A car is becoming increasingly important to our daily needs. However, not many of us are aware of the internal workings of the car. This leads to a complete black out when our car starts throwing issues. Hence it is important to understand some basic auto transmission problems that can cause abnormal functioning of the car. Understanding these problems can also help in determining the kind of repair required and the associated repair charge.
Car transmission is the part that goes through the maximum wear and tear owing to the fact that it controls and transmits power from the engine to the driveshaft. Hence it is a good idea to check for transmission issues if your car gears are causing problems. Also, since it is a complex system, it is also quite expensive to replace. Hence, identifying issues with transmission early and repairing them can save quite a bit of expense.
CAR TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS
A common transmission issue is transmission oil or fluid leakage. Due to its obvious nature, fluid leaks can be easily detected. There is Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) that is present in all transmission systems to lubricate and clean the engine. ATF also acts as the hydraulic fluid and transfers power from engine to the driveshaft. This fluid is dark red or brown in color and can be easily distinguished from motor oil.
Transmission fluid leaks can be identified by dark red pots on the driveway. In case such spots are found, a thick paper or cardboard can be placed under the front of the car in the middle to check if there are any active leaks. When the transmission fluid leaks, its level reduces in the engine causing various problems like slipping of transmission, which is, the gear changing without you doing them or the rpm’s increase but the speed of the car does not increase. Clearly, the power from the engine is not reaching the driveshaft.
Whether a car can be driven to a garage or will require to be towed depends on the extent to which the fluid has leaked. The procedure for checking the level of transmission fluid remaining in the car varies from model to model. But the most common method to check the level is pulling out the dipstick. The car manual generally contains all details regarding how the level of transmission liquid can be checked and hence it is best to refer to them before getting to work.
If only little of the fluid has leaked, the car can be driven to the nearest garage to have the leakage fixed. However if the fluid level is very low, it is best to get the car towed to the garage. Driving a car with very low transmission fluid level can lead to the car stopping and not starting again anywhere on the road. It can also cause the leaked liquid to enter other parts of the car and damage them as well, which can become a bigger issue and cost more to resolve.
Sometimes, fluid leakages can also reveal some more problems in the transmission. Transmission too collects residue and gunk during its regular wear and tear process. As a result, the transmission fluid begins to turn dark brown and can also have a burnt smell. In such a case, it becomes necessary to clean the transmission and remove the residue and gunk. This is done through a process called Transmission flushing.
Transmission flushing, as the name suggests is the process of pushing out or flushing out all the residue and gunk built up in the transmission over high pressure. Special machines are used to apply high pressure and flush out the old transmission fluid along with all the contaminants and debris. Sometimes, even cleaning agents are pressured into the transmission to ensure all the gunk stuck in it can be removed. After the cleaning, the transmission is refilled with new transmission fluid.
Transmission flush is not performed only when there is a leakage of the transmission fluid. It is also performed as a regular preventive measure to keep the transmission away from bigger issues since replacement of transmission can be extremely expensive.
TRANSMISSION FLUSH COST
The cost varies for filling up of leaked fluid, replacing fluid, and transmission flush. Refilling leaked fluid costs depend entirely on the amount of fluid lost that needs to be re-filled. Hence leaked fluids can be refilled for as low as $20. Replacing the fluids entirely requires anywhere from $40 to $90 if done by oneself. But for those who are not very familiar with the process, it is recommended to get a fluid change done at a garage. In such a case, there is additional labor charge that is applied to the cost of the fluid. Hence fluid replacement at a garage can cost anywhere from $80 -$150 depending on the quantity of the fluid used and the labor charges.
Transmission flush can be a little more expensive since it requires specialized machinery and cleaning agents to remove all debris from transmission and hence cannot be done on your own. Including the costs of cleaning agents, labor charges, cost of new fluids etc. Transmission flush can cost $125 to $250 all-in.
These cost of transmission fluid repair, change and flush are much lower than the cost of replacing a transmission and are a worthy investment in keeping your car’s transmission clean and safe. While the repairs need to be done as and when required, it is also a good idea to read through the owner’s manual to know how frequently these maintenance activities should be undertaken to ensure that the car runs trouble-free for long.
Small signs like in and out jerking gears or poor pick up communicate that the transmission needs attention and ignoring the could mean bigger problems in the future. Hence it is good to listen to your car so that smooth rides can be enjoyed, drive after drive.