Addressing Auto Problems: Troubleshooting an Automatic (Part I)

Driving a car with an automatic transmission? While making modifications and replacements to this transmission is best left to the professionals, it’s still crucial that you troubleshoot your transmission once in a while or the moment you notice problems every time you shift gears. By correctly identifying your transmission problem, or at the very least getting a rough idea where the problem lies, you save yourself from getting ripped off by a shady mechanic. While there are a lot of honest repair shops out there, there are still some who would try to take advantage of the situation by replacing your entire transmission when the problem is something as simple as needing more transmission fluid.

So, before you send your car to be checked by any mechanic for the littlest trouble, protect yourself from overcharging brought by over-repairing by brushing up on your auto transmission knowledge.

Four of the most basic complaints coming from car owners regarding their transmissions go:

  1. I can’t move my gear stick!
  2. The entire car refuses to move even when I shift to Drive/Reverse!
  3. It takes a while for the transmission to work. I usually have to wait a while before I can actually move forward or in reverse.
  4. Some of my gears refuse to work.

Sounds familiar? Before you start actually troubleshooting your vehicle, it’s important that you first take note of all your transmission’s different parts. And no, you won’t have to open that mysterious black box inside your car to do this.

Your transmission system is the part of your car which controls and operates your engine and your transmission gears. Without it, your ride won’t move properly, if at all. The most visible part of your transmission system is basically your gear stick or gear lever. In a car with an automatic transmission, you usually move your gear stick depending on whether you’re speeding up, running on neutral, parking or reversing. The usual order goes: Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, and sometimes D2 and D3, depending on your car model.

Before troubleshooting your vehicle, get to know the purpose behind each of your car’s most basic and yet important transmission parts.

Note: The following are just some parts of your transmission. This is going to be a two-part post, with this part basically just tackling some of the vital parts of your transmission.

Transmission Fluid: The transmission fluid is crucial when you’re driving an automatic transmission. Most vehicles use a transmission fluid with a reddish tint, so if you’ve been noticing marks of this fluid on your garage or driveway every morning, then you undoubtedly have a leak.

Filter: Every car contains numerous filters. You have your fuel filter, air filter, and your transmission filter to name a few. The transmission filter is designed to prevent large debris, gunk, or any other form of buildup from entering your transmission. This helps keep your transmission fluid fresh and uncontaminated, promoting better auto handling.

Transmission Gears: Every single automatic transmission is made up of a set of gears. These gears are usually classified as your planetary and main gears. For you to be able to move forward or in reverse, your car relies heavily on these components.

Bell Housing: If you’ve ever done work under your car, then you may have noticed what appears to be a bell-like or cone-shaped metal casing under your car. This is the bell housing. If you’re driving a rear-wheel drive car, vehicle, then your entire transmission system can be found under your car, directly behind where the engine is situated. But if you have a front-wheel-drive, then you can find your transmission system on the side of your engine each time you have a look under your car’s hood.


One Response to Addressing Auto Problems: Troubleshooting an Automatic (Part I)

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