Tag Archives: Transmission Basics

Transmission Systems: Computer Diagnostics

Keeping your transmission in tip-top shape calls for computer-savvy technicians and advanced transmission scan tools

When the first semi-automatic transmissions were introduced in select vehicle models in the late 1930s, few motorists could’ve known they were witnesses to the start of an evolution in how transmissions are built. More than 70 years later, the transmissions in our vehicles today are complex machines that are an intricate blend of mechanics, hydraulics, and electronics. Inspecting, maintaining, and repairing them requires the use of sophisticated transmission diagnostic tools by a professional trained in the use of high-tech systems as well as mechanical know-how.

The Complexity of Transmission Processes

Regardless of the domestic or imported vehicle you drive its transmission system is governed by an onboard computer. When something goes awry with your transmission – or if you suspect something is wrong – repair technicians rely on high-tech diagnostic tools to determine what may be wrong with it.

The mechanical components of a transmission still exist. However, each one is managed and monitored by the onboard computer. Conceivably, that makes transmission maintenance and service more complex in nature. In fact, it’s more beneficial for both car owners and automotive technicians: modern, computer-controlled transmissions provide drivers with more control of their vehicles, and it eases repair technicians’ diagnostic and service processes.

The computer running the transmission system sends and receives information about the transmission’s performance and operation. Technicians, using digital scanning tools, decipher that information to determine what the cause is of any potential transmission problem.

Reporting Faults and Error Codes

If your vehicle’s transmission system is experiencing an issue, it will log what’s known as an error fault code in the car’s onboard computer. If there your car does have a malfunctioning transmission, the technician’s scan tool will receive that error code, which will identify there is a problem. However – and this is where traditional automotive repair smarts and experience come into play – the technician will need to make a comprehensive assessment of the transmission system to figure out what is going wrong.

The good news is, knowledge is power. Once your repair technician has identified what’s impacting your transmission, they can correct it quickly, and get you and your vehicle back on the road.

And remember: the best way you can avoid a transmission failure is by ensuring preventative maintenance is performed regularly on your vehicle by a knowledgeable professional.

If you have a question about your transmission or want to book a service appointment, contact the Mister Transmission service centre nearest to you.

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Should I Buy a Used Transmission?

Purchasing a used transmission from the auto graveyard poses significant financial risks

It’s wise to be smart with your money, to save more than you spend, and when shopping, to look for the best deal you can find. But on the subject of buying a used transmission, an adage applies: “You get what you paid for.” In other words, purchasing a used transmission is never a good idea unless you’re doing it as a temporary measure to extend the longevity of an older vehicle.

Used Transmissions and the Risks They Pose

Used transmissions can be found at most auto wreckers. Many of these suppliers offer warranties, usually for a timeframe ranging from 30 to 90 days. But it’s important to remember you’re rummaging for a used transmission in an auto junkyard. That means you don’t truly know what condition a used transmission is in, what its history is, and there are no guarantees it will work as you expect for long if at all.

Be aware it can take up to 10 hours or more to install a used transmission in a car. In fact, It’s usually cheaper to have your vehicle’s failed or failing transmission removed and repaired. Additionally, there are so many variations of transmissions on the used parts aftermarket that there’s a real possibility you may purchase the wrong model for your vehicle.

There Are Other Options Available to You

Modern transmissions are computer-controlled marvels featuring an array of sensors that constantly monitor and relay information to the computer to ensure the transmission is performing at an optimum level. Your vehicle’s engine control unit is what governs everything from fuel efficiency and emissions to shifting gears. If repairing your current transmission isn’t a viable option, you can opt to replace it with a rebuilt model, or you can purchase a new one and have it installed.

Rebuilding a failed or failing transmission may seem questionable, but you have the benefit of knowing its history and who serviced it. Plus, there’s no worrying over whether or not the transmission gears are the perfect match for your vehicle.

Transmission rebuilds at Mister Transmission repair shops include a 12-month warranty (which can be upgraded to three or five years). It’s that extended nationwide guarantee that should give you the confidence to invest in repairing your existing transmission. Also, it strikes the right balance between being economically responsible and having the peace of mind the repair will go as planned.

Are you experiencing a problem with your vehicle’s manual or automatic transmission or have questions about transmissions? Visit the Mister Transmission location nearest you and get the expert help and information you need.

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Transmission Shifting Problems? Here’s What You Need to Know

Ignoring transmission trouble warning signs will do more harm than good to your car and your finances

Has this happened to you? You hop into your vehicle, start the engine, attempt to shift to drive (or into first gear) and quickly realize your transmission refuses to go into gear. Or it gets stuck in first, and you’re left to wonder why won’t your transmission shift out of first gear? At times like these, you can be forgiven if one of Murphy’s Laws creeps into your mind, namely: “If anything can go wrong, it will.”

Whether your vehicle is having trouble changing gears, you notice there’s a delayed engagement, or you hear disconcerting noises when shifting gears, such woes can be the result of a myriad of factors. Determining what the root of your car’s uncooperative transmission is, requires the insight and expertise of an experienced, technology-savvy technician.

Common Causes of Transmission Problems

Whether mechanical, electrical, or technological, a malfunctioning transmission can often be attributed to one of these causes:

  • Leaking, low, or oxidizing transmission fluid. If your vehicle’s transmission fluid is low (or the fluid level is in excess), leaking, or hasn’t been changed in recent memory along with the filter, it could be oxidizing (burning).
  • Failing gear synchronizers. On manual transmissions, a failing or worn out gear synchronizer may be the culprit. If your gears aren’t synchronized properly, it won’t shift gears smoothly.
  • The engine control unit (ECU) needs to be updated. Modern vehicles are as much about technology as they are about mechanics. It could be your vehicle’s ECU software is outdated and needs an upgrade.
  • A worn out clutch. Mechanical parts on any vehicle are subject to wear and tear. If your engine is revving while gears change, it’s possible you need to get the clutch replaced.

Are you experiencing problems shifting gears when you drive? Visit the Mister Transmission service centre nearest you, let our expert technicians fix what ails, and get you back on the road quickly.

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Transmission Repair Options

Your car’s transmission has failed or is in need of repair. What do you do now?

Are you faced with a failed transmission and the dilemma of deciding which transmission repair option is best for your vehicle? It’s a tough spot to be in but here’s good news: you have options aplenty.

Depending on the age, make, and model of your car, light-duty truck, van, or SUV – and whether your vehicle features an automatic or a manual transmission – your decision will likely be determined by a multitude of factors including cost, quality, and when you need your wheels back.

In general, you have six options to choose from, including:

A New Transmission

Many people believe when they buy a new transmission to have installed in their vehicle, that they are getting a brand new factory-made one. That is usually not the case. Brand new transmissions are not available from the manufacturer, your automotive dealer, or any other source. New transmissions are only used in the production of new cars and trucks. Thus, when you purchase a “new” transmission, you are, in fact, getting one that has been remanufactured. Be advised the price tag affixed to a so-called new transmission and a remanufactured one may not be the same.

A Rebuilt Transmission

Whether you call it a rebuilt, refurbished, reconditioned, or overhauled transmission, the result is the same.  A rebuilt transmission is a transmission that has been disassembled and inspected, all the worn or damaged parts are replaced, and then the transmission is reassembled to factory specifications. Some components will be replaced as part of this process: new gaskets, steel clutch plates, seals, friction clutches, filter, and bands.

The term “rebuilt” is used in a shop setting where the customer’s transmission is removed from the car, rebuilt and then reinstalled. It is a custom process performed by an experienced, technology-savvy technician. One of the major benefits of having your transmission rebuilt is that often there are new updated components that can be installed. These updated components often address common weak points of the transmission; thus they are less likely to fail in the future.

A Remanufactured Transmission

A remanufactured transmission, aka a “reman”, is the same as a rebuilt transmission, except that the work is done in a factory instead of an auto repair shop.

There are two common practices employed in remanufacturing. One uses a team of workers skilled in a specific area of the repair. One technician does the teardown and inspection, one does the cleaning, and several others will assemble and restore certain components. Lastly, another more senior technician will reassemble the transmission. Alternatively, a single technician skilled and experienced at rebuilding a specific model of transmission or family of transmissions will do all of the work. For instance, there may be a Ford transmission specialist, a Chevy transmission specialist, a Nissan transmission specialist, and so on. In either instance, the transmission is tested on a dynamometer and then shipped to a retail outlet for sale (including new auto dealerships).

A Repaired Transmission

A repaired transmission is one where a specific component is replaced or fixed. For example, if an input shaft broke or a solenoid failed, those parts can be replaced without rebuilding the entire transmission. That includes instances where a transmission may have sprung a leak. In such a case, the external seals would be replaced to resolve the leaking problem.

A Used Transmission

Another possibility today is to have a used transmission installed. Used transmissions have become a viable option because insurance companies will often write off the expense of a car simply because the airbags deployed during a relatively minor accident. The rest of the car may be in terrific condition, with very low mileage. A used transmission may cost hundreds less than a rebuilt model, but they come with a limited warranty. Moreover, whenever you buy a used transmission from a junkyard, you never truly know what you’re getting. You may save a few dollars in the short-term, but ask yourself, “what are the long-term implications of buying a used transmission?”

Are you experiencing transmission troubles or have questions about your vehicle’s transmission? Visit the Mister Transmission location nearest you and get the expert help you need.

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What Is a Transmission Rebuild?

Learn what’s involved with rebuilding a transmission and if it’s a worthwhile proposition

Take care of your wheels through regularly scheduled preventative maintenance of your car’s transmission, and you may never need to know about transmission rebuilds. However, despite the most devout car owner’s efforts to stay atop of any potential engine troubles, the ravages of time will eventually catch up with your treasured vehicle.

If you’re facing the prospect of a transmission repair, it is helpful to understand what your options are. By knowing a little about rebuilt transmissions, you’ll be better equipped to determine whether you should choose to have your transmission rebuilt, of if you should purchase a new one. Regardless, understanding more about either option may save you money and extend the life of your car.

New Parts May Not Stave off the Inevitable

As it is with any failing mechanical or electrical device, if a potential problem with your vehicle’s transmission is detected early, any repairs or adjustments may be made without requiring a full transmission rebuild.

If there are transmission parts that require replacing, and they are easily accessible, or if the problem is an electrical one, it may be possible to repair the transmission without removing it from the vehicle – that alone will save you time and money. That said, it may be wise to look at the big picture right from the start, and have the technician thoroughly inspect the transmission.

If a few parts of your transmission are damaged, it’s quite possible other parts will require replacing too. But know once the parts replacement process starts, it can become a losing battle. A transmission rebuild may, in fact, be the wisest and most economical choice you make.

What Is the Transmission Rebuild Process?

An important element of transmission diagnosis is determining the cause of the problem, enabling you to make an informed decision whether or not you should proceed with a transmission rebuild. The transmission rebuild process typically includes:

  • Removing the transmission from your vehicle and dismantling it
  • Chemically cleaning the transmission by running it through a parts washer
  • Any wonky transmission parts, plus all seals and gaskets, are replaced with new ones
  • Any required electrical repairs are performed
  • There may have been advances made in your vehicle’s transmission parts and technology since you purchased your car. If so, these updated parts may be included to improve the performance of your transmission and extend its longevity
  • Last but not least, the rebuilt transmission is re-installed in your vehicle

The Cost of a Rebuilt Transmission

As with any automotive repair, the cost of a transmission rebuild varies widely, and it’s determined by a multitude of factors including the type of vehicle you drive, and how extensive the damage is to your transmission. A word to the wise: nobody can tell you exactly what your vehicle’s transmission repair will cost over the phone.

While cost is always an important consideration when faced with a transmission repair, it is also important to consider the value of the repair work performed as well. If the transmission technician or shop you’re dealing with doesn’t offer a 12-month warranty on a transmission rebuild with the option of upgrading it to a five-year warranty on all parts and labour, you’re settling for less, and you may be playing Russian roulette with your vehicle.

Are you experiencing transmission troubles or have questions about your vehicle’s transmission? Visit the Mister Transmission location nearest you and get the expert help you need.

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