One of the selling points of the automatic transmission is that it is easier to drive. For the driver, an automatic transmission is simpler to handle than a manual transmission. In order to facilitate this ease of use, there is more work to be done internally within the transmission, in as certain processes are automated (hence the term “automatic”). But does this mean it’s harder to repair an automatic transmission as opposed to a manual transmission? Are automatic transmission repairs complicated?
Automatic transmissions automatically change gear ratios as the vehicle is in motion. This frees up the driver from having to shift gears manually, as one would when operating a manual transmission. The transmission allows the engine to provide a range of speed and torque outputs necessary for vehicular travel. By far the most common type of automatic transmission is the hydraulic automatic transmission. Hydraulic automatic transmissions utilize fluid coupling and accomplish gear changes by hydraulically locking and unlocking a series of planetary gears. Manual transmissions use a friction clutch.
Did you know that the automatic transmission was actually invented by a Canadian? It’s true. Alfred Munro first patented an automatic transmission way back in 1921. However, Munro’s design used compressed air and was not strong enough to ever achieve commercial application. It was not until 1940 when General Motors introduced its “Hydra-Matic” transmission in its Oldsmobile that automatic transmissions first became widely available to the public.
Your automatic transmission might require a repair if you notice it doing any of the following:
So now we know the basics of the automatic transmission, a little automatic transmission history, and some of the key signs that an automatic transmission is in need of repair, but what should we know about transmission repair? Are transmission repairs complicated? The answer is . . . it depends. Automatic transmission repairs are generally more complicated than manual transmission repairs; it all depends on what and where the problem is.
There is one important factor to this, though. Newer automatic transmission often requires a repair process that is quite complicated given that it needs specialized technology. Specifically, a computer. Most new automatic transmissions are heavily computerized such that a technician’s first step when repairing an automatic transmission is to use diagnostic technology to interface with a vehicle’s on-board computer. This process produces a code that indicates where the problem is. As part of any automatic transmission repair, the vehicle will then be taken for a road test so that the technician can monitor its behavior. After this, the required automatic transmission repair is often minor; it’s the diagnostic process that is key.
If you suspect your automatic transmission is in need of repair, please don’t hesitate to get it checked out. Please contact us at Mister Transmission and we can have a look at it and give you advice on how best to care for your automatic transmission going forward.