As a driver, there is nothing worse than breakdowns. From your car not starting as usual to the sudden loss of power on the road, vehicle issues can be a headache at best, and a costly nightmare at worst.
One of the most critical elements of any vehicle is the transmission. Whether you operate an automatic or manual transmission, this vital and complex piece of machinery helps ensure that you safely and efficiently make it to your destination. From changing gears to regulating your engine's operations, the transmission is responsible for keeping all parts of a vehicle cooperating day in and day out.
Here are four of the top transmission mistakes you should avoid making to continue enjoying your driving experience.
Breaking It Down Before a Breakdown
When it comes to responsible car care, knowledge is power. Before you face a costly repair due to transmission issues, consider taking into account the following list of standard maintenance tips for avoiding a breakdown:
- Remember to check and change the transmission fluid at the dealer's recommended intervals.
- Consider choosing synthetic transmission fluid to help your vehicle better utilize fluid in various conditions.
- Always tow at the proper weight.
- Come to a complete stop prior to switching gears.
- Change your transmission filter (if possible) at each service.
While these precautions can help you avoid costly repairs and replacements, there are four main transmission mistakes to avoid to increase the life of your transmission — and your vehicle:
1. Never Ignore Possible Transmission Problems
When it comes to your transmission, many common issues can be noticed by simply paying attention. If your vehicle's performance changes or become weak, you need to act soon to avoid a bigger problem. Many problems that could be easily handled when found early can snowball into costly issues if ignored.
Clunking noises, strange smells, or shaking while driving are clear signs of a potential problem. Seek professional automotive services immediately. Similarly, watch for any issues when shifting, as these are also a sign of transmission issues.
2. Always Handle Transmission Fluid Properly
Transmission fluid — the liquid that keeps your transmission working smoothly — is vital for ensuring a long life for your transmission. When not monitored, changed, or replaced correctly, transmission fluid can lead to your transmission operating poorly or breaking down completely.
Low transmission fluid levels can lead to overheating and dangerous friction in the mechanical elements of the transmission due to insufficient lubrication. Similarly, installing the wrong type of transmission fluid can damage your transmission. To ensure that your transmission is serviced properly, use a qualified mechanic or transmission expert when changing or filling up your transmission fluid. Regularly check your fluid levels to avoid significant repair costs down the road.
3. Never Miss A Recommended Maintenance
The transmission of your vehicle may not need to be checked and maintained as frequently as other parts of your vehicle, but that does not mean you can ignore your transmission's health until symptoms occur.
Like a health checkup, your transmission needs to be seen by a professional mechanic on a consistent basis. From regular maintenance checks to complete fluid changes, ensuring that your transmission is running smoothly can only happen by keeping up with maintenance. Never skip your transmission checks when getting your oil changed or taking care of other car maintenance. Doing so may cause you to miss vital transmission repairs and shorten your vehicle's life should something unexpected occur.
4. Never Try To DIY
You may be tempted to do-it-yourself when it comes to repairing or maintaining your transmission. There are countless websites and YouTube videos online that feature step by step guides on how to handle many common transmission issues. Unfortunately, unless you are a trained professional, it is unwise to attempt to repair your transmission. Too much money is on the line with the complexity and cost of repairing, rebuilding or replacing a transmission.
A licensed and experienced transmission mechanic can walk you through every step of your maintenance or repair work. Not only can they save you money in the long run. A professional can point out other issues related to your transmission as well as driving habits, such as switching gears before stopping that may contribute to problems with your transmission. Protect your transmission by always reaching out to a professional when it comes to transmission repairs.
Save Yourself Time & Money With Proper Transmission Care
Many common issues can quickly spiral into an unpleasant experience if you don't take the time to care for your transmission. By avoiding the list above, you can save yourself valuable time and money in the long run.
We're Here to Help
AAMCO has more than 50 years of experience servicing and repairing transmissions and has worked on more than 20 million vehicles. Customers rely on us for:
- Quality workmanship
- Superior service
- Best warranty coverage available
- Trustworthy, honest service
AAMCO Centers of Southern California and surrounding areas represent trust, quality, and value. Call us today!