Q: How often should I change my transmission fluid?
A: In most cases a transmission fluid change or transmission “tune up” is indicated every year or every 25,000 miles- whichever comes first.
Q: I see some spots on my driveway- I think my transmission is leaking, is it expensive to fix?
A: Transmissions can leak from nearly 20 different external seals- some are very simple to repair, while others require more involved service procedures. Visit Trans Specialties Transmission Repair for our free transmission check up- included is a complete leak analysis and repair recommendation.
Q: My car is slipping- do I need a new transmission?
A: There are many different things that can cause a transmission to slip- from minor computer glitches to major transmission failures. Passaic County Transmission & Auto Repair’s free transmission check up includes a complete drivability analysis and computer diagnostic service that will isolate the problem- big or small. More often than not, a new or rebuilt transmission isn’t required.
Q: How can I extend the life of my transmission?
A: See our transmission tips section for advice on how to keep your transmission in top condition for long life
Tips on caring for your automatic transmission
Five Ways to Extend Automatic Transmission Life:
- Check the fluid level
The most important step in keeping your transmission in good working order is to check the fluid level regularly. There many different procedures for checking the fluid based on the manufacturer's recommendations- if you are unsure, check the owner's manual or stop in- we'll be happy to check it for you.
- Have transmission problems checked promptly
Most major problems can be avoided by simply taking care of the minor ones early on.
Whether it's a hesitation, slipping, a light on the dash, a few drops of oil in the driveway, or a feeling that something "just isn't right"- stop in- we'll be happy to perform our free diagnostic check-up for you.
- Change your transmission fluid regularly.
Transmission fluid- like motor oil, breaks down over time and can ultimately cause transmission failure.
Changing the fluid annually can add years to the life of your transmission and can save you money in the long run.
- Add an external transmission cooler.
The number one cause of transmission failure is heat- a 20 degree reduction in operating temperature can double the life of your transmission.
To eliminate excess heat from the transmission, have an external cooler installed. This is an especially important consideration in vehicles that are subject to hard use- towing, heavy loads, stop and go driving and mountainous terrain use.
- Tune the engine.
Engines and transmissions in today’s vehicles are closely linked.
An engine performance problem can put undue stress on the transmission- that’s yet another reason to keep your engine in good running order
6. Transmission And Mpg
Transmission fluid is as equally important to the transmission as motor oil is to the engine. Transmission fluid effects on gas mileage occur much in the same way as described in the motor oil section, by reducing friction between moving and rotating metal components. Switching to synthetic transmission fluid can further reduce friction in the transmission, increasing the amount of energy that is transferred to the wheels of the vehicle, thus increasing gas mileage. Here are some tips to improve your fuel economy through your transmission and save money in the long run.
1. Switch to a synthetic transmission fluid of the correct grade for your vehicle. Synthetic transmission fluids have molecules of a smaller uniform size as compared with those of regular non-synthetic oils. This decreases friction and improves fuel economy. Synthetic transmission fluids vary but some companies claim gains of up to 1% to 2% in fuel economy just by switching your stock transmission fluid to their synthetic blend.
2. Change your transmission fluid within regularly scheduled intervals. Transmission fluid lasts much longer than motor oil in the vehicle and it is not uncommon for transmission fluid to extend to 100,000 miles by manufacturers’ claims. However, keeping transmission fluid fresh will also extend the life of your transmission and prevent costly transmission breakdown.
3. Most synthetic transmission fluids also reduce the temperature of your operating transmission, an added bonus which can help to increase fuel economy by letting the transmission run more efficiently.
TRANS SPECIALTIES Experience
As we mentioned in the motor oil section, we had finished replacing gaskets and other components bringing our fuel economy back to its normal levels. At the same time as switching the motor oil to synthetic we also switched the transmission fluid to synthetic ATF. Over the next few weeks we received an improvement of 5.7% in gas mileage. What percentage of this was attributable to the motor oil and to the transmission fluid I cannot say as we changed them at the same time. But another benefit I realized is that the synthetic oils last longer before scheduled service intervals. This helps to offset some of the extra cost in paying for the synthetics which makes them more worth while.
Extended warranties for cars and trucks have become more popular than ever. In fact, if you are reading this you probably already have an extended automotive warranty or are considering the purchase of one.
Extended warranties can be a great deal; ideally, you are getting the same protection and peace of mind that you would get when purchasing a new car.
If you already have a warranty, here are six things that you should know:
1) Often times automotive repair shops and dealerships frown on performing extended warranty work. The reason for this is simple- most of the time the extended warranty issuer has a cap on the labor rate that they are willing to pay- repair facilities are sometimes under the impression that they are wasting their time doing work for them.
Before you bring your car in for repair, I suggest that you make sure that the shop works closely with your particular warranty company and that they are willing to do the work for what the company pays, within reason.
2) Inquire about your out-of-pocket costs ahead of time. Even if your repair shop will perform services on your vehicle at the warranty company's labor rate, you will typically be responsible to pay a deductible (if your policy has one) and pay state sales tax. If there are additional costs or things that are not covered, the time to find out about it is before you have any work done.
3) Read the fine print. I know- easy to say but hard to do. Different policies cover different things. For example, some warranties only cover "mechanical breakdown" while others cover "wear and tear" as well. Additionally, your warranty may provide an allowance for a rental car to drive while your vehicle is being repaired. It pays to know what is covered and what is not.
4) Many warranty companies require that a maintenance schedule be adhered to. Make sure that you are aware of this and have these services, such as oil changes, performed when they should be. This could help you from having a claim denied in the future.
5) Make sure that your warranty allows you to take the vehicle to the shop of your choosing to have the repair performed. Often times when extended warranties are purchased from new car dealers, the purchaser is mislead into thinking that the usually high priced issuing dealership is the only place where the warranty is honored. This is rarely the case.
6) Work with a shop that has experience with extended warranty companies. A shop that knows the warranty issuer's procedures and gets approval before the work is done is not likely to put you in a position where your claim gets denied on a technicality. The best bet is to find a repair facility that will deal directly with the warranty company on your behalf. This will not only minimize your risk but also save you some aggravation.
By following these simple guidelines you can usually find a reliable repair facility that will make sure that your claim gets paid with a minimum of hassle and makes the warranty process as convenient as possible for you.
Glossary of Transmission Terminology and Transmission Problems
Aftermarket: Parts and equipment sold after the vehicle has been manufactured.
All Wheel Drive (AWD): All-Wheel drive is a full-time four-wheel drive system.
Automatic transmission: A transmission that shifts automatically. .
Automatic transmission fluid (ATF): A petroleum-based hydraulic fluid used in automatic transmissions.
Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association (ATRA): An associaciation transmission repair shops.
Axle: A component that rotates a gear or wheel
Band: A component in many automatic transmissions whose function is to wrap around another component to stop its rotation.
Bearing: An anti-friction assembly used to support another rotating component.
Bushing: A bronze sleeve that serves as a bearing surface.
Carrier Bearing: A bearing that supports the carrier in a differential.
Check Engine Light (CEL): A light which comes on to inform the driver of a problem detected by the vehicle's computer.
Clutch: A device for coupling and decoupling the power flow between an engine and transmission.
Clutch Drum: An automatic transmission part where clutch pack assemblies are housed.
Clutch-release Bearing: Also known as a throw out bearing, a clutch release bearing is a bearing which is used to help disengage the clutch when the clutch pedal is depressed.
Clutch plate: A lined disk found in an automatic transmission clutch pack.
Chatter: A shuddering action in a clutch or clutch pack caused by a rapid grab and release cycle.
Cooler flush: 1) The flushing of a transmission oil cooler after a rebuild to remove contaminants the resulter from the original failure.
Differential: The portion of an axle assembly that permits the wheels to rotate at different speeds when going around turns.
Engagement: The application of a clutch.
Electronically controlled transmission (ECT): A transmission that is controlled by a computer.
Final drive: See "differential"
Flywheel: An assembly that is bolted to the engine crankshaft with a surface for a clutch to contact. A flywheel often needs to be resurfaced or replaced when clutch work is performed.
Four-wheel drive: A vehicle in which all four wheels can be driven.
Friction-modified fluid: Specially formulated automatic transmission fluid that is used by certain manufacturers to provide smoother shifts.
Front wheel drive: A vehicle in which the front wheels are the wheels driven by the engine.
Flexplate: A plate attached to the engine crankshaft which transfers power to the torque converter.
Gears: Components having teeth that mesh and transfer power each other.
Harsh engagement: An rough shift into drive or reverse.
Hard parts: Automatic transmission components that are not contained in a rebuild kit and are not normally replaced during a transmission rebuild unless they are worn or damaged.
Input shaft: The transmission shaft that receives power from the engine. Input shafts are splined into the clutch disk on manual transmissions and into the torque converter's turbine on automatic transmissions.
Kickdown: A full throttle downshift to a lower gear- passing gear.
Limited-slip differential A differential that tends to keepboth axle shafts rotating at the same speed, regardless of traction conditions.
Line pressure: The main operating pressure in an automatic transmission- pump pressure that has been modified.
Lock-up torque converter: A hydraulic torque converter in an automatic transmission having a mechanical clutch that effectively locks the engine to the transmission input shaft at cruising speeds. Lock-up torque converters provide more efficient operation and better fuel economy by eliminating slippage between the engine and transmission at highway speeds.
Malfunction indicator light (MIL): See "check engine light".
Manifold absolute pressure sensor (MAP) sensor: A sensor used to measure manifold pressure.
Mass airflow sensor (MAS): A sensor that measures amount of air flowing through an engine
Motor mounts: Mounts made of rubber to secure the engine to the vehicle's frame.
Needle bearing: A bearing that contains needle-like rollers.
Neutral: The position of a transmission when the engine is disengaged from the drive train.
Neutral safety switch: An electrical switch which inhibits starter operation when a vehicle is in gear.
OEM: Original equipment manufacturer.
Output shaft: The driven shaft in a transmission.
Overdrive: A transmission having a ratio of less than 1:1 where the output shaft turns at a greater rpm than does the input shaft.
Pilot bearing: A bearing that supports the transmission input shaft in the crankshaft.
Pressure Control Solenoid: A solenoid whose function is to vary transmission line pressure in proportion to load and/or throttle opening
Pressure regulator valve: The valve that is responsible for determining line pressure. See "line pressure"
Pump: A component located in the the transmission used to provide fluid pressure to operate the transmission.
Planetary gear set: A set of gears found in most automatic transmissions.
PWM: Pulse with modulated. See "duty cycle"
Rebuild kit: A kit containing some of the parts to rebuild a transmission.
Remanufacture: Similar to rebuilding but usually referring to work performed on an assembly line by several different individuals.
Rear-wheel drive: A vehicle that powers to the rear wheels only.
Remove and replace (R&R): To remove and replace a part.
Reverse: The transmission position enabling the vehicle to move backward.
Roller clutch: A one-way clutch containing a number of rollers that operates by wedging on a ramp between an inner and outer race to lock up when the outer race is turned in one direction, and to freewheel when it is turned in the opposite direction. Similar to but often incorrectly referred to as a 'sprag'.
Self-adjusting clutch: A adjuster that takes up the play between the pressure plate and clutch automatically.
Slippage: Incomplete transfer of engine power through a clutch, clutch pack or torque converter to the transmission output shaft.
Solenoid: An electronically activated valve to either block or allow fluid flow.
Speed sensor: An electrical device that can sense the rotational speed of a component.
SpragA one-way clutch used in an automatic transmission.
Synchronizer: A manual transmission component used to slow down or speed up a gear to the speed of the main shaft.
Synthetic oil: Any man made lubricant consisting of highly polymerized chemicals.
Shift kit: A kit containing parts to modify a valve body for higher performance operation.
Soft part: Any normal wear transmission part that is contained in a rebuild kit.
Throttle position sensor (TPS): An electrical device that measures throttle opening.
Torque converter: A component that transfers power from the engine to the transmission input shaft in an automatic transmission.
Transfer case: A gearbox that is used on four-wheel-drive vehicles to transfer torque to the front and/or rear axles.
Transmission: A gearbox with two or more different speeds used to match the engine to different road speeds.
Transmission cooler: A device which automatic transmission fluid circulates through to be cooled by surrounding air or engine coolant.
Trouble code: A numeric indicator generated by a computer to indicate a failure in a sensor, circuit, or the computer itself.
Universal joint (u-joint): A connection in a driveshaft.
Valve body: A component that is comprised of valves and passages whose function is to act as the "brain" of the automatic transmission.
Vehicle speed sensor (VSS): Asensor that provides a road speed signal to the vehicle's computer and/or instrument cluster.