Most of us have visions of being something of a grease monkey. Who wouldn’t want to know how to fix their own vehicle? Maybe you just bought your first car or maybe you’ve just retired and now you have the time to commit yourself to learning about automobiles. Regardless of who you are, you will find that vehicles are complicated. Like, really complicated. Forget knowing how to fix a vehicle, or even how it works, just learning the names of everything can be a real ordeal. For example, what the heck is a drivetrain? Is it the same thing as a transmission, or what?
What Is The Purpose Of The Drivetrain?
The drivetrain isn’t one single thing. It’s a group of components that deliver power to the driving wheels. The purpose of a drivetrain is to transmit power to whichever wheels drive your vehicle. The drivetrain physically links the engine to the axle(s) via a drive shaft. But this is tricky because the operating speed of the engine and the wheels are different and so they must be matched by the correct gear ratio. As the vehicle’s speed changes, the ideal engine speed must remain more or less constant for efficient operation and so this gearbox ratio has to also be changed, either manually, automatically, or by an automatic continuous variation, i.e.: via a manual, automatic, or CVT transmission.
So, is a drivetrain the same thing as a transmission? No. Well, kind of. The term “drivetrain” usually refers to all the parts that transfer power from the engine to the wheels, so the transmission is actually part of the drivetrain, along with the axles, torque converter or clutch. “Power train” usually refers to all of these and the engine.
Is your transmission overheating? Are you slipping into neutral after changing gears? Are you experiencing grinding when you shift gears? Do you hear weird noises like humming or clunking, even when in neutral? All of these are tip offs that your drivetrain has got problems.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Drivetrain?
This question really is impossible to answer in an article that could be read by thousands of different people with hundreds of different types and configurations of drivetrain. It might be as cheap as a hundred bucks or so to inspect, find a common problem, and fix it quickly. Or it could cost you thousands of dollars if your drivetrain or transmission needs to be rebuilt or replaced. One thing’s for sure: drivetrains don’t magically fix themselves and the cost of drivetrain repairs only increase over time.
To learn more about drivetrains, please contact us.
The torque converter is a key component of your automobile. It needs to be working properly if you’re going to have a smooth ride. If it’s not working, you’re in trouble. The torque converter is a type of fluid coupling (also known as a hydraulic coupling) that transfers rotating mechanical power generated by the engine to a rotating driven load. The torque converter is an alternative to a mechanical clutch and in a vehicle with automatic transmission it connects the power source to the load. The torque converter is usually located between the engine’s flex plate and the transmission.
Torque converters can multiply torque. Simple fluid coupling can match rotational speed but cannot multiply torque, so using a torque converter allows for more power. Some torque converters are also equipped with a “lockup” mechanism which rigidly binds the engine to the transmission when their speeds are nearly equal in order to avoid slippage and a resulting loss of efficiency. In short, the torque converter is important. So how do you know if you have a bad one?
What Happens When A Torque Converter Goes Bad?
How can you know if you have a bad torque converter? What are the symptoms of a bad torque converter? Well, if your transmission has been slipping out of gear, this could be a symptom of a bad torque converter. This typically happens when you switch gears and your transmission slips into neutral of its own accord. Moreover, sounds such as shuddering, clunking, whirring, and humming are rarely good news. These could all be signs that something is amiss with your torque converter.
Your transmission tends to get hot, but heat is also the enemy of transmissions. Overheating is a problem that affects many transmissions and this can be caused by a faulty torque converter. High stall speeds are also a symptom of a bad torque converter. The trouble with all of these symptoms, though, is that there could be something wrong with your torque converter long before you notice any of them. That’s why monthly transmission fluid checks are crucial to maintaining a healthy transmission. Dirty transmission fluid –that is opaque or foul-smelling transmission fluid– can be a symptom of a bad torque converter.
What Causes Torque Converter Failure?
But what are some of the causes of all the aforementioned symptoms of a bad torque converter? Many problems can be caused by excessive friction which is usually a sign that a torque converter’s needle bearings have become damaged. Faulty seals are also a prime suspect; they allow fluid to leak and become contaminated. Faulty clutch solenoids are also common causes of torque converter failures.
Can A Bad Torque Converter Damage A Transmission?
Yes, absolutely. Bad torque converters can cause overheating, friction damage, and transmission fluid degradation. The longer these problems continue, the more damaged your transmission will get.
Does A Torque Converter Come With A Transmission?
Yes. Provided it’s an automatic transmission. Your transmission won’t be able to transfer power from the engine to the axles without a torque converter. In a manual transmission, the equivalent is the mechanical clutch. Sometimes a torque converter has to be replaced independent of the transmission.
To learn more about torque converters, please contact us.
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)
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.
Transmissions don’t just go from operating at peak efficiency to imploding and falling out of your vehicle the next day. As with most things in this world, there is a progression. Transmission problems progress from bad to worse and, ultimately, to non-functional. And, as with most things, you can spare yourself a lot of stress and save yourself a lot of money if you can spot these problems early on and nip them in the bud. But how do you do that? How do you check for transmission problems?
Check Your Transmission Fluid
Automatic transmissions use transmission fluid. Manual transmissions are different. They usually use something called “transmission oil”. Because most vehicles in Canada are automatic transmission, we will focus on them, but if you drive a manual transmission please know that the oil or fluid you use serves much the same function as automatic transmission fluid does for automatic transmissions.
Transmission fluid is the lifeblood of the transmission. Fluid is needed to lubricate your transmission, to help it keep cool, and to avoid grinding. Without transmission fluid your transmission won’t work. While not every single transmission problem is the direct result of an insufficient amount of or insufficient quality of transmission fluid, there really isn’t a transmission problem that can’t be caused or worsened by a lack of fluid. That’s why you should check your transmission fluid every month.
How To Check Your Transmission Fluid
Using your dipstick, check the level of your transmission fluid. Is it where it needs to be? If not, top it up. If you notice that you have to top up your transmission fluid every single month, something is likely wrong. You shouldn’t be losing fluid that quickly. Check under and around your vehicle for leaks. Pools of reddish liquid indicate that you have a transmission leak. Do not procrastinate getting these leaks sealed.
But quantity isn’t everything. The quality of your fluid can tell you about the quality of your transmission. Is your transmission a reddish clear color with a neutral odor? Great! You should be good. But what if it smells bad and looks opaque? Then you got a problem on your hands. Bring your vehicle to a Mister Transmission repair shop as soon as possible.
Listen To Your Transmission
Transmissions generally don’t make any noise that can be heard above the hum of your engine (assuming you drive an internal combustion vehicle and not an electric car). If your transmission is making noise, listen to it. Whirring, humming, grinding, and clunking noises are not good. They suggest something is amiss with your transmission. Get it checked out.
Feel Your Transmission
You don’t need “spidey senses” to feel if your transmission is developing a problem. You can feel it when you shift gears. Hard gear changes or grinding gears are not what you want. These suggest you have a transmission problem. And if your transmission slips out of gear into neutral? Then you definitely have a transmission problem.
To learn more about transmission problems, please contact us. We can check for transmission problems in ways that the average person cannot. Our unique Multi-Check Inspection will be sure to determine whether or not you have a transmission problem.
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?
The Automatic Transmission
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.
History Of The Automatic Transmission
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.
Signs Your Automatic Transmission Needs Repair
Your automatic transmission might require a repair if you notice it doing any of the following:
Changing gears at high RPMS
Slipping, grinding, or jumping when you’re accelerating and shifting gears
Your “Check Engine” light is on (seriously, don’t ignore this)
Automatic Transmission Repair
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.
Get In Touch
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.
Since 1963, Mister Transmission is the name Canadians trust to provide them with high-quality transmission repairs and expert service.
With franchises conveniently located coast-to-coast, Mister Transmission is the largest chain of transmission and driveline repair specialists in Canada. We're proud of our reputation and our history as Canada's premier transmission and technology experts...