Of all the problems a car can develop, a bad transmission is one of the most time-consuming and expensive. Repairs, or even an entire rebuild, can cost thousands of dollars. Automatic transmissions are particularly prone to issues and are more difficult to repair. A dying transmission is an inconvenience I’d rather see car owners avoid. There are several ways to improve the life-span of your transmission. Some are more labor-intensive than others, but following even one tip on this list can add years to your transmission.
Provide Regular Maintenance
Like engines, transmissions have fluid that breaks down and must be replaced periodically. This fluid keeps every part moving smoothly and reduces heat build-up from friction. When it goes too long without being changed, the fluid forms a sticky coating on parts and impairs function. The transmissions heats up and is damaged by pressure leaks and misaligned components. To prevent this, a car should have its transmission fluid replaced every 30,000 miles. From my own experience, neglected transmission fluids cause the vast majority of untimely transmission deaths.
Keep it Cool
A hot transmission is a short-lived one. Heightened temperatures burn fluid and expand metal bits, which then operate out of optimal specifications and create either sudden or gradual wear and tear. Keeping transmission fluid current helps regulate temperatures, but there is a more effective option. External transmission coolers are inexpensive, relatively easy to install and can double your transmission’s life. They are especially helpful for anyone who routinely drives in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or demands high performance from his or her vehicle.
Gradual acceleration may not be the preferred style for many drivers, but it is the most economical. Not only does driving more moderately save you money on gasoline, it also preserves your power-train. Steady, measured performance keeps temperatures low, is safer and contributes to the continued health of your vehicle. Avoid heavy traffic and the constant starts and stops of urban driving when possible. Remember to treat your car with respect, and it will reward you by lasting for decades.
Catch Problems Early
Of course, every car will eventually develop a problem. Even manual transmissions fail eventually, but the severity of the situation depends on how quickly you notice the issue and have it repaired. Installing a transmission thermometer can help you track its temperature, but most drivers rely on their cars’ performance to clue them in. Slow, grinding shifts are usually the first sign of an ailing transmission. This can be difficult to perceive if it worsens over time. The first time the transmission misses the transition, however, will be very obvious. A sudden hesitation and clanking sound followed by a rapid shift is a clear symptom of a bad transmission.
Once you are aware of the problem, acting quickly may save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Since damage is progressive, even a few days of continued driving can escalate a minor repair to a total rebuild. There are many options for transmission repair, but do yourself a favor and keep your bills to a minimum. With the right forethought and careful maintenance, your transmission can last hundreds of thousands of miles without so much as a single hiccup.
Without timely maintenance to your transmission, you could experience one of many issues. Keep these issues from happening to you with routine transmission service in Grapevine.