Your car needs water—but it has to be in the right place. In the radiator, it’s doing its job as usual. However, when it gets into other places—most notably, your transmission—then it can cause problems. How does water get into your transmission? What happens when the transmission gets flooded, and what can you do about it? Here’s what you need to know about when water floods your transmission.
How Water Gets Into Your Transmission
First, let’s address the issue of how water gets into your transmission in the first place. First, there could be a leak in your radiator. The water leaks out and gets mixed in with your transmission fluid. Check your transmission fluid. It’s supposed to be bright red. If it’s more of a milky pink, that means it’s diluted, and there’s water in there.
The water may also come in from outside. Your car is designed to withstand the elements, but that’s only as long as the water level doesn’t rise above a certain point on the car. If there’s a flood in your area, or you drive through a deep puddle, then water may reach the vent that keeps your transmission’s barometric pressure stable. If this happens, water can enter the transmission. Water may also enter through the dipstick tube, which then gets transferred into the transmission.
What Happens When Water Floods Your Transmission
Your transmission’s clutch plates use friction to transfer power from the engine. When water gets into the transmission—even a very small amount—it begins to dissolves the glue that holds the friction lining in place on the plates. Eventually, lining will come off the plates entirely, and the car will no longer be able to shift gears.
The mixture of water and glue then forms a gummy, white substance then ultimately spreads through the transmission fluid and makes the fluid difficult to flush out. Additionally, the water can simply cause the transmission’s metal parts to rust. If the problem isn’t caught quickly, it may require a complete transmission overhaul. All-in-all, water in the transmission is one of the most destructive things that can happen to an automatic car.
How to Get Water Out of Your Transmission
First, it’s important to spot the problem as soon as possible. If your car is in a flood, don’t start the engine before checking the transmission fluid for water. If you start the car, the water will be pulled into the transmission itself, making it much harder to remove.
If you manage to spot the problem in time, before turning on your ignition, then oftentimes the transmission fluid can simply be drained and replaced. However, if the water gets into the transmission itself, then the process is more complicated. Flushing the transmission may require several dozen quarts of fluid.
If you’ve been driving your car for a while with water in the transmission, then the problem is likely even more serious. The transmission may need to be replaced entirely.
As soon as you notice or suspect that your car may have water in the transmission, get it to a mechanic immediately. Have it towed if possible, rather than driving it, to reduce further damage. It’s a difficult, and often dangerous problem for your car to have, as well as, in most cases, an expensive one. But if you can spot the problem quickly and get it taken care of right away, you can minimize the damage and, with a bit of know-how, your car can be made good as new again.
When your car won’t go into gear, it can cause serious problems. What’s the trouble? It could be any number of things, depending on whether you have a manual transmission or an automatic transmission. Here’s a rundown of some of the possible problems, and what to do about them.
Manual Transmission Gear Problems
If you drive a stick shift, you may find that when you press the clutch, the gear shift still won’t move. The problem might be that the clutch is simply worn out. After a while, there’s no longer enough friction to transfer power from the engine to the wheels.
On average, the clutch on a stick shift wears out every 60,000 miles or so—depending on how and where you drive it. Fortunately, replacing it is a fairly routine procedure, which your mechanic should be able to perform relatively quickly.
There also may be an issue with the clutch master cylinder, and the hydraulic fluid contained therein. If the clutch goes all the way to the floor, then this may be the problem. If the cylinder leaks, eventually there won’t be enough hydraulic fluid to put the car into gear. In this case, the clutch master cylinder will need to be replaced.
Automatic Transmission Gear Problems
Automatic cars can have problems shifting into gear as well. In this case, there’s a good possibility the issue is an electronic one. Most of the mechanisms that tell a car to shift gears automatically are electronic, rather than mechanical. If the electronic signals aren’t being sent or received properly, it can keep the valves that control the flow of transmission fluid from opening or closing—which then keeps the car from going into gear.
Or the issue could be with the shift interlock mechanism. The mechanism is designed to keep you from accidentally shifting to Neutral or Park while the car is in motion. As you’re no doubt aware, you can’t put your car into Park unless the engine is running and both the break pedal and the button on the side of the gear shift are being pressed.
However, if you’re doing all of that, and the car still won’t shift into drive, try pressing the shift lock release button. It’s a small button, usually right next to the gear shift. There may be a small covering over the button, to prevent it from being pressed accidentally. Remove the cover and use a small, narrow object, such as a key or a screwdriver, to press the button. Then, depress the brake and shift gears as you normally would.
If this doesn’t solve the problem, or if the gear shift continues to lock going forward, then talk to your mechanic. You may need a new brake pedal position sensor, or there may be a transmission problem.
This is an issue that can plague either a manual OR automatic transmission. The transmission fluid is what allows the gears to shift smoothly. Over time, dirt, grease, and other contaminants can build up in the fluid, causing it to turn from bright red to a brown or black sludge. This sludge is hard on your gears, and should be flushed out and replaced with new transmission fluid. As a general rule, replace your transmission fluid every two years or 30,000 miles.
There may also be a leak, which means there’s not enough fluid in your transmission—which also wreaks havoc on your gears. In this case, your fluid needs to be replaced—as soon as the leak is repaired, of course.
With regular upkeep to your vehicle, and regular service to your transmission when needed, you can prevent a lot of these problems and keep your gears shifting smoothly. Talk to your mechanic to see what your car needs to help it continue running optimally, and avoid costly repairs.
You should flush your transmission every 30,000 miles or so, draining the fluid and replacing it with new. 30,000 miles can be hard to keep track of, though, particularly as it may take three or four years to get there. And in some cases, you might need the change sooner. How do you know when your transmission needs to be serviced?
Here are five signs that you need new transmission fluid.
- Grinding Noises. If you hear a grinding noise in your transmission as you’re driving, it may indicate a couple of things. Your transmission fluid may be low, in which case it should be replaced. Or there may be a buildup of dirt, grease, and other contaminants, in which case, the transmission needs a flush. Check your transmission fluid levels, and notice what color the fluid is. If it’s red, it’s fine. If it’s brown or black, you need a flush.
- Leaking. When you pull out of your driveway or garage, do you see dark, oily spots on the ground where your car just was? If so, it’s a sign that your transmission fluid is leaking. First, you need to get the leak repaired as quickly as possible, to avoid further damage. Then, you’ll need new transmission fluid, to replace what’s leaked out.
- Slipping or Other Gear-Shifting Problems. Does your car slip in and out of gear? Does it have trouble going up or down steep hills? Maybe you’re having trouble shifting from one gear to another, with shifts coming too soon or too late. If this is happening to you, then you may not have enough hydraulic power. And one of the main causes of a lack of hydraulic power, is your transmission fluid. Just as with unusual noises, the cause may be a lack of transmission fluid, or simply that the fluid is dirty and needs to be flushed. Either of these issues can lead to gear slipping—which makes driving dangerous, and should be looked at and fixed as soon as possible.
- Surging or Stalling. If your car surges forward (or backward), seemingly at random, then it’s a sign that your transmission fluid may have become dirty. Alternately, if your car accelerates too slowly, and seems non-responsive, particularly when the light switches from red to green, this may also indicate a problem with your transmission. Finally, if your car likes to stall when you shift gears, then your transmission fluid may be overburdened with contaminants. In each of these cases, a change in transmission fluid may be necessary. Check the fluid, or have your mechanic take a look.
- The Check Engine or Transmission Warning Light Is On. The Check Engine light may indicate a number of things, but transmission problems are definitely among them. If the Transmission light specifically goes on, that’s an even greater indicator that you may need to replace your fluid. Whatever the problem may be, when a warning light comes on, get it checked out as soon as possible to determine the issue, and have the car serviced.
These are the major signs to look out for when your transmission fluid needs to be changed. If you notice any of them while you’re driving, don’t just let them go. Get them checked out immediately, to determine the problem and get it fixed. Changing transmission fluid is a fairly standard and inexpensive automotive procedure. But the longer you drive with low or dirty fluid, the more damage it will do to your car, and the more serious the repairs will be later on. Get it taken care of now, and save yourself the hassle (and the expense) later on.
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!
Having Transmission Problems?
Cars are intricate, complex machines that usually offer some warning signs when something is not going right. It is important to not ignore those signs when you have an automatic transmission, and get your car looked at by a specialist immediately. Here are five warning signs of transmission problems to never ignore.
When driving, if you hear a pitch change for no apparent reason as your car shifts gear, your transmission may be slipping. Often times you can sense when your car is struggling to accelerate and feels under powered. If you have any sense of this happening, get your car checked by a professional.
Transmission Fluid Leaks
If you notice any type of leak spots in your garage or driveway, it could mean a leaky transmission. A way to be sure is to place a piece of cardboard on the ground under your engine and determine if the fluid is a reddish color. If the answer is yes, visit your auto shop right away.
Transmission Rough Shifts
Your gear changing should be smooth and seamless. If you are changing the gears in your car and it is not as smooth when it shifts, it could mean something is wrong with the transmission.
Transmission Delayed Engagement
When you shift out of “park” and into “drive”, a delay occurs if there is something wrong with the transmission. You’ll notice the delay when you would expect the car to start moving as you give it some gas.
Transmission Warning Light
A warning light does not always mean something is wrong. A car’s system is a complex computer that may be having a malfunction. But a warning light in combination with other warning signs and indicators that your car is acting abnormal, could mean that you have a transmission problem. Any time your “check engine” light comes on, it is important to have it diagnosed by a professional just to be safe.
A faulty transmission will cause many problems to your car. Some that are very noticeable and some that aren’t quite as obvious. If you are noticing any of these signs, it is imperative to have it looked at by an expert. None of these problems are normal to experience in your car and in most cases, the longer you wait to have your car problems fixed, the worse they get!
To maintain an operational transmission, you should change transmission fluid regularly. This is one of the most basic car maintenance tasks. You should keep track of the fluid level and put more in when it gets too low. Many car owners do not realize that you also need to change the transmission fluid entirely. This is a more substantial job, but luckily it does not need to be done very often. At TransWorks, we can offer the transmission repair in Madison you need.
How Often You Should Change the Transmission Fluid
There are varying reports of how long you should wait between transmission fluid changes. This is because the best amount of time to wait actually varies depending on several aspects, such as the way you drive, the size of your vehicle, and whether it is manual or automatic. Generally, manual cars need the fluid changed more often, and lots of city driving with its constant stop-and-go may make the transmission fluid deteriorate faster. The general recommendation is to have the fluid changed either once every 50,000 miles or every other year, whichever comes first. Your car’s manual might have a more specific recommendation.
Signs to Look for
Although it is rare, sometimes problems may arise that signal a needed fluid change, regardless of the regular maintenance schedule. If you notice any of these signs, seek transmission service in Madison immediately:
- A grinding noise when shifting gears
- The gears slipping or difficulty shifting
- The vehicle surges forward or backwards
- There is a movement delay after shifting
These are all signs that the transmission fluid is low or dirty. You should check the level immediately, and if it is not low, then it is time to have it changed. You can count on us to take care of your transmission in Madison. Give us a call at 608-742-5136 or request an appointment.
Keeping an eye on your transmission fluid is vital to a well-maintained vehicle. Otherwise, you could end up paying for transmission shipping and replacement. If you notice any of the following signs when driving, it’s time to take a look under the hood.
Transmission fluid is responsible for transferring engine power to the transmission, which means that if you’re low on fluid, you’re not going to be able to shift gears effectively. This can manifest as “slipping,” when your vehicle enters a higher gear, only to fall back out. Your shifts may also be erratic or accompanied by a grinding noise.
The second purpose of transmission fluid is to absorb heat generated by your car’s moving parts. Low fluid means heat gets trapped in your car’s inner workings, which can result in damage such as the following:
- Hardened seals
- Varnish on metal parts
- Slipping transmission bands and clutches
- Transmission failure
Signs of overheating include smoke and a burnt smell. If you notice either of these signs, you need to pull over immediately. Continuing to drive can further the damage and have you considering rebuilt transmissions.
Delayed Gear Shifting
You may need to top off your fluid if you notice a distinct pause before gear transition when changing between Reverse and Drive. Hydraulic pressure is responsible for producing this shift and low fluid means low pressure.
You may also notice a “hard” shift when driving. This stems from the same issue, resulting in a lurching or rough gear engagement when changing speeds.
If you have a leak, you may notice marks on your driveway. Transmission fluid should be a bright red color and usually smells sweet. However, if your levels are low, the remaining fluid may be dark or smell burnt as a consequence of absorbing heat. If you notice either of these signs, you need to have the issue addressed right away.
One of the worst scenarios you may encounter is your car simply refuses to shift gears. This indicates that there’s no fluid left and may be resolved by filling your reservoir. However, you should still have your vehicle checked, as it may have suffered internal damage.
If you’ve fixed any leaks and refilled your transmission fluid, but your car still exhibits these issues, it’s likely time for a replacement. Trans Work Transmission can help you get your vehicle back into shape by shipping a rebuilt, new or wholesale transmission to replace your failed machinery. Find out more by calling us at 608-742-5136 or going online.