Whenever the transmission in our vehicle acts up or stops working, we bemoan our rotten luck. “Oh, great”, we think, “Now I got to deal with this.” But as we stand by the side of the road cursing a blue streak about our misfortune, it’s often the case that, actually, we’re partly to blame for this. And deep down, we know this, even if we don’t want to admit it.
Of course, you can do everything right, and treat your vehicle properly, and it can still break down on you. If you drive your vehicle for long enough, you will invariable incur problems. But it’s far more frequent that our transmission requires a repair partly because we neglected it in some way. And don’t worry, we’re not here to shame you. We all lead busy lives and the health of our transmission is rarely at the forefront of our minds. But, if you do treat your transmission correctly, you can avoid big (and costly) problems in the future. Here are five of the most common mistakes that can ruin your transmission.
If you do any reading about transmissions, you will quickly discover that transmission fluid is pretty important. All automatic transmissions require transmission fluid. Manual transmissions commonly use transmission oil. If your automatic transmission fluid levels are insufficient, you’re going to have problems. Make it a habit to check your transmission fluid regularly. If the levels are low, top it up. Furthermore, inspect the fluid. Transmission fluid in good condition should be clear with a reddish hue and should have no prominent odor. The darker the fluid and the fouler the smell, the likelier it is that you have a problem that requires transmission service.
You can also use the wrong type of transmission fluid. This is another common mistake. Using the wrong fluid means you’re not getting the most out of your transmission and can, over time, have a deleterious effect on it. Synthetic transmissions are generally the better kind of fluid, but every transmission is different. Next time you bring your transmission in for service, ask the technician which fluid is best for your transmission.
If the fluid inside your transmission gets too hot, then not only can it not do its job properly, it actively damages the transmission as it’s running. Transmission overheating can be caused by a number of problems. Primary among them is, again, bad (or a lack of) transmission fluid. Other factors that can contribute to overheating include transmission slipping, a defective solenoid pack, if your vehicle is involved in heavy towing, lots of stop and go driving, or a hot climate.
Conversely, cold climates can also harm your transmission. You need to let your transmission warm up a bit before driving hard. Going hard without first giving your transmission a chance to warm up can really take a toll on it. If you want to avoid needing extra transmission service, take it easy.
Transmissions require regular service. You should bring your transmission in for service at least every other year. If you’re behind on your transmission service, please contact Mister Transmission today.