Currently, most of the vehicles on the road today utilize computer controlled automatic transmission, some going as high as ten to twelve speeds with eight being the norm. Even the older 3 and 4 speed autos are encountered regularly on the road though these tend to be mechanically controlled. Usually the modern transmission is a reliable piece of mechanical marvel coupled with electronic controls, the same box that manages the engine. And transmission problems rate fairly low on the list of tow responses, but leaks and such can defeat even the newer technologies.
Manual Transmission Sales Decline
Standard transmissions account for only about 3% of the sales and the option has been dropped in most of their lines completely, even the sporty models like Ferrari have dropped the ‘stick’ and nearly all the manufactures have phased out the option by next year. No more four on the floor. Few under 30 have ever driven a standard and very, very few under 21. Following though is a list of helpful tips for those who drive their ‘slush-o-matics’ daily:
Parking on a Hill with Automatic Transmission
The automatic transmission has a parking pawl that engages teeth on the output shaft to hold the vehicle stationary. The small finger of metal is all that holds your vehicle stationary when you leave the vehicle. These have been known to break, and if you are parked on a hill and the pawl breaks, disaster occurs. Use the parking brake, that is what it is for. It’s called a parking brake for a reason. Using this brake can save a lot of grief.
An Automatic Transmission is Not a Clutch & Standard Shift Combo
Downshifting to brake can cause a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on your transmission. Automatic transmissions have bands and clutches operated by hydraulic pressure. This is how they shift planetary gear systems. Manually down shifting cause abnormal stress and strains heat as well as unnecessary slippage as components cope with the process. Rebuilt transmissions are expensive, and yes rebuilt. Even dealer replacement transmissions are rebuilt or salvage. New transmissions go into new production vehicles only.
Changing Gears Before Stopping
Not stopping before shifting from forward to reverse or the opposite puts unacceptable strain that lead to early failure of the transmission or other powertrain components such as the U-joints.
Advantages of Long Commute
A moderate to long commute is better than a short commute. Engines, transmission and differentials all depend on lubricants and components that have dropped in temperature with a raise in lubricant viscosity. Short computes never give the lubricants, fluids and mechanical components time to reach operational temperature. Short computes therefore increase wear compared to longer commutes. Stress is relieved when components can operate at their designed temperature. If it’s too far to walk, ride a bike or there is no public transportation and the distance is too little to reach operating temperature you’ll just have to understand that premature failure may be experienced. It is what it is.
Transmission Fluid Check
Learn how to check fluid levels. Transmission operate with automatic transmission fluid. It cools components and is the medium used to enable gear shifting. Leakage at the rear indicates that the rear seal needs replacement. Leak from the front is the front seal, the transmission will have to pulled to provide access to the front seal. Rear seals and seals around the shifter can be replaced while the transmission is still in place.
Operating temperature is one thing, excessive heat is another. The cooling system either through the radiator or a separate external cooler must be free of foreign matter and kinks and other restrictions or loose the transmission. Excessive heat and leaks are the cause of many a transmission failure.
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Take care of your ride and it take care of you. Break any bad habits or deal with a dead tranny. Drive safe and keep to a regular maintenance schedule following the manufactures recommendations. If your car does break down due to transmission problems or other reasons, Citywide Towing Service can offer you a fast tow or roadside assistance. Contact us for fast assistance.