Your vehicle’s transmission can be a real head-scratcher? What does that do again? In the simplest terms, your transmission changes gears in a way similar to the way that a multi-speed bicycle changes gears…only with more moving parts.
A Transmission Gives Power When and Where It Is Needed…Ideally
Ask an auto mechanic what your transmission actually does and you’ll likely get a more complicated explanation that goes something like this: Your transmission basically lets the gear ratio in your vehicle tell the engine and the drive wheels to alter speed as you press down or let up on the accelerator.
So, how is that similar to a bicycle? If you put your bike in too high of a gear to start off, you’ll have a very hard time getting to the right speed. If the gear is too low, you wouldn’t be putting the right amount of energy into each peddle. If your chain is off, then forget about it! Just like a car transmission, all of the parts need to be working together to deliver the right amount of power.
The transmission in your vehicle is meant to give the right amount of power at the right time. An automatic transmission will, well, automatically synchronize the engine speed to the wheel speed and thereby increase torque. That gets you where to go as efficiently as possible…except when it doesn’t.
Problems with Your Transmission? Here are Symptoms to Look For
Like other complex vehicle parts, your vehicle’s transmission needs the right kind of transmission fluid and regular maintenance from an auto mechanic to perform at its best.
Contaminants or water can enter your transmission and wreak havoc. Then again, the root cause of transmission problems could be gradual wear-and-tear damage or a worn-out clutch.
The only way to be sure is to take your vehicle to an ASE-certified auto mechanic to have it checked out. You might be clued into some kind of transmission problem before you actually know what’s gone awry under the hood, though.
The first tell-tale sign that your transmission is on the fritz is a weird humming noise when your vehicle is in neutral. More grinding when you attempt to change gears but instead keep the clutch engaged is a surefire sign that your transmission needs to be inspected by an experienced auto mechanic.
A transmission that won’t stay in the gear that you set and instead slips back into neutral or goes to another gear while you’re on the road would also be an indication that your transmission needs an inspection, if not repairs.
High RPM at Low Speeds
If you also get a lag when you attempt to change gears, or you notice your RPM is through the roof at a relatively modest speed, then you might have a transmission issue on your hands.
Any time that the RPM on your dash gets too close to redlining at slower speeds or gets hot and bothered about any gear change at all, your transmission should be suspect number one. Part of the transmission’s job is ensuring the engine doesn’t overheat.
A Burnt Smell
The last clue that your transmission needs work should probably be left to an auto mechanic to judge. Low fluid levels could be harming your clutch, producing a bad smell, and causing problems with your transmission.
An Experienced Auto Mechanic Can Repair or Replace
Changing your transmission fluid, and flushing out the contaminants, might be recommended by an auto mechanic along with a filter change before sending you back on your way.
If your transmission simply needs new bands or gaskets, then the repairs could be very quick and easy. Problems with the clutch or internal shafts could be more involved and require your transmission to be removed in order to properly diagnose and repair the issue.
Transmission problems typically don’t get better on their own. If you suspect a transmission issue, schedule an appointment with All Around Auto Repair right away.