Before you hand over the keys, brush up on the basics of automatic transmissions so you can understand why your transmission is acting up. Here we’ll cover the basic parts of a transmission, basic transmission problems and how to know if a rebuild is in your future.
The transmission allows you to shift your car from gear to gear, knowing how fast you need to go and how quickly you need to get there. Remarkable stuff.
While there are many little parts inside, your transmission is essentially made up of 4 key parts of systems:
Bell Housing: This is the cone shaped metal case that you can see when you peek underneath your car. If you have a front-wheel-drive car it’s stuck on the side of the engine under the hood. If your car is rear-wheel-drive, the transmission will be mounted underneath the car behind the engine.
Gears: Even though you’re not shifting them, an automatic transmission has gears. They are broken into main gears and planetary gears. You need all of these to be able to drive.
Fluid: Transmission fluid is very important to an automatic transmission. All of the magic happens in the fluid. Most cars come with red transmission fluid, good to know if you are looking for a leak.
Filter: All of that fluid has to be clean for your car to shift gears at the right time. To keep things fresh, your transmission has a filter to catch any gunk.
If your car won’t start or doesn’t run smoothly, these problems are caused by the same faults in your transmission, so whichever your car is doing, the following applies:
It’s important to check your transmission fluid at least twice a year. Not only can a low fluid level cause your car to shift poorly, it can eventually lead to transmission damage, and a costly repair. If your car seems to be losing fluid on a regular basis, you may have a leak.
Checking for leaks isn’t as difficult as it may seem. The transmission is a closed system, so there are only a few places that can spring a leak. Unless it’s been changed to a non-dyed fluid, your car will have red transmission fluid. Here are a few places to check for leaks:
Your transmission’s filter is vital to its performance. If you haven’t replaced your filter in a while, or ever, be sure to do this before you start talking about rebuilds or replacements.
When your transmission is worn out, you’ll have to have it rebuilt. For some makes and models of car this is true a little too often. The important thing is checking any other possible causes to your problem before you have it taken apart. If you haven’t replaced your filter yet, start there as this fixes a good percentage of transmission problems. If your filter is in good condition and nothing simple is out of adjustment, it’s likely you’ll need a rebuild. The good news is that at Mister Transmission we offer a rebuild warrantee so you’ll know it will get fixed and stay fixed.
Generally, transmission problems can’t be fixed by the average do-it-yourselfer. There are just too many specialized and expensive tools and pieces of equipment needed. We recommend keeping up with your regular maintenance to keep you out of the shop as much as possible.