6 Must-Know Facts About Automatic Transmissions

6 Must-Know Facts About Automatic Transmissions

Vehicles are complicated. Modern vehicles even moreso. It seems that ease of driving correlates with the complexity of how the machinery actually functions. Automatic transmissions are easier to drive than manual transmissions, because the transmission does more of the work for you. But just how they work can be quite confusing. If you would like to know a little more about what you’re driving every day, here are six basic facts about automatic transmissions.

1. Automatic Transmissions Are Different From Manual Transmissions

This one is kind of obvious, but there are significant differences between automatic and manual transmissions. Automatic transmissions are called such because they automatically change gear ratios as the vehicle moves. This frees the driver from having to shift gears manually. Like manual transmissions, the automatic transmission allows the engine to provide a range of speed and torque outputs that make vehicular travel possible. Another key difference between manual and automatic transmissions is that manual transmissions sometimes use transmission oil but automatic transmissions always use. . .

2. Automatic Transmissions Use Automatic Transmission Fluid

Automatic transmission fluid. It’s what keeps your automatic transmission running. It keeps it lubricated and helps to cool everything down.

3. Synthetic Transmission Fluid Is Usually Best

Check your vehicle’s manual to see which type of automatic transmission fluid your manufacturer recommends for your vehicle. Automatic transmissions often perform best when you use synthetic transmission fluid.

4. Check Your Automatic Transmission Fluid Regularly

Because your automatic transmission fluid is so integral to your vehicle’s performance, you should check it regularly. It’s a good idea to check your fluid every 16,000 kilometers or even every month just to make sure your levels are right and that the fluid is in good condition. If your transmission fluid looks opaque and/or smells bad, this is a sign that something is wrong. Bring your vehicle to a transmission shop.

5. Heat = Bad

Things tend to get hot under the hood of your vehicle. That’s unavoidable. But you have to be careful. Excess heat can do your transmission a world of damage. And it’s not hard to tip over that line from acceptable heat to dangerous temperatures. As many as 90% of all transmission failures can be caused by excess heat. Reducing heat means extending the lifespan of your vehicle. The best way to do this might be by installing an auxiliary cooler. This is especially a good idea if you use your vehicle for towing. An auxiliary cooler can reduce temperatures from 30% to 50%.

6. There Are Numerous Symptoms Of An Automatic Transmission Problem

Not sure if you have a problem with your automatic transmission? There are some telltale problems. You might have an automatic transmission problem if you experience any of the following:

  • Odd noises including whirring, humming, and clunking
  • If your transmission slips out of gear, typically by dropping into neutral right after you switched into drive or reverse
  • If your transmission offers resistance when you try to change gears and it grinds
  • Sudden changes in your Revolutions Per Minute (RPM)
  • Sluggish acceleration

Mister Transmission

If you have any questions about automatic transmissions, Mister Transmission would be happy to answer them. For more information or to schedule an inspection or repair for your automatic transmission, please contact us.


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