Dodge vehicles with a traditional automatic transmission use sensors to determine when it should shift gears, and changes them accordingly by using internal transmission fluid pressure. An automatic transmission must be temporarily disconnected from the engine to shift gears – which is controlled by the lock-up in the torque converter. In an automatic transmission, the transmission’s various speeds are achieved by creating different gear ratios. The torque converter transfers power from the engine to the transmission by a process called ‘fluid coupling’. It is very important to make sure the transmission fluid level is checked regularly to ensure this process is working properly and your transmission is running smoothly.
The most common cause of failure in an automatic transmission is a malfunctioning torque converter, which can cause shifting problems in automatic transmissions. The torque converter in an automatic transmission serves the same purpose as the clutch in a manual transmission. It is the part of your car that controls how much fluid is passed on to the automatic transmission and allows your engine to continue running while at a complete stop.
It is very important to note that if your torque converter is malfunctioning, it will continue to fail over the course of several weeks or even months before it completely breaks down. This can lead to the transmission fluid in your vehicle becoming contaminated with metal debris, and can cause significant damage to your transmission, which may require a more extensive repair such as a complete rebuild.
A few signs to look for that might indicate a malfunctioning torque converter or any other transmission problems include:
A common problem customers experience with their Dodge Grand Caravan is delayed transmission engagement and hard shifting when driving. It is also common to feel your car ‘shuddering’ when driving, which can feel like you are driving over rumble strips if you have a transmission problem with the Dodge Caravan. This may be caused by an unfastened snap ring on low drum spins causing excessive wear on a drum. This problem can be solved when rebuilding the transmission by installing an updated drum and snap ring that locks into position, which will prevent wear on the drum.
Dodge trucks, such as the RAM 1500/2500/3500, can have issues with overheating, especially if you are towing heavy loads with your truck. Watch out for overheating with your truck as it can be responsible for the start of many transmission problems and can lead to transmission failure in the future. If you tow or haul heavy loads with your truck – you may want to consider getting a transmission cooler to help prevent your transmission from overheating. Dodge Ram models with a 45RFE transmission can also have shifting issues due to failing solenoids in the valve body. This is a relatively minor repair if caught and diagnosed early.
For these Dodge models, there is a common problem with the anchor shaft falling out causing the vehicle to slip out of the park. This can be solved by installing a safety bracket to prevent the shaft from falling out.
The Dodge Sprinter vans are known to have shifting issues due to internal electrical issues with the output speed sensor. This can be fixed with a relatively minor repair by replacing the output speed sensor.
Like all technology, the types of transmissions used in modern passenger vehicles have changed tremendously over the years. Today’s vehicles come equipped with complex computer systems,and our facilities have the newest diagnostic technology that can communicate with your automobile’s computer systems to determine your specific transmission problems.
The first step in determining your transmission problems consists of a technician connecting the diagnostic equipment to your vehicle’s on-board computer. This will produce a code stating where the problem lies. Following this, the vehicle should be taken for a test drive so that our technicians can monitor the transmission’s behavior in real-time. While more comprehensive and hands-on evaluations might still be necessary, today’s diagnostic technology is an integral tool in determining the best starting point for further investigations. Often times the repair you need can be relatively minor, which is why diagnosing your problem correctly is key in keeping your repair costs as minimal as possible.
At Mister Transmission, we are experts when it comes to Dodge service, repair, and maintenance. With over 55 years of experience, our technicians complete some of the most advanced training available and are confident working on any Dodge model you own. Just like other parts of your car that need servicing, the transmission requires preventative maintenance to increase its longevity and to avoid transmission problems in the future.
If you suspect your Dodge’s transmission isn’t performing properly, or if you have any questions about preventative transmission maintenance, contact Mister Transmission. Take advantage of our FREE multi-check inspection and avoid the cost and aggravation associated with a failing transmission.