As a rule, you should replace the clutch in a manual car every 30,000 to 100,000 miles. However, if you don’t treat your car right, you can end up wearing it out a lot sooner. You may unconsciously have a number of bad habits that are harmful to your car’s clutch. Here are a few habits to avoid.
Putting the Car in Gear While Stopped –
When you’re at a stoplight, or otherwise not moving for at least the next 20 seconds or so, then your car should be in Neutral. Leaving it in gear, or putting it in gear too soon (before the light turns green) will cause damage. Whenever you come to a stoplight, put the car in Neutral and take your foot off the clutch pedal until it turns green.
Riding or Slipping the Clutch –
The only time the clutch pedal should be pressed is as you’re shifting gears. Don’t leave your foot on the pedal in anticipation of your next shift. That includes while you’re driving, as well as while you’re stopped and in neutral. It’s easy to let your foot stay on the pedal without even thinking about it, or to drive with the clutch sort of half pressed. This is called riding the clutch, and it causes damage over time. Some people also leave the pedal half pressed between shifts deliberately, in an attempt to go faster. Not only does this not actually work to build speed, it causes overheating. To save your clutch, be aware of where your foot is and when you are and aren’t shifting gears, and only press the clutch when you need to.
Leaving Your Hand on the Gear Shift –
Just like leaving your foot idly on the clutch, it’s easy to leave your hand idly on the gear shift while driving, in anticipation of the next gear. Doing this results in undue pressure, which can keep the rotating collar from rotating and cause significant damage.
Clutch Balancing –
When you’re driving up a hill or incline, your car needs an extra boost of power to keep it moving forward. The clutch gives it more power, so the temptation is, when driving uphill, to use the clutch, in combination with the accelerator. This WILL give the car more power. It will also cause the clutch to slip and overheat. When driving on a hill, use the break, not the clutch.
Shifting Gears Too Fast of Too Slowly –
Some drivers, particularly ones inexperienced with a manual transmission, will shift gears very slowly. This will cause many of the problems listed above that come with lingering on the pedal when you shouldn’t, such as overheating and other damage. Likewise, you shouldn’t release the clutch too quickly. This gives your car a jerky motion as it moves, and can also cause stalling, both of which will damage both the engine and the transmission over time. It should always be a smooth, fluid transition from one gear to the next. Look for the clutch’s bite point, when the two plates meet. Right at the bite point, the engine’s sound will change, and the front of the car will lift up a tiny bit. With practice, you’ll be able to hear and feel the bite point of your car easily, which will help you make smoother, more fluid gear shifts.
Taking care of your clutch and breaking your bad habits is important. Not only will it help your clutch last longer, it will give you a better, smoother driving experience overall. And when you do finally need to replace your clutch, you can call us, to make sure the job is done right.
Contact us to learn more!
Is your vehicle slow to respond when you hit the gas? If you’re still hearing the engine revving, then the issue is likely the transmission. Transmission slips can occur for a variety of reasons, and while it may not mean that your transmission is about to fail, it is something that you should have addressed sooner rather than later. The longer you let the problem persist, the more likely the transmission is to suffer more significant damage. And being that the transmission is the most critical vehicle component after the engine, it’s not something that you want to ignore.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the biggest reasons why your transmission may slip:
5 Top Reasons Why Your Transmission is Slipping
- A Bad Solenoid
Solenoids help control the flow of transmission fluid, essentially helping push fluid into the valve body to engage the proper gear. But like many components in a vehicle, solenoids can experience their fair share of problems as well. When they do, they may not push enough fluid through the transmission to engage the right gears. This can lead to more than just slipping but overheating.
- Poor Transmission Bands
Transmission bands can break or wear out over time — and when they do, the transmission can slip. It’s largely because these bands have to very accurately timed for the transmission to perform up to its full potential. The good news is that bands are able to be replaced if they become too worn or damaged.
- Worn Gears
Gears can wear out in the transmission over time too. When they do, they won’t engage properly and are more likely to slip. While routine wear and tear of gears is normal, there are some things that you can do to help prolong the life of these components. For instance, perhaps the most significant thing you can do is make sure there is adequate amounts of transmission fluid. It’s also important to be mindful of overheating.
- Torque Converter Problems
As the name implies, the torque converter helps convert power from the engine into torque that the transmission uses. But if this hard-working component is defective, then there are bound to be problems. What’s more is that problems might be more significant than just transmission slippage but jumping gears or an overheating transmission.
- Bad Fluid, Low Fluid Levels
This is the biggest reason for transmission slips. It’s also the easiest to fix. While you should be having the transmission fluid flushed per your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations (usually 30,000 to 60,000 miles), you should also be regularly checking the levels in the fluid tank. This fluid is a key cog to ensuring the transmission is operating smoothly.
Contact Trans Works Transmissions
Like we said in the introduction, while a slipping transmission doesn’t mean that this component is soon to fail, it is important to address these issues so that they do not become more severe and more expensive to repair. At Trans Works Transmissions, we’ll work to carefully diagnose the cause of the slips and then work to resolve the issue so that you can once again achieve peak performance out of your transmission and your vehicle. For more information on common causes of transmission slips, contact us today.
Your transmission filter is what prevents dirt and other debris from getting into your transmission. Without it, your transmission fluid becomes a dark sludge, which can cause stalling, gear shifting problems, and a host of other issues. Of course, like any filter, eventually your transmission filter gets clogged with debris. How do you know when it’s clogged, and how do you fix it? Here’s a crash course in fixing a clogged transmission filter.
Signs Your Filter Is Clogged
First, listen for odd noises. You may hear a metal rattling sound, like something loose or jiggling around inside your car. If you drive a stick shift, then the sound may be a whirring noise whenever you shift gears. This could be instead of the rattling, or in addition to it.
If you notice these sounds, check your transmission fluid. Is it bright red, like it’s supposed to be, or has it become brown or black? If it’s the latter, you’ll need to flush your transmission fluid as well as taking care of the filter.
Other signs of a clogged filter include a burning smell, as dirty fluid runs hotter than clean fluid does. There may even be smoke coming from under the hood, which means you should stop the car immediately. Do not pass Go, but go directly to the nearest mechanic.
You also may experience problems shifting gears, or with the clutch slipping. The car may stall at red lights as well. These are common problems when your transmission fluid is dirty, and likewise, common when your filter is clogged. You may notice leaks as well. If, when you take your car out of the driveway or garage, there’s a dark, oily spot on the ground where it was, then your transmission fluid may be leaking. The leak itself will need to be addressed, but it’s also a sign of a clogged transmission filter.
What to Do About a Clogged Filter
Like almost any filter, when your transmission filter is clogged, it will need to be replaced with a clean one. How often this needs to be done depends on the make, model, and year of your vehicle, but it’s usually every 30,000 to 100,000 miles—around the same frequency as your transmission fluid, and your clutch, if you drive a manual.
To replace the filter, first put the car on a jack. Drain the transmission fluid, and remove and clean the pan. Then, put a new gasket seal on the pan before replacing it.
Next, remove the old filter. It may be bolted in place, but you can generally get it out with a screwdriver. There may be snaps instead of bolts, which will make removal much easier. Take your new transmission filter and put it in the old one’s place. Bolt or snap it in place. Then, put the transmission pan back in place, and add new transmission fluid. Be sure to dispose of the old fluid properly. Don’t throw it on the ground or down the drain. Talk to your local auto parts store to see if they’ll take it. If not, they’ll at least know who will.
If you’d rather not replace your own transmission filter, or are not quite sure you know how to do it correctly, call your mechanic instead. They’re trained in how to do it properly, and can avoid the problems that can arise from poor or incorrect installation—problems which can result in much more expensive repairs down the road.
However, whether you do it yourself or call a professional, the most important thing is that you take care of your clogged filter as soon as you notice a problem. A clogged filter is a fairly straightforward job for any mechanic. But the longer you wait, the worse things will get, and the more extensive the repairs will be. So go sooner, rather than later. You’ll be glad you did.
Your car needs water—but it has to be in the right place. In the radiator, it’s doing its job as usual. However, when it gets into other places—most notably, your transmission—then it can cause problems. How does water get into your transmission? What happens when the transmission gets flooded, and what can you do about it? Here’s what you need to know about when water floods your transmission.
How Water Gets Into Your Transmission
First, let’s address the issue of how water gets into your transmission in the first place. First, there could be a leak in your radiator. The water leaks out and gets mixed in with your transmission fluid. Check your transmission fluid. It’s supposed to be bright red. If it’s more of a milky pink, that means it’s diluted, and there’s water in there.
The water may also come in from outside. Your car is designed to withstand the elements, but that’s only as long as the water level doesn’t rise above a certain point on the car. If there’s a flood in your area, or you drive through a deep puddle, then water may reach the vent that keeps your transmission’s barometric pressure stable. If this happens, water can enter the transmission. Water may also enter through the dipstick tube, which then gets transferred into the transmission.
What Happens When Water Floods Your Transmission
Your transmission’s clutch plates use friction to transfer power from the engine. When water gets into the transmission—even a very small amount—it begins to dissolves the glue that holds the friction lining in place on the plates. Eventually, lining will come off the plates entirely, and the car will no longer be able to shift gears.
The mixture of water and glue then forms a gummy, white substance then ultimately spreads through the transmission fluid and makes the fluid difficult to flush out. Additionally, the water can simply cause the transmission’s metal parts to rust. If the problem isn’t caught quickly, it may require a complete transmission overhaul. All-in-all, water in the transmission is one of the most destructive things that can happen to an automatic car.
How to Get Water Out of Your Transmission
First, it’s important to spot the problem as soon as possible. If your car is in a flood, don’t start the engine before checking the transmission fluid for water. If you start the car, the water will be pulled into the transmission itself, making it much harder to remove.
If you manage to spot the problem in time, before turning on your ignition, then oftentimes the transmission fluid can simply be drained and replaced. However, if the water gets into the transmission itself, then the process is more complicated. Flushing the transmission may require several dozen quarts of fluid.
If you’ve been driving your car for a while with water in the transmission, then the problem is likely even more serious. The transmission may need to be replaced entirely.
As soon as you notice or suspect that your car may have water in the transmission, get it to a mechanic immediately. Have it towed if possible, rather than driving it, to reduce further damage. It’s a difficult, and often dangerous problem for your car to have, as well as, in most cases, an expensive one. But if you can spot the problem quickly and get it taken care of right away, you can minimize the damage and, with a bit of know-how, your car can be made good as new again.
When your car won’t go into gear, it can cause serious problems. What’s the trouble? It could be any number of things, depending on whether you have a manual transmission or an automatic transmission. Here’s a rundown of some of the possible problems, and what to do about them.
Manual Transmission Gear Problems
If you drive a stick shift, you may find that when you press the clutch, the gear shift still won’t move. The problem might be that the clutch is simply worn out. After a while, there’s no longer enough friction to transfer power from the engine to the wheels.
On average, the clutch on a stick shift wears out every 60,000 miles or so—depending on how and where you drive it. Fortunately, replacing it is a fairly routine procedure, which your mechanic should be able to perform relatively quickly.
There also may be an issue with the clutch master cylinder, and the hydraulic fluid contained therein. If the clutch goes all the way to the floor, then this may be the problem. If the cylinder leaks, eventually there won’t be enough hydraulic fluid to put the car into gear. In this case, the clutch master cylinder will need to be replaced.
Automatic Transmission Gear Problems
Automatic cars can have problems shifting into gear as well. In this case, there’s a good possibility the issue is an electronic one. Most of the mechanisms that tell a car to shift gears automatically are electronic, rather than mechanical. If the electronic signals aren’t being sent or received properly, it can keep the valves that control the flow of transmission fluid from opening or closing—which then keeps the car from going into gear.
Or the issue could be with the shift interlock mechanism. The mechanism is designed to keep you from accidentally shifting to Neutral or Park while the car is in motion. As you’re no doubt aware, you can’t put your car into Park unless the engine is running and both the break pedal and the button on the side of the gear shift are being pressed.
However, if you’re doing all of that, and the car still won’t shift into drive, try pressing the shift lock release button. It’s a small button, usually right next to the gear shift. There may be a small covering over the button, to prevent it from being pressed accidentally. Remove the cover and use a small, narrow object, such as a key or a screwdriver, to press the button. Then, depress the brake and shift gears as you normally would.
If this doesn’t solve the problem, or if the gear shift continues to lock going forward, then talk to your mechanic. You may need a new brake pedal position sensor, or there may be a transmission problem.
This is an issue that can plague either a manual OR automatic transmission. The transmission fluid is what allows the gears to shift smoothly. Over time, dirt, grease, and other contaminants can build up in the fluid, causing it to turn from bright red to a brown or black sludge. This sludge is hard on your gears, and should be flushed out and replaced with new transmission fluid. As a general rule, replace your transmission fluid every two years or 30,000 miles.
There may also be a leak, which means there’s not enough fluid in your transmission—which also wreaks havoc on your gears. In this case, your fluid needs to be replaced—as soon as the leak is repaired, of course.
With regular upkeep to your vehicle, and regular service to your transmission when needed, you can prevent a lot of these problems and keep your gears shifting smoothly. Talk to your mechanic to see what your car needs to help it continue running optimally, and avoid costly repairs.
You should flush your transmission every 30,000 miles or so, draining the fluid and replacing it with new. 30,000 miles can be hard to keep track of, though, particularly as it may take three or four years to get there. And in some cases, you might need the change sooner. How do you know when your transmission needs to be serviced?
Here are five signs that you need new transmission fluid.
- Grinding Noises. If you hear a grinding noise in your transmission as you’re driving, it may indicate a couple of things. Your transmission fluid may be low, in which case it should be replaced. Or there may be a buildup of dirt, grease, and other contaminants, in which case, the transmission needs a flush. Check your transmission fluid levels, and notice what color the fluid is. If it’s red, it’s fine. If it’s brown or black, you need a flush.
- Leaking. When you pull out of your driveway or garage, do you see dark, oily spots on the ground where your car just was? If so, it’s a sign that your transmission fluid is leaking. First, you need to get the leak repaired as quickly as possible, to avoid further damage. Then, you’ll need new transmission fluid, to replace what’s leaked out.
- Slipping or Other Gear-Shifting Problems. Does your car slip in and out of gear? Does it have trouble going up or down steep hills? Maybe you’re having trouble shifting from one gear to another, with shifts coming too soon or too late. If this is happening to you, then you may not have enough hydraulic power. And one of the main causes of a lack of hydraulic power, is your transmission fluid. Just as with unusual noises, the cause may be a lack of transmission fluid, or simply that the fluid is dirty and needs to be flushed. Either of these issues can lead to gear slipping—which makes driving dangerous, and should be looked at and fixed as soon as possible.
- Surging or Stalling. If your car surges forward (or backward), seemingly at random, then it’s a sign that your transmission fluid may have become dirty. Alternately, if your car accelerates too slowly, and seems non-responsive, particularly when the light switches from red to green, this may also indicate a problem with your transmission. Finally, if your car likes to stall when you shift gears, then your transmission fluid may be overburdened with contaminants. In each of these cases, a change in transmission fluid may be necessary. Check the fluid, or have your mechanic take a look.
- The Check Engine or Transmission Warning Light Is On. The Check Engine light may indicate a number of things, but transmission problems are definitely among them. If the Transmission light specifically goes on, that’s an even greater indicator that you may need to replace your fluid. Whatever the problem may be, when a warning light comes on, get it checked out as soon as possible to determine the issue, and have the car serviced.
These are the major signs to look out for when your transmission fluid needs to be changed. If you notice any of them while you’re driving, don’t just let them go. Get them checked out immediately, to determine the problem and get it fixed. Changing transmission fluid is a fairly standard and inexpensive automotive procedure. But the longer you drive with low or dirty fluid, the more damage it will do to your car, and the more serious the repairs will be later on. Get it taken care of now, and save yourself the hassle (and the expense) later on.
Next to your vehicle’s engine, there’s no more important component than the transmission. Simply put, the transmission works hand-in-hand with the engine, shifting gears so that the appropriate amount of power is delivered to the wheels to ensure you’re able to drive at a target speed. But transmissions can experience a number of issues, such as gears slipping, rough or delayed shifting, or leaking fluid. While many transmission issues can be repaired, the cost is often significant. What’s more is that replacing a transmission that’s beyond repair can cost thousands of dollars. The good news is that staying on top of maintenance schedules and paying attention to the way you drive can ensure your transmission operates better for longer.
Here’s a look at how to keep it running smoothly:
Adjust Your Driving Behaviors
Simply changing your driving habits can help preserve your transmission for longer. For instance, don’t put your car into drive from reverse – or vice-versa – until the vehicle comes to a complete stop. Otherwise, you’re likely putting unnecessary strain on your transmission. Additionally, don’t tailgate other drivers or engage in a driving style where you’re constantly “riding your brakes.” Finally, it can be helpful for your transmission to have time to “warm up” during the winter months before you put your vehicle in gear. If you don’t have a remote car starter, just give it a minute after you start your engine every morning.
Check Your Transmission Fluid
Just as your engine needs oil to operate effectively and efficiently, your transmission relies on a special fluid. But similar to engine oil, this fluid can leak or dirty over time. We’ll get into the importance of transmission flushes in the next section, but it’s worth it to get into the habit of regularly checking transmission fluid levels – especially in older vehicles. Refill as needed and have any leaks repaired immediately.
Have Your Transmission Flushed
A good rule of thumb is to have your vehicle’s transmission flushed once every 30,000 miles, though it’s always best to refer to the owner’s manual for your particular vehicle. Similar to changing your vehicle’s engine oil, flushing the transmission will evacuate any dirty, old or burnt fluid from the system for fresh new fluid. Flushes can simply help extend the life of the vehicle transmission. In addition to having your transmission fluid flushed, make sure the filter is changed out for a new one as well.
Don’t Put Excessive Wear and Tear on the Engine
Aggressive driving, towing and driving on underinflated tires are often associated with putting excessive strain on the vehicle engine, resulting in more wear and tear and poor gas mileage. But these types of behaviors also have a trickle-down effect on the transmission.
Have it Routinely Inspected
In addition to the points that we ticked off above, the best way to maintain the health of your transmission is to make sure that you’re having it checked out when you take your vehicle in for routine repairs or oil changes. A professional can perform a thorough diagnostic check on the component, checking it for leaks, monitoring fluid levels and fluid quality, and looking out for any other issues that may need to be addressed.
In the old days, there was one type of transmission available in every car, the manual. It took three pedals and a bit of know-how to operate correctly, but it was the only choice. Today, there are multiple types of transmissions on the road. Let’s take a look at four of the most popular transmission types on that market!
Though they are getting increasingly rare, you can still buy cars with manual transmissions. In these transmissions, the driver must depress a clutch pedal to disengage the motor before shifting into a new gear by moving a lever connected to the transmission by a mechanical linkage.
Getting the most out of a manual transmission requires a skilled human operator. Because of this, manual transmissions are found mostly in high-performance cars, focused on delivering an enjoyable driving experience.
The best part about manual transmissions at that they are the least expensive to repair or replace.
The automatic is the most common transmission on the road today. In today’s automatic transmissions, a sophisticated computer determines when to shift gears. This requires no skill from the driver, who is completely removed from the decision-making process.
In the old days, automatic transmissions could not match the fuel economy of manual transmissions. However, today’s sophisticated models are every bit as efficient as even the best drivers.
Continuously Variable Transmission
In the continuously variable transmission or CVT, the gears are removed entirely and replaced by a system of belts and pulleys. The system is infinitely variable. The computer continually makes adjustments to keep the engine running in its optimal power range. This delivers unparalleled fuel efficiency.
Over the next several years, CVT transmissions will likely start to outnumber their automatic counterparts.
These transmissions offer a driving experience similar to manual transmissions by allowing the driver to control when the transmission shifts gears. However, the driver is connected to the transmission through an electronic system rather than a mechanical linkage. Many vehicles with semi-automatic transmissions have paddle shifters on the steering wheel, making any driver feel like a Formula One racer behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, these transmissions are quite expensive. They are typically found on high-end sports cars, and repair costs can be astronomical. Only driving enthusiasts are willing to pay the price for the performance and driving experience semi-automatic transmissions offer.
Every type of transmission has advantages and disadvantages. Which is the best choice for you? It depends on what you’re driving and how you like to drive it. If you have any questions about your transmission, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
It’s a question nearly everyone will ask when their car needs a repair: Should I take my vehicle to the dealership or go to an independent mechanic? The answer to this question will vary based on your situation. If your car is still under warranty, the dealership is typically the right answer. But after your warranty expires, things get a bit murkier.
What’s the difference between taking your car to a dealer or an independent mechanic? Here’s how they stack up:
Auto dealerships have a lot of overhead to deal with. They typically have more extensive facilities, highly trained personnel, and plenty of warranty repairs they have to do for free. Their high operating costs are spread over a relatively small number of paying customers.
Independent mechanics rarely perform a warranty repair and don’t have any other operations to support. Independent mechanics usually win on cost.
Auto dealerships usually use original parts for every repair. These parts typically cost more than their aftermarket equivalents. When you go to an independent mechanic, you could ask them to use OEM parts, but you can also choose less expensive aftermarket parts.
If you want to speak directly to your mechanic, you will want to go to an independent mechanic. When you talk to a dealership service department, you’ll usually speak to a receptionist or a service advisor.
At an independent auto shop, you can typically speak directly to the mechanic who works on your car. Over time, you may develop a relationship with your mechanic.
Auto dealerships have one make of cars to deal with. They are the first ones to receive technical service bulletins and recalls. If you have a particular make of car made within the last 10 years or so, the odds are high that your auto dealership has seen your problem and fixed it many times.
An independent mechanic must be knowledgeable about many makes and models of cars. While they may not have the same level of expertise about a particular vehicle, their general skill is much higher.
Your local dealership keeps a file on every customer. Even years later, they can get copies of maintenance records and recalls. This information helps them make an informed decision if you bring your car as a trade-in.
When you work with an independent mechanic, it’s usually up to you to keep track of your own records.
If you want to eat a fancy pastry, have some gourmet coffee, and watch TV while you wait for your auto repair, you want to have for the dealership. Just remember, the extra amenities come at a cost.
Choosing where to take your car for repair is a personal decision. Whether you take your vehicle to the dealership or to an independent mechanic, it’s up to you to find a mechanic you trust. When it comes to transmission repair, we think that Transworks Transmissions has the edge.
The transmission is one of the most complex, most expensive components on your car. It does the job of transferring power from your engine to your wheels as efficiently as possible. Different parts of your drive-train are turning at different speeds, so it takes a lot of different gears to keep everything in sync. It’s no surprise that transmission problems are expensive to fix.
What should you look for a transmission shop? There are six keys to doing the job right:
A transmission is a piece of precision machinery. It may not be as sterile as a hospital, but if a transmission shop is dirty and untidy, it may reflect on the quality of work the shop can provide.
There are a lot of ways a transmission can go wrong. Some problems are more involved and more expensive than others. A good transmission shop will tell you what is going on, and what you can do about it.
Fair, Detailed Estimates
A good transmission shop has a lot of experience in dealing with all kinds of transmission problems. They should be able to give you an accurate, detailed estimate of the work to be done. If they are evasive about the price, you should move on.
Check the Computer
Modern transmissions have computer brains that help them adapt to your driving style and typical driving conditions. Sometimes, simply resetting the computer is enough to solve a simple problem.
Only Pull the Transmission If Necessary
At some transmission shops, every job’s first step is pulling the transmission out of the vehicle. For many situations, this just isn’t necessary. For some shops, removing the transmission is just an excuse to charge more money.
Clean it Up
Finally, any transmission repair job should involve a thorough cleaning. It’s much easier to spot leaks and other potential troubles with a clean undercarriage.
Give Us a Call!
Transmission repairs can be costly, but fortunately, when they are done right, they are rare. Having your transmission fixed by a professional will prevent future problems and save you money in the long run! If you think you may have a transmission problem, give the crew at Transworks Transmission a call today.