions act a little differently. Instead of making a grinding noise, you will likely feel it take some time to wiggle into gear at first instead of the typical smooth transitions. As the problem gets worse, the transitions into the next gear become more jarring and involve more shaking. There are a few other reasons for grinding or shaking, but the appropriate course of action is still to have it inspected and serviced.
Any burning smell coming from your car is a cause for concern. Overheating transmission fluid is one of the causes of a burning smell. Transmission fluid helps keep the parts lubricated and cooled so that they don’t get worn out and damaged. If the fluid breaks down, the system runs too hot. This results in increased friction and corrosive activity as well as the build-up of additional sludge and debris. If this is not taken care of, the transmission will eventually damage itself enough to break down completely. The end result is an expensive replacement. Common causes include low fluid level or using the incorrect brand/type of fluid. To check for these, see the instructions in the section on Low/Leaking Fluid above.
Refuses to Go Into Gear
If the car will not shift after engaging the clutch and trying to move the stick, take a look at the fluid to make sure that it is at the right level. Other causes include using the incorrect thickness (type) of fluid and the clutch linkage or shift cables needing adjustment. The source of the problem could also be the vehicle’s computer system. If you’ve already inspected the fluid, you can try resetting it. To do this, detach the battery and let it stand for thirty minutes. Then, reattach and allow the system to reset itself. This usually takes around thirty minutes. If this doesn’t work either, then it’s time to take it to a mechanic.
Check Engine Light
The check engine light located on your car’s dashboard is a great early indicator that something is about to go wrong (or already has) with your car, and in particular with your transmission. While the light turns on for a number of reasons other than transmission issues, it very important not to ignore this helpful warning sign. There are sensors placed in many areas of a car’s engine that alert the computer if it senses unusual activity. Things coming from a particular process. The sensors on a transmission can pick up on the slightest jerks and vibrations.
Take the vehicle in and have it inspected. They can take a look and immediately tell what is happening through the use of similar diagnostic tools. If you’d like to diagnose the problem yourself (and possibly save yourself a trip to the mechanic’s) you can buy a diagnostic scan tool. It would be plugged into the instrument panel on the driver’s side. It then returns a code that corresponds to the part that needs attention. Whatever you do, do not assume that the check engine light can wait because it might be warning you of a serious problem in the near future.
Transmission Noisy in Neutral
Luckily, a transmission that is noisy (goes “bump”) when it is in neutral could have an inexpensive, simple solution such as adding some fluid or changing it. This could do the trick, as it does for several other issues on this list. If that doesn’t work, the transmission may require professional attention to replace worn out parts, most commonly the bearings, worn gear teeth or the reverse idler gear.
A transmission stays in a designated gear until a shift is performed by the driver (manual) or the computer (automatic). If the transmission is spontaneously slipping in an out of gear (or simply popping into neutral) while driving, I don’t need to tell you that this is a serious safety risk. When you need to step on the gas to avoid a dangerous situation, you need power delivered to the wheels, end of story. The cause can be the link that holds the gears is worn or broken. Get your car inspected and repaired as soon as possible.
A dragging clutch describes the symptom experienced by manual transmissions that involves the clutch disk failing to disengage the flywheel when the clutch pedal is pressed. The clutch is still spinning with the engine which makes it anywhere from difficult to impossible to change gears. This difficulty is accompanied by a grinding noise each time you try to change gears. Fortunately, this problem is considerably less expensive to repair than many other issues. More often than not, the cause of this is too much slack in the clutch pedal. With too much slack available, the linkage between the clutch disk and pedal can’t pull the clutch disk away from the flywheel.
It is important to keep up a regular maintenance schedule for your car. Many times major expensive repairs can be avoided if the vehicle is properly maintained. This is especially true if you notice something unusual. The car should be taken in immediately for service. Brushing up on your knowledge of transmissions (at least the basics) is highly recommended. It can help you save money by avoiding costly inspections. Doing simple procedures such as changing transmission fluid can help you avoid being over-repaired, over charged or simply ripped off.
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Source: Transmission Repair Cost Guide