Picture the scene: You are reversing out of your driveway, you put your car in gear to drive away, and all of a sudden, you hear the dreaded ‘loud clicking’ sound before your engine sounds normal again. Yes, that sound is coming from your transmission. If you continue running your car on a damaged car transmission, the cost of replacing the car transmission or building one can be quite expensive. The costs could range from $1200 to $5000, depending on the type of fix your transmission needs.
Your car’s transmission is a very delicate component that needs attention to function effectively. It is very wise to properly maintain your transmission when you notice minor issues with it. The English proverb, ‘Prevention is better than the cure’ does come to mind.
So, with this in mind, what are five main causes of transmission failure that proper maintenance could prevent?
- Lack of Maintenance
It is that simple. Every car has a manufacturer’s guide on maintaining the car’s engine, transmission, fluid, and filters at the recommended time and mileage. The secret of having your car transmission out-lasting your car’s lifespan is having the correct car maintenance knowledge and putting it into practice. Having your car’s transmission routinely checked on schedule will prevent unnoticed transmission failures and protect against serious problems.
- Transmission Fluid Leak
Have you noticed any red liquid puddles under your car? If so, it indicates that your car’s transmission is leaking from one of your cooler lines, a gasket, or a seal. Fluid leaks depriving your transmission of the much-needed fluid, which eventually will cause damage to your car due to overheating. Therefore, it is not advisable to add more transmission fluid to repair the problem. The problem will only get much worse and more expensive. Thus, it is crucial to get your transmission fluid leaks fixed quickly.
- Transmission fluid contamination
Does your car delay moving for a few seconds after shifting gears into drive or reverse? It is one of the first signs that your transmission fluid is contaminated. With time materials in the transmission system wear out and flow into the transmission fluid and contaminate it. The transmission fluid color changes from red to brown or yellow. Having routine car service where your transmission fluid is changed is advisable.
- Clogged Transmission Fluid Filters
Transmission filters relate to transmission fluid contamination as they act as guards for the transmission. When these filters clog, they cannot filter out debris and prevent the fluid from cooling and lubricating the car’s transmission. In time, this causes the car’s transmission to overheat or completely fail. Having your filters checked will prevent damage to the car’s transmission.
- Worn Clutches
Have you observed that when you shift gears and accelerate, the engine only revs up without moving any faster? It is one sign that your clutches are worn. Clutches shift gears while driving, transferring the power of an engine to the transmission. When they fail to do so, it’s vital to have worn-out Clutches changed to prevent total damage to the car’s transmission.
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.