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An automatic transmission is a hydraulic system that operates on pressurized oil (fluid). This fluid lubricates the transmission and applies various friction devices such as (clutches and bands) at specific times to change gears and transfer power from the engine to the drive wheels. When the fluid drops below a secure level, lubrication and hydraulic pressure decrease, causing extreme wear to major transmission components and in some cases, immediate failure.
With the large number of self-service gas stations, drivers are not checking fluid levels of many major vehicle systems, as they should. These include motor oil, brake and power steering fluid, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, and of course, transmission fluid.
If you park on the street or in different spaces everyday check for oil stains before and after you’ve parked there to see if you left any new ones.
10 Things You Should Not Do When You Think You Have A Transmission Problem!
1. Don’t Let Any Unqualified Person Try To Fix It In His Driveway.
2. Don’t Be Misled By Terminology.
3. Don’t Have Anyone Install A Used Transmission From A Junkyard Or Out Of Another Vehicle That Has Not Been Evaluated By A Professional.
4. Don’t Go Back To The New Car Dealer unless the vehicle is under the manufacturer’s original warranty.
5. Don’t Trade Your Car In Just Because It Has A Transmission Problem.
6. Don’t allow anyone to install a remanufactured, rebuilt, reconditioned, or repaired transmission in your vehicle without first performing diagnostic checks to determine if such an extensive operation is even necessary.
7. Don’t Shop For Prices Over The Phone.
8. Don’t Add Store Bought Transmission Fluid Additives.
9. Don’t Let General Repair Mechanics Experiment With Your Transmission.
10. Don’t Take Your Transmission Problem To A “Fly By Night” Repair Shop.
10 WAYS TO PROLONG THE LIFE OF YOUR TRANSMISSION.
1. Check transmission fluid regularly and properly. (See Owner’s Manual for Instructions)
2. Check transmission fluid after running hot. Stop and go traffic, mountainous terrain, hot weather, or towing can build up excess transmission heat causing fluid to be lost, damaged, or both.
3. Install an external cooler in high stress conditions. Towing a trailer, hauling heavy loads or being caught in traffic often creates excessive transmission heat. An external transmission cooler will help to bring the temperature down to normal operating level adding significantly to the life of the transmission.
4. Change transmission fluid more often in high stress conditions. Transmission fluid cools, cleans, and lubricates the internal transmission parts while providing the hydraulic pressure to makeall of the components work mutually. When the fluid loses its ability to perform those tasks effectively trouble can’t be far away. Any of the conditions in items 2 & 3 above will shorten the effective life of transmission fluid. In those cases, change the fluid a minimum of twice a year (unless otherwise specified in the owner’s manual).
5. Check any malfunctions promptly. Repair cost tends to rise in ratio to mileage driven after the first signs of trouble. The longer you drive with a malfunctioning transmission, the more damage you may cause, and the more money it might cost you.
6. Have the transmission linkage and other adjustments checked periodically. Particularly after the vehicle has been in an accident or has had any major engine work performed.
7. Keep your engine properly tuned. A weak running engine can, at times, display symptoms related to a transmission problem.
8. Have other drive train components that may affect transmission function checked regularly. Drive shafts and their universal joints, drive axles and their constant velocity joints, engine flywheels or flex plates, computer system and sensors, radiator and cooling lines to the transmission, engine and transmission mountings can cause problems.
9. Have your vehicle’s cooling system checked twice a year for leaks, proper coolant level and strength. Antifreeze can deteriorate over time causing it to become ineffective creating overheating or freeze-up conditions.
10. Take your vehicle for a complete physical check up at least once a year. This should include all safety components such as lights, brakes and steering. Keep in mind that a poor running engine or certain transmission problems can be a safety hazard.
Free LOCAL Towing With Any Major Repair
Anything that has virtually 1,000 parts is expected to be expensive to repair. So investing periodically in replacement of the fluid and filter along with a thorough inspection can only serve to extend the transmission’s life and could save you thousands of dollars eventually.
We recommend you check the fluid about every 3000 miles. If it is low add the proper type of fluid until it reaches the full mark. Do not overfill. Although overfilling will probably not do damage because the transmission will push out any excess through its venting system, that excess oil could drip onto hot engine or exhaust components perhaps causing a fire.
Transmission fluid does not evaporate, nor does it burn like motor oil might through an engine. If transmission fluid is low it has definitely leaked out somewhere.
The best course of action is to bring the vehicle to SMT and Complete Automotive Care immediately so we can perform a free diagnostic procedure (which includeds a leak check and computer diagnostic).
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