Your car’s transmission is vital as it transfers power from the engine to the wheels. A poorly maintained car transmission relieves your car’s engine power to move or speed up. Your car revs without getting the expected response when you step on the gas. The transmission fluid allows the gears in the gearbox to shift smoothly without any audible grinding noise or tear. It is, therefore, necessary to identify transmission leaks and have them quickly repaired.
How to Identify a Transmission Leak?
A simple method of identifying a transmission fluid leak is to check beneath your car or on your driveway or garage for any dark spots or red liquid spills. Driving with a transmission fluid leak is not dangerous. However, in time the fluid leakage will cause damage to your car resulting in costly part repairs or replacement of the entire transmission system. It, therefore, is advisable to visit your local mechanic as quickly as possible to check out your vehicle. What type of leaks will you or your mechanic identify?
Types of Transmission Leaks
Transmission leaks are rooted in different parts of the transmission. The leaks source can be from: –
1. Cracked Transmission Pan Leaks
A transmission pan located beneath your car holds the necessary transmission fluid. Your car’s aluminum transmission pan can be damaged by road debris or the pan hitting a hard object like a rock as you drive. For example, a low-wheel vehicle on a rough or rocky road will not have enough clearance to avoid large rocks and thus can easily damage its transmission pan. The crack or puncture in the transmission pan will cause leakage of the transmission fluid.
2. Worn Out Transmission Pan Gasket Leaks
A Pan Gasket leak is one of the most common fluid leaks due to worn-out or loose pan bolts. The transmission pan gasket gets exposed to enormous heat and eventually can crack thus, allowing transmission fluid to leak. Additionally, the pan gaskets can leak if they were not correctly aligned or tightened during installation.
3. Cracked Transmission Cooling Lines Leaks
Transmission cooling lines transfer transmission fluid to and from the car’s transmission to a cooling chamber usually located inside a radiator. The transmission cooling lines made of rubber, steel, metal or a combination of both are located beneath the car and are susceptible to damage due to road debris or wear and tear over time. Once damaged, they need replacement to stop the leakage of transmission fluid.
4. Torque Converter Issues
A torque converter is a device located between the engine and the automatic transmission. It works together with the car’s transmission to transfer engine power to the rear wheels of an automatic car. It also pumps oil throughout the car’s transmission system. If there is a crack on the torque converter’s body or an issue with its needle bearing, the transmission fluid will leak out.
With everything considered, when you notice a transmission leak, it is not a simple matter of adding more fluid to your transmission. The more you delay having your leak fixed by a professional mechanic, the more costly the vehicle repairs.
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.