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.
Transmission fluid: it’s important. If you drive a vehicle with an automatic transmission, your vehicle won’t work without automatic transmission fluid. Manual transmission vehicles can also use transmission fluid as well but can also use something called transmission oil. Regardless, the principle is much the same. You need transmission fluid to operate your vehicle. But your transmission fluid will need changing occasionally. How do you know when that is? This article will go over everything you need to know about transmission fluid changes (but were afraid to ask).
Without transmission fluid, you’ll have nothing to lubricate the various components within your transmission. The transmission is not one solid unit but rather a piece of machinery that is comprised of many constituent parts. All those parts need to be working together just so in order for the transmission to operate properly. What’s more, things can get hot under that hood, so transmission fluid is key because it can help cool everything down. There is no transmission problem in the world that cannot be caused or at least exacerbated by a lack of transmission fluid. But it’s not just quantity. Degraded transmission fluid can also cause serious problems for your transmission.
How Often Do I Need To Check My Transmission Fluid?
You should check your transmission fluid every month. Using the dipstick under your vehicle’s hood, check your transmission fluid levels and if they’re not where they should be, top them up. If you find yourself topping up your fluid levels every month, you’ve got a problem. You either have a leak or your transmission is somehow evaporating your fluid at a quick pace. Check under your vehicle after you’ve been parked for a while to see if any transmission fluid is leaking. If you have a leak or can’t pinpoint the problem, bring your vehicle into a mister transmission shop where it can be inspected by technicians.
What Should Transmission Fluid Look Like?
Transmission fluid in good working order should be largely translucent with a reddish hue. If it is opaque, then the fluid has been damaged or degraded. If the fluid is foul smelling or smells of burning, this is indicative of a transmission problem.
How Often Do I Need To Change My Transmission Fluid?
This is perhaps the most common question when it comes to transmission fluid. How often are transmission fluid changes required? Well, if you notice your transmission fluid is damaged, you have to change it. But this will probably be after an inspection and any repairs have been conducted, so it’s likely this will be handled by a transmission technician. Barring any transmission problems, you should check your manufacturer’s guide to see how often they recommend changing your transmission fluid, because it can be different for every vehicle. Broadly speaking, you should change your transmission fluid every 45,000-80,000 kilometers. Perhaps more frequently if you use your vehicle for towing.
Which Transmission Fluid Should I Use?
Again, check your owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends. Often with automatic transmissions, a synthetic transmission fluid is best.
To learn more about transmission fluid changes, please contact us.
Overheating is like kryptonite for your transmission. Transmissions work best when they can stay cool. (“Cool”, not cold. In winter, transmissions can take time to warm up.) But the engine block gets hot and this can heat the transmission. Furthermore, there are transmission problems that can interrupt your transmission’s normal cooling mechanisms and cause it to overheat. All of this begs the question: do you need a transmission cooler?
Transmission fluid is tasked with regulating your transmission’s temperature as well as lubricating parts of it. The healthy range of temperature for transmission fluid is about 71 to 93 degrees Celsius. If your transmission fluid exceeds this temperature, it will begin to burn. This is bad. Not only can burnt fluid not effectively cool your transmission, it can actively damage it, even after is has cooled down.
Clearly, overheating your transmission and thus your transmission fluid is something to be avoided. But how can you avoid it? Well, most transmissions when operating under normal conditions will not exceed this range, even on long drives. But a malfunctioning transmission? There’s no telling. This is why you must get your transmission inspected at the first sight of trouble. Don’t let leaks, whirring noises, or grinding go ignored. Bring your vehicle into a Mister Transmission repair shop as soon as you notice any problems. Furthermore, don’t put any undue stress on your transmission. Drive responsibly and easy.
If you drive a truck or other form of vehicle for work that involves towing, then you’re in danger of overheating your transmission. Just like walking back from the grocery store with all your shopping will make you hot and sweaty on an otherwise temperate day, towing heavy loads will overheat your transmission. Likewise, if you’re planning on a long road trip with a lot of stuff in your car, you could also be at risk of overheating your transmission.
In such instances as described above, you should consider installing a transmission cooler. A transmission cooler is a component that you can add on to your transmission that, big shock here, cools your transmission. It does so by cooling heated fluid that is sent through it by using the air flowing over the fins of the cooler. The cooled liquid is then sent back to the transmission in a continuous loop.
Installing Transmission Coolers
Transmission coolers are not standard issue. There are different types and sizes of transmission coolers for different types of transmissions and different sizes of vehicle. Your vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is key to determining what kind of transmission cooler you need. As is the type of terrain over which you usually drive. Hilly and rocky terrain might require more of a heavy-duty transmission cooler.
The choice of where to install your transmission cooler is also tricky. You could put it just about anywhere you find space. But airflow is key; you want to install it where it will experience the most airflow and thus be the most effective.
The experts at Mister Transmission can recommend whether or not your vehicle needs a transmission cooler, what kind of transmission cooler, and can install it for you. To learn more about transmission coolers, please contact us.
“When do I need to change my transmission fluid?” It’s one of the most common questions that we get asked here at Mister Transmission. It’s a good question to ask. Your transmission fluid is vitally important to the wellbeing and efficacy of your transmission. But the answer to that question is nuanced; there’s not one simple answer. However, this article will attempt, in the broadest terms possible, to describe the times and situations when you should change your transmission fluid.
Checking Your Transmission Fluid
Your transmission fluid is important for two reasons. First, your transmission won’t work without it, so that makes it pretty important. Depleted or degraded transmission fluid can damage your transmission and reduce its efficiency. But beyond that, your transmission fluid is key to demonstrating if you have a transmission problem. For example, if you have degraded transmission fluid then there is probably something wrong within your transmission to have caused this.
That is why checking your transmission fluid is key to maintaining your transmission. You should check your transmission fluid every month. Use your dipstick to check your transmission fluid levels. If it is low, top it up. If you find that you’re topping up your fluid every single month, you probably have a leak somewhere. Good transmission fluid is reddish-clear and has a neutral odour. Foul smelling and/or opaque fluid is a sign of a problem. If you see such fluid during your transmission check, you should bring your vehicle in to have your transmission fluid changed and to have your transmission checked for problems.
Sometimes there are issues with your transmission that you can’t tell by yourself. This is why bringing your vehicle in for regular transmission service is important. At Mister Transmission we provide a Multi-Check Inspection, an exhaustive inspection of your transmission. The last step of the Multi-Check Inspection will determine the condition of your transmission.
Regular Transmission Fluid Changes
Some transmission manufacturers boast that the fluid in their transmissions need never be changed because it is a completely closed system. These claims don’t stand if there is something wrong with your transmission, though. Even so, sometimes transmission technicians will recommend changing the fluid in such transmissions anyway, just to be safe. Most auto manufacturers recommend changing your transmission fluid every 45,000 to 90,000 kilometres. That’s a big range. At Mister Transmission, we recommend erring on the smaller side of that range. If you regularly drive in harsh conditions or drive a truck that tows material, you will probably want to change your transmission fluid even more frequently than that,
Ultimately, every vehicle, transmission, and drivers are different. There is no universal rule that pertains to all vehicles, so ask your transmission technicians what they think. If you notice that your transmission fluid is damaged, have it changed and have your transmission inspected. If you’ve gone 45,000 kilometres without incident, you might as well have it changed just to be safe.
If you have more questions about transmission fluid, 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.
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...