- Car Care & Maintenance
How to Keep Your Automatic Transmission Lasting for Years
It is an inevitable fact that automatic transmission is far more preferable than the manual transmission especially when there are traffic jams. In fact, this is why most of today’s cars are manufactured featuring this kind of transmissions. However, there are actually some quite unfortunate facts that exist behind the comfort that such a transmission can offer. If you have a car with automatic transmission, you will have to face the fact that it is the least reliable part among the rest of your car and may even cost you an arm and a leg should something go wrong with it. Even worse, whether you like it or not, if there are some little defects that happen to the transmission, you car may happen to go forward even with the shifter put in the Neutral position. Or, it may still roll even after you have placed your shifter in Park. As a result, your car may crash.
It is often the case that most people – hopefully you are not one of them – tend to forget how necessary it is for them to take care of their automatic transmission. This is often because they get spoilt by the comfort that it offers. However, if you want to keep the automatic transmission of your car lasting for years, here are quite a few things you should at least try to do.
First, you need to know possible causes of a damaged automatic transmission. The top factor that damages this kind of transmissions most often turns out to be overheating. There are various causes for overheating. Those that tend to accelerate and brake their car often under the hot weather will usually end up with overheating. Other causes may include restricted or dirty radiator grille, damaged water pump, insufficient coolant, and putting heavy load to the transmission – say, towing a trailer – among other causes to mention. Additionally, it is also highly recommended that you do not rev up your car engine or slam the gas pedal. If you do, it will only give the automatic transmission excessive heat.
At this point of time, you may be asking how overheating actually damages your car’s transmission. Well, your transmission uses fluid and when the temperature gets too high, it burns. When the fluid burns, the lubrication quality degrades and it will get oxidized. As a result, there will be deposits spread everywhere inside the transmission system. Then, if heat manages to get in, the rubber seals and also gaskets that are located inside the transmission will harden leading to leakage. Unfortunately, the leakage will warp and weaken the metal. Eventually, you will have to spend quite a fortune to repair the transmission.
However, you also need to keep in mind that overheating is only one among various factors that may decrease the lifespan of your car’s automatic transmission. Repairs carried out by inexperienced or untrained mechanics, insufficient care and poor manufacturer design are a few examples to name.
When you have found out what may possibly damage your car’s transmission, it is now time to watch out for any possible leakages, to start with. If you happen to notice any leakages, even if it does not come from the transmission itself, it is highly recommended that you consult the trained professionals right away. Remember that any leakages may cause harm or even death to you or anyone riding with you in your car.
The next thing to do is to change the fluid. If the fluid tends to be in dirty brown rather than red color, this may indicate that it is time for a change. Check the owner’s manual provided with your car when you first bought it to make sure how often you should change the fluid. Always remember that a cleaner transmission system is the key to a smoother car driving.
Next, you should put in your mind that overdrive is there for a purpose. Overdrive is the highest gear for all automatic transmission systems in existence to date. Although some cars may make use of the overdrive automatically, some others may require you to activate them manually. Overdrive is meant to decrease the car engine’s revolutions per minute (rpm) when you are driving at a considerably high speed. This also saves your fuel consumption to a certain degree.
One last very important thing you need to do is to shift at the proper time. Never try to place the shifter lever in either Parking or Reverse position unless your car has completely come to a standstill. Also, you need to step on the brake pedal thoroughly if you are about to shift from the parking position to any other gears.
© 2011 Richie Setiawan. All rights reserved worldwide.