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.
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.
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.