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.