Winter conditions vary geographically, but there are a few conditions that are common to most of Canada during the winter months. How you deal with those conditions can have a dramatic effect on your transmission.
So What Happens?
- As temperatures drop, fluids thicken, reducing their ability to lubricate.
- Driving slowly for the first few miles, until your engine and transmission reach normal operating temperature.
- Invest in an engine heater that plugs into a wall outlet and warms the engine before you come out in the morning. A timer will let the engine warm up a few hours before you’re ready to leave, saving you money on gas, and reducing engine wear.
Did you know for many transmissions, you may be damaging the internal components with excessive engine idle? That’s because some transmissions don’t lubricate the internal components with the shifter in park. Oil doesn’t start moving in park so internal transmission components are spinning — ice cold — with no lube flow. Not good.
Snow and Ice — for much of the country, driving on snow and ice is part of a normal winter. But there are specific hazards to your transmission on those frozen roadways.
So What Happens?
- When stuck, too often, drivers spin their wheels in the hope of freeing themselves from a snow drift or icy patch.
- The transmission in today’s cars use a computer to control transmission operation. When you spin the wheels, when the speedometer registers 40-or-so MPH, the computer identifies driving conditions as being right to engage the converter clutch. Now the engine is locked directly to the drive wheels.
- If the wheels regain traction, all that force is applied directly to the drive line components.
- The best way to get out of a drift or icy patch is to rock the car back and forth… forward and reverse… until you can get moving again. Or, better yet, get someone to push or pull you out of the snow. Avoid spinning the wheels excessively or make sure there is not excessive wheel spin when you contact a surface with better traction as you could end up damaging the transmission.
Water in the Transmission — No major component of your car can survive indefinitely with water in its internal components. But no other component can be damaged as quickly by water as your transmission. Even a small amount of water in an automatic transmission almost always results in serious failure and major repair bills.
So What Happens?
- The reason is the band and clutch linings absorb water, even if they have to push transmission fluid out to do it.
- This water quickly finds its way down to the metal backings, causing them to rust and lift the linings off. The result is metal-to-metal contact, which always means serious damage to the transmission.
- Steer clear of deep puddles, should you find your car submerged, don’t start the engine. Your only chance of avoiding a big repair bill is to have your car towed into a transmission shop and have the oil drained out and replaced immediately. If not, your auto insurance may cover part or all of the damage. Mister Transmission will be happy to supply the necessary technical information to your insurance company.
So whether its snow and ice, water, or just plain cold out, winter delivers a whole new set of conditions just waiting to damage your transmission. Whether it succeeds or not depends on how you deal with those conditions.
Mister transmission specializes in transmission and drivetrain repairs and service. Mister Transmission is a member of ATRA — the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association — and adheres to its requirements for honest, reliable, quality service.
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