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.
Need a New Transmission?
Rebuild or Replace?
Having to replace your transmission is news no car owner wants to hear. Transmissions are one of the most expensive auto services your car will require. They are incredibly complex machines and time-consuming to work on. Other than completely replacing your transmission with a new one, rebuilding your current transmission is another option. It isn’t always clear which option is the best option so here are a few things to consider when deciding to rebuild or replace your transmission (along with the advice of the transmission expert you work with).
Considering a Rebuild
Rebuilding a transmission means that your current transmission will be taken out of your car, taken apart completely, and thoroughly inspected to determine the damaged parts. Those parts are replaced, and the transmission is rebuilt with working parts. No small task for an amateur! Rebuilding a transmission is a complex process for any transmission specialist!
A rebuilt transmission has up-to-date parts that manufacturers designed to be safer for you and more efficient. It can be challenging to find a transmission specialist who has experience in rebuilding transmissions. Luckily, Transworks Transmissions are a team of transmission experienced professionals to give you automotive transmission advice, as well as the tools and skills to rebuild your current transmission. Give the transmission experts at Transworks Transmissions a call about rebuilding your transmission!
Installing a New Transmission
Replacing your current transmission with a new one is a bit misleading because most “new” transmissions are remanufactured ones. Choosing to buy a new transmission may not give you access to the most up-to-date parts as well as you will not get customize the rebuild process.
Work with Transmission Experts
Deciding on whether you need a new transmission or a rebuild one is usually based on the advice on transmission professionals. The cost and time to complete the repair are usually the biggest factors in this decision. A transmission expert can rebuild your transmission, but it may take a little longer than expected, based on the damage of your transmission that isn’t always seen until it is taken apart.
Installing a brand-new transmission may be costly, but it is also fast. Whichever way you are leaning with your transmission, discuss your thoughts with the experts at Transworks Transmission before making this big commitment!
New 2020 Innovations
A lot of new discoveries have been introduced in 2020, taking new steps forward in the automotive transmission industry! With new ideas every day and new cars on the market every year, this industry is one that constantly strives for improvement, productivity, efficiency, speed, status and power!
Here are just a few of the new technological advances in the automotive industry so far in 2020:
• Ford’s New & Improved Automatic Transmission – Ford developed a new version of their 10 speed transmission (first produced in 2017) for the Mustang. With this new transmission, the torque converter does not need to disengage between transmission shifts. The clutches are activated by integrated solenoid valves, to improve shift time! This new system increases clutch pressure accuracy and delivers faster and smoother gear changes. The new transmission will be available on the rear drive, 170ps Transit, paired with the EcoBlue engine.
• Transmission Software Updates – Tests were conducted in the South of France that showed that Allison’s FuelSense 2.0 software hit 12% of fuel savings on its collection vehicles. The key to the software’s effectiveness is the way it continuously assesses driving conditions to adjust the gear changes at the right time. The software considers different factors when switching gears, such as vehicle weight, road gradient and frequency of stops. Upgrading vehicles to FuelSense 2.0 registered between 2014-2018 in the UK could reduce carbon emissions by 27,000 tons every year!
• Volkswagen’s Single-Speed Transmission – VW’s ID.3 transmission has been designed to cope with all driving situations. When in reverse, the car’s electric drive system direction is also reversed. The gearbox has a 2-stage design with two smaller cogs instead of one big cog. The electric drive motor in VW’s ID.3 gives maximum torque of 310Nm. Noise is also a major factor that was considered in the creation of this transmission. To ensure noise-reduction, the workings of the 1-speed gearbox are very carefully made and checked!
• Hyundai and Kia Introduce Connected Transmission Shift Technology – Both of these top car companies have developed information and communication technology that works well with a transmission shift system in a vehicle. This enables the car to shift automatically to the optimal gear depending on the weather, road, and traffic conditions ahead! This new transmission smart system should deliver improved fuel efficiency and a comfortable driving experience!
It is important to shop around and compare different mechanic’s styles and pricing when needing a new transmission. When choosing the right one, it is okay to ask questions before you sign on the dotted line!
Are you rebuilding my existing transmission or replacing it with a new one?
A rebuilt transmission is a very complicated piece of machinery. It requires great workmanship. A new transmission that was rebuilt in a professional transmission shop is the most reliable! Ensure your rebuilt transmission goes through serious inspections and tests before you commit. Installing a re-manufactured transmission will reduce the cost of your transmission.
Does the rebuild include warranty?
Most auto shops will offer a quote for a transmission rebuild, replacement, repair or any other services. It is reassuring to know your transmission can be fixed or replaced for free if something goes wrong!
What does the warranty cover?
The terms of your warranty should be thoroughly explained in detail. The length of the warranty is another important aspect to consider. The most common warranty lengths are 30,000-50,000 miles in coverage. The best warranties extend to the life of your vehicle!
Do I have to get my transmission serviced here to use the warranty?
The fine print is important to pay attention to. Strange clauses could indicate the warranty is void if you service your car somewhere other than where you received your new transmission. If something goes wrong with your transmission on a long road trip, the cost of getting your car back to that original repair shop can get extreme!
- What do you recommend as preventative maintenance for my new/rebuilt transmission?
After your transmission is installed, it is imperative to maintain it properly. The factory where the transmission was built will have a list of recommendations to follow such as maintenance, service and inspections. If not available, ask for general guidelines to maximize the life of your transmission!
It is vital to ask as many questions as you can when it comes to your new, rebuilt transmission. Even though a rebuilt transmission is new-to-you, that does not mean that it is brand new. Something could go wrong and it is important to know how to take care of your transmission and know where to get it serviced when your warranty is still in effect! The crew at Transworks Transmissions will work with you and make sure you feel nothing but comfort when it comes to your rebuilt transmission!
It is very important to check your transmission fluid frequently. Allowing your fluid to go bad and waiting too long to get it changed can cause a lot of problems for car. Transmissions can be very expensive to fix and is even more expensive to replace. Check your transmission every 50,000 miles or so, just to be safe. One of the best times to get your transmission fluid checked by a professional is during a routine engine oil change. Our specialists are always happy to check it for you and let you know the condition of your transmission fluid.
If you want to check your transmission fluid yourself, here are some simple steps to help:
- Put your vehicle in park, set your parking brake and make sure you are on level ground.
- Locate your transmission filler tube under the car (if your car doesn’t have one, see a specialist).
- Remove the dip stick and clean it with a dry cloth.
- Reinsert the dip stick all the way and then take it back out to see the level of the fluid.
- If the color of the fluid is not clear and has a burnt odor, it is time to get it changed!
Changing Transmission Fluid
Without changing your transmission fluid on time, your transmission will be lubricated with metal shavings and other contaminants, shortening your transmission’s life. Transmissions can fail even after you already changed the fluid because the damage has already been done by waiting too long get new fluid. Without being proactive, a hefty penny is needed to get a replacement.
A transmission changes the gears of your engine. It transfers the engine’s power to the wheels allowing your car to move. Changing the transmission fluid on a regular basis will make sure the fluid stays clean and will keep your car running smooth! Changing the fluid in your transmission can be a complicated mess so if you are even a little uncomfortable doing it yourself, let the professionals do it for you!
If you follow the recommended maintenance, the average automatic transmission might last up to 200,000 miles. Skip even one fluid service, and you could shorten the life of your gearbox. When the gears no longer grab, you need a replacement.
For the best value, you have your choice between a remanufactured or a rebuilt unit, but which one is better?
Here’s what you need to know:
Remanufactured Transmission Pros and Cons
A remanufactured gearbox is an older unit that has undergone a complete overhaul. Specialty repair shops equipped with machine and test equipment supply these units.
The technicians follow an established procedure:
- Complete disassembly and inspection of the old unit
- Worn metal components are machined or replaced as needed
- During reassembly, techs install new gaskets, clutches, bands, snap rings, and bearings
- The unit receives a technical update to correct for any known engineering defects
- A transmission dynamometer tests the function of the restored unit before delivery
These replacements come with some of the best warranties that also cover additional labor expenses should something go wrong. These are great options if you don’t mind spending a little more for your repair.
There are potential delays. It’s unlikely the local repair shop has the exact model you need sitting on the shelf. Order and delivery times keep your car out of service longer adding to your headaches. If you have an exotic vehicle, you may even have to wait for a refurbishment shop to service your unusual order.
All About Rebuilt Transmissions
In the right circumstances, a rebuilt transmission is just as good as a refurbished unit. These can last as long, and a good repair shop stands behind the work. The process is similar except that your gearbox does not need to arrive from a third-party supplier.
Your rebuilder performs the work in-house:
- Complete disassembly and inspection of the existing equipment
- All original hard metal parts remain with minor adjustments to severely worn assemblies
- The case and gears receive a thorough cleaning
- The technician reassembles the unit replacing worn clutches, gaskets, and fasteners
- After installing the reassembled unit, the vehicle gets a road test.
A qualified shop still warranties the work, but you must return to the rebuilder for any follow-up repairs. Rebuilders also typically do not upgrade the functionality. Instead, they focus on restoring the original equipment to working condition. For an older vehicle or a vehicle that you do not want to invest as much into, the rebuilt is often the preferable option.