The Anatomy of Healthy Cars: A Service and Repair Blog

Could Trouble Be Brewing in Your Vehicle's Transmission?

by Brittany Marshall

If you drive your car back and forth to work every day without any problems, you may be tempted to let sleeping dogs lie. You may not feel the need to take the vehicle in for a service as the manufacturers intend these vehicles to be reliable and over-engineer everything in any case. Yet why should you always schedule such a visit, and what can happen if you simply let things slide?

Transmission Troubles May Be Ahead

Take your vehicle's transmission as an example. Whether you have a manual or automatic in your car or truck, you still need to understand what goes on inside.

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

During normal operation, a tremendous amount of heat builds up inside the casing. A special fluid flows back and forth and is meant to lubricate the many moving parts to avoid friction and help keep that elevated temperature at bay. This fluid is over-engineered, but it can only do so much and will only last for a certain amount of time.

Once the fluid starts to degrade, it will quickly lose its efficiency. Also, it will have picked up a lot of residue as microscopic pieces of metal flake away from some of those internal moving parts. Some of this residue will end up within the internal filter, but the rest will be suspended within the fluid. As the ratio of particles to fluid increases with time, so does the risk of damage. These particles could come in between two cogs that need to mesh together to change gears. If this happens, the vehicle may jump out of gear unexpectedly, or the transmission may begin to slip.

Servicing Process

When you take the vehicle in for a transmission service, the mechanic will drain all of the fluid out from the sump. They will also change the filter and clean any residue out of the sump. In an automatic transmission service, they will also use a special device to "pull" any old fluid that may be trapped within the torque converter. They will then add new liquid and reassemble everything before returning the vehicle to you.

Time for Action

So, even though your vehicle may appear as if it is working perfectly at the moment, the transmission fluid may have passed its better days. Catch up as soon as you can by scheduling a car service with a local mechanic.