The Basics of Troubleshooting Your Transmission
Unexpected problems arise with your car’s engine the longer you drive it. If taking your vehicle to an auto repair shop immediately is not an option, knowing basic transmission troubleshooting can be an advantage. It is also a way for you to further prevent expensive repairs or replacements in the future.
Before bringing your car to the shop, you can perform automatic transmission troubleshooting as a cost-effective first step. It is essential to identify the root of the problem as it allows you to get it repaired as quickly as possible at the lowest price. You can follow these steps for basic transmission troubleshooting when you encounter issues with your vehicle:
Try To Determine the Problem First
You know your car best, so you will be the first person to notice when something is off. There are several indicators that can help you determine whether your car’s transmission is having problems. If your car seems to be shifting gears more frequently or if it feels sluggish or jerky when you accelerate, this could be a sign that the transmission needs attention.
Another obvious indication of trouble is an oil leak under your car. Additionally, if you notice a burning smell or notice that the fluid level in the transmission is low, these may also indicate an issue with your transmission.
Check the Transmission Fluid
Most transmission issues are caused by either ineffective fluid or low fluid levels. With this in mind, you must check both the fluid level and condition. A simple dipstick test can help you determine whether or not you need to add more fluid. On the other hand, if your fluid is contaminated, black, or burnt, you may need a complete fluid change.
Check On-Board Diagnostic Codes
If your transmission fluid is not the cause of your problems, checking on board diagnostic codes on your car can be a great way to troubleshoot problems. This uses an OBD2 scanner to analyze information stored by the computer in your car for any potential issues. Overall, checking on board diagnostic codes is a useful tool for anyone who wants to stay on top of their car’s health.
Read a Repair Manual or a Website
If there are no OBD codes that raise concern, the next step is to refer to a repair manual or website for your vehicle’s make and model. They often offer in-depth details about your car and how to fix it. You have to pay extra to access some of these specialized manuals, there are also several websites and mechanical forums that provide free information.
Bring Your Vehicle to a Professional Mechanic
If you still haven’t figured out what is wrong with your automatic transmission, consider a repair shop. This can help prevent further damage as some advanced issues inevitably require professional help.
Go Beyond Basic Transmission Troubleshooting
Though knowing basic automatic transmission troubleshooting is undoubtedly a useful skill, getting your vehicle immediately repaired should be a priority. The best way to prevent further auto issues is to bring your vehicle to Trans Works Transmissions in Portage, WI. Contact us today to make an appointment!
Five Things that Cause Transmission Damage
A car’s transmission is very important, as it is responsible for your vehicle’s movement. While you can’t prevent regular wear and tear, you can avoid any major damage by taking care of it and avoiding bad driving habits. Additionally, being aware of the things that can damage your transmission will help you save money on transmission repairs. Here are a few things that can damage your transmission:
Neglecting Transmission Fluid
To keep your transmission from causing friction, you’ll need to change your transmission fluid. Your transmission may end up damaging itself without the necessary lubrication. However, the right transmission fluid keeps your car’s transmission from overheating and shutting down.
Accordingly, you’ll want to check your transmission fluid levels from time to time. It also helps to check for leaks, since they can lead to your car breaking down or overheating while driving.
Using the Wrong Transmission Fluid
Your transmission needs a certain type of fluid to keep it running smoothly. Each kind of transmission fluid has different levels of viscosity and mixes that help the car operate properly.
Using the wrong transmission fluid can cause problems for your car. For instance, your vehicle may not get the cooling properties it needs, causing it to overheat and shut down. Using the wrong transmission fluid can also affect your transmission’s performance and create friction with your car’s other parts.
Going Beyond Your Car’s Tow Limit
Even if your vehicle is built to tow, you still need to be careful. It’s best to stick to the indicated weight limits so you can keep your vehicle from overexerting itself.
Going beyond your vehicle’s tow limit can lead to your car overheating and shutting down. Additionally, it can also accelerate the wear and tear of your transmission. You may need to get it repaired or replaced if that happens.
Shifting Gears Before Stopping
There are moments when you shift from drive to reverse quickly without stopping. While some people think that isn’t much of a problem, it can evolve into a bigger issue. The damage may range from a couple of cracks and scratches on your gears to having parts pop out of place. You’ll need to go to a transmission mechanic to get them fixed or replaced.
Putting Off Repairs
It’s a common mistake for people to put off transmission repairs for several reasons. You may be too busy to address these issues, while others think issues won’t get worse. However, transmission problems can escalate further if left alone for a long time. They can lead to more costly repairs and even a full replacement depending on the damage.
For that reason, you’ll want to have your vehicle’s transmission checked periodically to make sure it has no issues. You’ll also want to have a professional inspect your car if you notice anything strange or out of place.
Hire the Right People To Address Your Transmission Repair
Partner with our highly-trained mechanics from Trans Works Transmissions in Portage, WI to handle your transmission-related issues. Contact us now for more information.
The transmission is one of the most complex, most expensive components on your car. It does the job of transferring power from your engine to your wheels as efficiently as possible. Different parts of your drive-train are turning at different speeds, so it takes a lot of different gears to keep everything in sync. It’s no surprise that transmission problems are expensive to fix.
What should you look for a transmission shop? There are six keys to doing the job right:
A transmission is a piece of precision machinery. It may not be as sterile as a hospital, but if a transmission shop is dirty and untidy, it may reflect on the quality of work the shop can provide.
There are a lot of ways a transmission can go wrong. Some problems are more involved and more expensive than others. A good transmission shop will tell you what is going on, and what you can do about it.
Fair, Detailed Estimates
A good transmission shop has a lot of experience in dealing with all kinds of transmission problems. They should be able to give you an accurate, detailed estimate of the work to be done. If they are evasive about the price, you should move on.
Check the Computer
Modern transmissions have computer brains that help them adapt to your driving style and typical driving conditions. Sometimes, simply resetting the computer is enough to solve a simple problem.
Only Pull the Transmission If Necessary
At some transmission shops, every job’s first step is pulling the transmission out of the vehicle. For many situations, this just isn’t necessary. For some shops, removing the transmission is just an excuse to charge more money.
Clean it Up
Finally, any transmission repair job should involve a thorough cleaning. It’s much easier to spot leaks and other potential troubles with a clean undercarriage.
Give Us a Call!
Transmission repairs can be costly, but fortunately, when they are done right, they are rare. Having your transmission fixed by a professional will prevent future problems and save you money in the long run! If you think you may have a transmission problem, give the crew at Transworks Transmission a call today.
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!
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!
Determining what problem(s) your car has may seem like an impossible task. Especially to the untrained eyes and ears of the average driver. It may be helpful to think of your car’s inner workings as similar to that of the human body. For instance, if you have chest pain that could point toward any number of health issues. But if the chest pain exists in addition to difficulty breathing, then it is much more likely that asthma (or something very similar) is the cause. Automotive problems are diagnosed in a similar manner. Problems that involve mechanical systems typically exhibit distinct sensations and sounds. These act as indicators that a certain process isn’t working the way it is intended to. As soon as you recognize that something seems a bit “off” with your vehicle’s functionality, it is time to assess the issue and look for a way to fix it.
Diagnosing car problems yourself may seem like an impossible task. Try to think of it in terms of your own body. For instance, if your stomach begins to hurt without warning, you’ll probably start thinking of the last thing you ate in order to figure out why you’re having the pain. A similar type of thinking goes into diagnosing car trouble. The moment you start noticing something out of the ordinary, it’s time to start considering the problem and finding a way to fix it.
Your car’s transmission is a complex mechanical system that controls the application of power from the engine to the driveshaft. It experiences more wear and tear over time than most other parts of your vehicle due to the heat and friction produced by their many moving and interacting components. Major issues are bound to arise if your transmission is not well maintained and/or symptoms of a problem are not checked by a professional soon after they develop.
Transmission repairs or replacements are inconvenient, stressful and typically quite expensive, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to any activity that seems unusual. Adhering to the recommended maintenance procedures and schedule intended to prevent problems will help your transmission last longer, perform better and require fewer repairs over its lifespan. That said, if you’re having some car trouble, it is important to know what the most common types of transmission problems are so that you can easily diagnose them and get them fixed. Here is a list of 10 symptoms of transmission trouble and what signs you should look for.
Lack of Response
Ever notice that while driving that the car hesitates or refuses to go into gear? If you have, then there is definitely something wrong. The moment a driver shifts from park to drive the car should immediately go into the proper gear. For automatic transmissions, you might notice that when shifting into drive or park that there is a delay before you feel the gear engage. This is usually a transmission-based concern. Manual transmissions can have the same lacking response issue, but after shifting into gear the engine’s RPMs will surge, but the car won’t move as fast as the engine sounds like it’s going. This is usually caused by a clutch that needs to be replaced, but may sometimes point to a more severe problem.
Whining, Clunking and Humming
It’s impossible to say exactly what your car will sound like when there is trouble with your transmission, but one thing is for sure, you’ll get an “I haven’t heard that sound before” feeling when you notice it. The sounds that are produced vary widely between different makes and models, but the best way to describe them is that you’ll probably hear a humming, buzzing or whining noise.
Manual transmissions will emit sounds that can be described as being slightly more mechanical, louder and abrupt sounding. A clunking sounds when you shift gears almost always lies within a transmission, while constant velocity joins or the differential may be the source if the clunking is coming from the underside of your car.
As mentioned already, it is always best to get the problem diagnosed and repaired as soon as possible and not wait until later when you “find the time” or “have the money”. If you wait until later what would have been a relatively inexpensive repair can easily become a much more costly one.
A leak is probably the most recognizable symptom and should be repaired as soon as possible. Letting the fluid leak is one of the most common causes transmission break down. Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is the life-blood of a transmission as it lubricates, cleans and conditions the seals and acts as hydraulic fluid. Without it (or even if it gets too low), the engine will seize up and stop working completely.
ATF is bright red in color, clear and smells somewhat sweet if everything is working correctly. If this is what you find on your driveway, then all that needs to be fixed is the hole. If the fluid is dark and/or has a burnt smell then it’s time to get the fluid changed or flushed and repairs might be required. To check if you’re running low on fluid, take your car for a short drive to warm it up and then lift the hood and read the dipstick (be sure the vehicle is on level ground).
Unlike motor oil, transmission fluid is not burned off or consumed by a car so if the level is low then there is a leak somewhere that must be patched. It is recommended to top up the fluid anyway even if the leak still exists to make sure there is enough fluid for the transmission to function properly until you get it fixed.
To check the fluid level for a manual transmission, you must check at the transmission case (usually through the fill plug) – not with a dipstick under the hood.
Grinding or Shaking
A car is supposed to run smoothly and without any shaking, or jerking, and there is not supposed to be any grinding sounds. These all suggest that there is a problem with the gears. Manual transmissions commonly indicate problems by making a grinding noise or feeling when you shift into a gear. If the grinding occurs after engaging the clutch and shifting, this can be sign that the clutch may need to be replaced or adjusted. That said, it can also point towards several other issues including damaged or worn out gear synchronizes.
Automatic transmissions act a little differently. Instead of making a grinding noise, you will likely feel it take some time to wiggle into gear at first instead of the typical smooth transitions. As the problem gets worse, the transitions into the next gear become more jarring and involve more shaking. There are a few other reasons for grinding or shaking, but the appropriate course of action is still to have it inspected and serviced.
Any burning smell coming from your car is a cause for concern. Overheating transmission fluid is one of the causes of a burning smell. Transmission fluid helps keep the parts lubricated and cooled so that they don’t get worn out and damaged. If the fluid breaks down, the system runs too hot. This results in increased friction and corrosive activity as well as the build-up of additional sludge and debris. If this is not taken care of, the transmission will eventually damage itself enough to break down completely. The end result is an expensive replacement. Common causes include low fluid level or using the incorrect brand/type of fluid. To check for these, see the instructions in the section on Low/Leaking Fluid above.
Refuses to Go Into Gear
If the car will not shift after engaging the clutch and trying to move the stick, take a look at the fluid to make sure that it is at the right level. Other causes include using the incorrect thickness (type) of fluid and the clutch linkage or shift cables needing adjustment. The source of the problem could also be the vehicle’s computer system. If you’ve already inspected the fluid, you can try resetting it. To do this, detach the battery and let it stand for thirty minutes. Then, reattach and allow the system to reset itself. This usually takes around thirty minutes. If this doesn’t work either, then it’s time to take it to a mechanic.
Check Engine Light
The check engine light located on your car’s dashboard is a great early indicator that something is about to go wrong (or already has) with your car, and in particular with your transmission. While the light turns on for a number of reasons other than transmission issues, it very important not to ignore this helpful warning sign. There are sensors placed in many areas of a car’s engine that alert the computer if it senses unusual activity. Things coming from a particular process. The sensors on a transmission can pick up on the slightest jerks and vibrations.
Take the vehicle in and have it inspected. They can take a look and immediately tell what is happening through the use of similar diagnostic tools. If you’d like to diagnose the problem yourself (and possibly save yourself a trip to the mechanic’s) you can buy a diagnostic scan tool. It would be plugged into the instrument panel on the driver’s side. It then returns a code that corresponds to the part that needs attention. Whatever you do, do not assume that the check engine light can wait because it might be warning you of a serious problem in the near future.
Transmission Noisy in Neutral
Luckily, a transmission that is noisy (goes “bump”) when it is in neutral could have an inexpensive, simple solution such as adding some fluid or changing it. This could do the trick, as it does for several other issues on this list. If that doesn’t work, the transmission may require professional attention to replace worn out parts, most commonly the bearings, worn gear teeth or the reverse idler gear.
A transmission stays in a designated gear until a shift is performed by the driver (manual) or the computer (automatic). If the transmission is spontaneously slipping in an out of gear (or simply popping into neutral) while driving, I don’t need to tell you that this is a serious safety risk. When you need to step on the gas to avoid a dangerous situation, you need power delivered to the wheels, end of story. The cause can be the link that holds the gears is worn or broken. Get your car inspected and repaired as soon as possible.
A dragging clutch describes the symptom experienced by manual transmissions that involves the clutch disk failing to disengage the flywheel when the clutch pedal is pressed. The clutch is still spinning with the engine which makes it anywhere from difficult to impossible to change gears. This difficulty is accompanied by a grinding noise each time you try to change gears. Fortunately, this problem is considerably less expensive to repair than many other issues. More often than not, the cause of this is too much slack in the clutch pedal. With too much slack available, the linkage between the clutch disk and pedal can’t pull the clutch disk away from the flywheel.
It is important to keep up a regular maintenance schedule for your car. Many times major expensive repairs can be avoided if the vehicle is properly maintained. This is especially true if you notice something unusual. The car should be taken in immediately for service. Brushing up on your knowledge of transmissions (at least the basics) is highly recommended. It can help you save money by avoiding costly inspections. Doing simple procedures such as changing transmission fluid can help you avoid being over-repaired, over charged or simply ripped off.
Get a Diagnosis
Source: Transmission Repair Cost Guide