How a Transmission System Operates
As a direct link between the engine and the wheels, the transmission plays a vital role in the performance of your vehicle. Essentially, this system converts the engine’s mechanical power into torque, which is then transferred to the wheels to move the vehicle.
Because an engine operates at high rotational speeds, the transmission reduces the excess speed of the engine output and transfers the torque to the differential, driveshaft, and wheels. As the engine speed varies, the transmission switches between gears. This influences the amount of torque that is transferred to the wheels.
The transmission fluid flowing through the system performs a variety of tasks. First, it serves as a cooling agent by absorbing the excess heat generated from all of the mechanical movement. It also lubricates the internal gears, protecting them and preventing rust and corrosion. In a manual transmission vehicle, the clutch and gear shifts provide the necessary force and pressure. But in an automatic transmission, these same operational functions of force and pressure are provided by the transmission fluid.
As you can see, the transmission is critical to your vehicle going anywhere. That’s why it is so important to properly maintain the system, enabling it to perform optimally and preventing a need for more in-depth and costly repairs down the road.
Maintain the Transmission Fluid to Keep the System Properly Protected
People often don’t give their transmission system much thought until it’s not working properly, but including this system in your vehicle’s maintenance routine will help ensure it can continue to run as expected.
Your transmission fluid will pick up dirt, deposits, and other debris during normal use, but running your system on low or overly dirty fluid can cause gear shifting problems and can even cause the transmission to totally seize up, leading to the need for a very expensive total replacement.
You can prevent problems in the future by having your transmission serviced at the suggested intervals. We recommend coming in for a transmission fluid change every 30,000 miles or at your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended mileage.
A professional transmission fluid service will keep the system’s sensitive components properly lubricated to prevent excess friction and maximize the system’s performance to extend its lifespan.
There are two types of transmission fluid service: a transmission fluid change (aka transmission pan service) and a full transmission fluid flush.
What Is the Difference Between a Transmission Fluid Change and a Transmission Fluid Flush?
During a transmission fluid change, the mechanic manually drains the transmission pan, inspects it, and thoroughly cleans it. Then a new transmission filter is installed, and new, clean transmission fluid is added. A fluid change leaves a mix of new and old fluid, so with this service, only roughly 30% of the existing transmission fluid is replaced. This service does include a new fluid filter and gasket.
Alternatively, during a full transmission fluid flush, all of the old, dirty fluid is removed through the cooler lines and then replaced with fresh new transmission fluid. Due to the pressure used during this process, any built-up particles and deposits are also pushed out. Usually, this service does not include replacing the fluid filter.
Though they are often confused with each other, a transmission fluid change and a fluid flush are two entirely separate transmission services.
Signs That Your Vehicle May Need a Transmission Repair
Your vehicle’s performance can be significantly hindered by a faulty transmission. Being aware of some red flags to look out for will help prevent small transmission issues from becoming bigger problems. These warning signs include:
- An illuminated check engine light: This light can indicate a wide variety of issues, but it frequently points to a transmission issue.
- Unusual and excessive noise: When your vehicle is in neutral or when you are accelerating, excessive noise coming from the engine is an indication of possible transmission problems. You may hear knocking, grinding, or other unusual sounds.
- Strange smells: A strong, burning smell coming through the air vents is usually a sign of an overheating transmission and burning transmission fluid. If this happens, it means that the transmission fluid is so dirty that it can no longer lubricate the system’s components properly or sufficiently absorb excess heat.
- Slipping out of gear or grinding gears: A properly working transmission system will easily shift between gears. But you may feel grinding when shifting if the system is beginning to fail. It may even shift into neutral unintentionally, which then prevents you from being able to properly control the vehicle’s acceleration or deceleration.
- Shifting is difficult: If it is physically hard to move the manual shifter between gears, this is a clear sign of a transmission problem.
- Vehicle hesitation after shifting: Sometimes, a transmission issue will cause it to feel like the vehicle hesitates before moving forward when you shift from park into first gear. This can also sometimes happen when shifting past first gear or when shifting from park into reverse.
- You feel the vehicle bucking: When shifting gears, if the vehicle bucks or jerks forward, it could mean a transmission fluid issue, a problem between gear shifts, or a problem with the transmission spinning faster than the engine is.
- Issues with the clutch: In a manual transmission system, when the clutch continues to spin and causes a grinding noise, there is a problem. This can be caused by a dragging clutch or a clutch that is failing to disengage from the flywheel.
- Leaking transmission fluid: There should never be transmission fluid actively leaking from the underside of the engine. Leaking transmission fluid will usually appear in red puddles under the center of the vehicle.
If you are experiencing any of the above warning signs of a possible transmission problem, contact us today about maintenance and transmission repair service. Our ASE-certified automotive mechanics can pinpoint exactly what the issue may be and professionally perform the necessary service.
Schedule Your Transmission Shop Appointment Today!
The professionals at each of our conveniently located Parra Car Care locations have the knowledge, experience, and state-of-the-art equipment to meet all of your vehicle’s transmission repair service needs.
Schedule your appointment today for unmatched customer service at a top-quality transmission shop you can trust!
Whether you’re driving a brand-new sports car or a beat-up old sedan, automotive maintenance is something you can’t afford to ignore. However, it’s no secret that scheduling this work can be an inconvenience. If you’re already juggling the responsibilities that come with your job and family, fitting transmission service into your daily routine can feel nearly impossible.
To make scheduling difficulties as minimal as we can for our customers, Parra Car Care offers a complimentary shuttle service to people who live and work in the area. Instead of waiting at our garage for your service to be completed, you can get right back to your work while we take care of your vehicle’s maintenance needs.