For us car drivers and owners, we know the distinct difference between an automatic transmission and a manual one. If you have ever driven a car with an automatic transmission, then you know that there are two big differences they have in comparison to a manual one:
- There is no clutch pedal with a car equipped with an automatic transmission
- Cars have no gear shift that are fitted with automatic transmission. When you place transmission into drive, all else is automatic.
Automatic transmissions can be both a blessing as well as curse. Here, we will explore various aspects of automatic transmission problems, including the shifting of gears. We’ll also provide some practical solutions to help you use for the car you’re having troubles with!
What are the Warning Signs That You Need Transmission Repair?
When it comes to replacing your transmission, you could be looking at a fix that costs you a pretty penny. In fact, a transmission repair falls right next to the cost of replacing an engine- as replacing a transmission can easily be the most expensive vehicle repair an owner can make. You can earmark between $1800 and $3000 for a complete transmission replacement. The original transmission repair or what many refer to as the rebuilding of the transmission can cost even more and average between $3500 and $4000. The price will depend on the extent of the damage as well as the make of the vehicle that needs to be fixed. As a car owner, it’s important to know the signs that you may need a transmission repair. Some of those signs include:
A car that shakes
A normal functioning transmission will keep your car ride smooth and serene. Automatic transmissions that jerk, shake or shift hard during a shift change could mean that you need to change or replace your transmission fluid due to the fluid being low.
The smell of extremely hot transmission fluid has a very acrid as well as specific smell. It doesn’t smell like burning oil, but rather like that of burning rubber. Burning transmission fluid indicates that a leak is present and you have fluid dripping onto hot engine parts. The burning smell can also mean that you have dirty fluid that needs to be replaced or even drained and replaced and new transmission fluid is needed. For a car that has contaminated and old transmission in it, this is very harmful and should be avoided. You might as well never have oil changes-that’s how dangerous dirty transmission fluid is.
When the car is in neutral, you hear noises
If you think that your transmission needs attention, put your car in neutral and take a listen for any weir or unusual sounds. If you hear ticking, grinding or even whining noises, then there’s a strong possibility that you have a failing transmission.
Your car fails to go into gear
Low transmission fluid is not only dangerous to drive with, but that low fluid could prevent your car from engaging the drive. You may even experience a reverse in gears. This not only indicates that you have a leak in but you also have some worn parts. Any vehicle that doesn’t slide easily into a gear that the driver chooses, needs immediate attention from a qualified mechanic.
Gears that are slipping
While a working and healthy transmission keeps your car in one gear until you decide to change the gear- slippage is a sign of trouble. When a gear “slips”, it may show an RPM of 3500 or even more. The slippage may even be shown through a long time to coast. You may also experience a delay in accelerating when you press on the gas. This also may be an issue if there is not enough power being transmitted to the engine’s internal combustion part. For a transmission that is slipping, there will come a time that you could see worn out or even broken bands.
If you are experiencing some transmission fluid leakage, then you could have an array of issues. The first may be loose pans. Another could include bolts that are not tightened properly. There may also be cracked pan gaskets, damaged toque converters or even ruptured and damaged fluid lines. If you think that constantly replacing lost transmission fluid is the answer, think again. Your transmission nor your engine will operate effectively if you have fluid amounts that are always fluctuating. It’s important to get the leak professionally and expertly repaired so that fluid levels remain steady This will definitely extent the life of your vehicle.
The “Check Engine” light comes on and stays on
Just because you don’t hear any noises or experience any issues, doesn’t mean that your car is in working order. You look on your dashboard, and you see that dreaded “check engine” light on and you wonder what the problem it. It could mean a problem with your transmission.
With the light being on, you have to do what it says: check things out!
What causes delayed shifting in an automatic transmission?
Oftentimes, delayed shifting is caused by valves sticking to the valve body. This prevents shifts from happening when they are supposed to happen. For newer cars, the shifts are controlled by a computer. And if this is the case, then the problem could lie in the shift solenoids that are used to trigger those shifts.
In this instance, these components of the transmission will have to be replaced or serviced by a dealership or expert mechanic. If the problem is within the computer, then the mechanic will have to reconfigure and reprogram some components for the issue to be remedied. Automatic transmissions accumulators, which are spring-loaded dampeners. These are in place to ensure that shifts happen smoothly as well as gently.
What are symptoms of a bad transmission solenoid?
For car owns who have transmission solenoid troubles, you will see evidence of such in a variety of ways, which include:
- A delay in shifting
- You won’t be able to downshift and you will hear engine revs, even when you apply your car brakes.
- You have a transmission stuck in neutral
- You have choppy and rough shift changes
Additionally, your transmission solenoid replacement costs can vary-depend on the year, make and model of your vehicle. Generally, for the repair of a single faulty transmission solenoid replacement could run you between $250 and $300. For the cost of replacing the entire solenoid pack you can expect to spend around $400 or $450.
How do I keep my transmission in good shape?
As a car owner, it is your duty to keep your car in good working condition- this includes keeping your car’s transmission in good working shape. Some tips to do this include:
Be sure to check your transmission fluid level regularly
Your transmission fluid should be checked regularly. If you are not able to perform this task, then you should develop a great relationship with the neighborhood mechanic, to get this done as he or she specifies. He or she will tell you how often your fluid should be changed.
Use the correct transmission fluid
With so many kinds of fluid on the market, it’s important to use the correct fluid. You may find that some fluids may be more expensive but they will likely provide more substantial protection of the transmission, which makes it worth it in the end.
Try to avoid excessive heat to your transmission
Think of it this way: heat is your transmission’s worst enemy. According to research, 90% of transmission failures are caused by some form of heat. So, be sure that you keep your car well maintained and keep the heat away from your transmission. Keeping the heat away, will also increase the life span of your vehicle.
If it’s a cold morning, allow your car to warm up a bit
Another way to maintain good transmission health, is to allow your car to heat up a bit before driving on a cold morning. Warming up the engine as well as transmission for about one to two minutes is a great way to preserve your car’s transmission.
When parking on an incline, use your emergency break
If you use your emergency brake while parked on an incline, you will reduce the stress on the parking pawl (pin) as well as linkage.
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