Addressing Auto Problems: Troubleshooting an Automatic (Part II)

As I mentioned in my previous post, transmission problems are usually too complicated for a regular DIY-project. You’ll need expensive specialized tools to perform various operations on your automatic transmission. But it is possible for you to determine the possible cause/s behind your transmission problems.

There are usually five main auto problems that could result in automatic transmission troubles. These include bad engine performance, problems with your car’s mechanical components, hydraulic problems, engine onboard computer problems or errors, and electronic problems. To find out what’s wrong with your transmission, start with these following tips.

Check Your Transmission Fluid Regularly and Look for Leaks

It’s highly recommended that you check your transmission fluid at least every six months. Like all the other fluids found inside your car, the transmission fluid helps lubricate your gears. Having very low transmission fluid levels can make shifting your car very difficult, if not impossible. It can also lead to transmission damage, which may require you to rebuild the entire system.

If you notice that you’re losing transmission fluid too quickly, then it’s highly probable that you have a leak.

You don’t really have to do much to check for leaks. Since the transmission system is a closed system, there are just a few places in the entire system that could spring a leak. And if you’re using transmission fluid, then all you basically have to do is look for signs of red fluid dripping from under your ride.

Check for leaks in the following places:

  • Check your radiator. If you have a transmission cooler, then transmission fluid may have leaked and mixed with the coolant inside your radiator. Because these two fluids don’t mix well, spotting a leak through your radiator should be pretty easy.
  • Locate your filler tube base and check for leaks. Is there red fluid pooling underneath your filler tube base. Is the device damp? If yes, then you have a leak.
  • Look at the Selector Shaft. The selector shaft refers to the small rod that attaches your gear shift to your transmission system.
  • Check between your engine and transmission.
  • Have a look at the area where your speed (electronic) sensor is mounted. The speed sensor is usually bolted to your transmission housing or is screwed into the housing itself.
  • Check out the transmission’s drain hole. The drain hole should be located directly under your transmission.

If you have a leak, then it’s best to have your transmission system fixed as soon as possible.

Check for a Clogged Filter

Like all the rest of the filters installed in your vehicle, this filter is designed to prevent contaminants from mixing with your transmission fluid. Before you agree to a complete rebuild or replacement of your transmission system, you need to check this filter first to find out if it’s the main reason behind your fluctuating transmission system.

Many transmission problems start out due to a clogged filter, so don’t neglect this step.

Determine the Symptoms of a Transmission Problem

If your transmission slips every time you change gears, or if your engine starts revving even before your move your gear lever to Drive, then you definitely have a transmission problem.

This transmission problem may be caused by the following problems:

  • A very low or near-empty transmission fluid level
  • Worn transmission parts
  • Insufficient transmission fluid pressure
  • Electrical and/or external transmission components may require replacement or simple adjustments

If you experience clunking, clicking, or buzzing noises coming from your car’s transmission, then it’s possible that some parts of your transmission are grinding against each other uncommonly. This could indicate a lubrication problem. It’s also possible that you’re using the wrong type of transmission fluid for your car. While the problem could be as simple as using the wrong fluid for your car, it could also indicate a deeper problem such as a worn and completely damaged transmission. If you hear these noises, I highly suggest approaching your local mechanic and telling him/her about this problem.

So When Do You Know It’s Time for a Rebuild?

When your transmission system has taken enough battering and is almost completely, if not already, broken down, then that’s the time when you need a rebuild. The reason why you had to go through each of the tips listed above is because rebuilds tend to be extremely costly. Replacing a filter or the type of transmission fluid you’re using will hardly cause a dent on your savings, whereas a complete rebuild may set you back pretty badly. If you’ve exhausted all your options, however, and you’re told that a rebuild is definitely needed, then look around for a garage or repair shop with a nice warranty for the transmission rebuild. With a nice warranty, at least you’re left with the assurance that your transmission will be functioning well for quite some time.

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

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