Your transmission filter is what prevents dirt and other debris from getting into your transmission. Without it, your transmission fluid becomes a dark sludge, which can cause stalling, gear shifting problems, and a host of other issues. Of course, like any filter, eventually your transmission filter gets clogged with debris. How do you know when it’s clogged, and how do you fix it? Here’s a crash course in fixing a clogged transmission filter.
Signs Your Filter Is Clogged
First, listen for odd noises. You may hear a metal rattling sound, like something loose or jiggling around inside your car. If you drive a stick shift, then the sound may be a whirring noise whenever you shift gears. This could be instead of the rattling, or in addition to it.
If you notice these sounds, check your transmission fluid. Is it bright red, like it’s supposed to be, or has it become brown or black? If it’s the latter, you’ll need to flush your transmission fluid as well as taking care of the filter.
Other signs of a clogged filter include a burning smell, as dirty fluid runs hotter than clean fluid does. There may even be smoke coming from under the hood, which means you should stop the car immediately. Do not pass Go, but go directly to the nearest mechanic.
You also may experience problems shifting gears, or with the clutch slipping. The car may stall at red lights as well. These are common problems when your transmission fluid is dirty, and likewise, common when your filter is clogged. You may notice leaks as well. If, when you take your car out of the driveway or garage, there’s a dark, oily spot on the ground where it was, then your transmission fluid may be leaking. The leak itself will need to be addressed, but it’s also a sign of a clogged transmission filter.
What to Do About a Clogged Filter
Like almost any filter, when your transmission filter is clogged, it will need to be replaced with a clean one. How often this needs to be done depends on the make, model, and year of your vehicle, but it’s usually every 30,000 to 100,000 miles—around the same frequency as your transmission fluid, and your clutch, if you drive a manual.
To replace the filter, first put the car on a jack. Drain the transmission fluid, and remove and clean the pan. Then, put a new gasket seal on the pan before replacing it.
Next, remove the old filter. It may be bolted in place, but you can generally get it out with a screwdriver. There may be snaps instead of bolts, which will make removal much easier. Take your new transmission filter and put it in the old one’s place. Bolt or snap it in place. Then, put the transmission pan back in place, and add new transmission fluid. Be sure to dispose of the old fluid properly. Don’t throw it on the ground or down the drain. Talk to your local auto parts store to see if they’ll take it. If not, they’ll at least know who will.
If you’d rather not replace your own transmission filter, or are not quite sure you know how to do it correctly, call your mechanic instead. They’re trained in how to do it properly, and can avoid the problems that can arise from poor or incorrect installation—problems which can result in much more expensive repairs down the road.
However, whether you do it yourself or call a professional, the most important thing is that you take care of your clogged filter as soon as you notice a problem. A clogged filter is a fairly straightforward job for any mechanic. But the longer you wait, the worse things will get, and the more extensive the repairs will be. So go sooner, rather than later. You’ll be glad you did.
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.
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!
Our world and the auto industry evolve more and more every day. Technology continues to improve, making our lives easier. In today’s auto industry, you may think that manual transmissions have become less popular. While that is true, there are many makes and models that are still being made with manual transmissions today. Many people believe an automatic transmission is easier and more convenient when driving. On the other hand, a lot of people also believe that the exhilaration and adrenaline of a manual transmission is unmatched. The ability to control the speed of your car while hearing the roaring sound of the engine is still attractive. Here is a list of cars that still use a manual transmission!
The Honda Civic Type R
It surprises a lot of people when they learn that Honda Civics are still made in stick shift models. This car is known for being reliable and safe, but this Type R (R for racing) is equipped with a manual transmission for full control!
The Dodge Challenger
The Dodge Challenger has become the perfect example of a muscle car over the past several years. The reason this car is one of the most popular muscle cars is for its strong, reliable build that gives the driver complete control with a manual transmission.
The BMW 2 Series, M2
German car companies have always been in their own category. BMW has developed a great reputation for producing the world’s most iconic luxury cars. The BMW 2 Series M2 is one of the many reasons why. This car still comes with a manual transmission that gives anyone who drives it the feeling of power and luxury that is unrivaled.
The Subaru WRX
This reliable Japanese car uses a stick shift that allows the driver to control the engine in an unparalleled way. The WRX is one of the few an affordable cars now-a-days that offers manual transmissions.
The Chevrolet Corvette
Chevrolet has made MANY reliable cars over the past 100 years. Including the most famous, the Camaro. But the Corvette is Chevrolet’s most known model and is a beacon of innovation and technology in the industry from its inception to today! Chevrolet has moved many models away from manual transmission, except for the Corvette. This car still comes with a stick shift that allows the driver to feel the power that has made the Corvette so famous.
While there are only a few cars on the road today that still use manual transmissions, it will never fully go out of style. Anyone who loves cars appreciates the thrill and control of a manual transmission!
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.