Transmission Tips to Improve Lifetime and Performance
Maintenance Advice to Avoid Damage and Major Transmission Repairs
This Automatic Transmission Removed from a 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer 4.2 Requires Disassembly to Repair Damaged Hard Parts.
Use Emergency Brake
Using your emergency brake while the vehicle is parked will help to avoid undue wear on your transmission (this is even more important if you are parked on an incline). Your emergency brake is designed to hold the weight of the vehicle, however, when you do not engage it, the vehicle weight is placed on the parking pawls. To be
effective, you must engage the E-brake when you stop the vehicle before you shift into park.
Transmission Service Recommendations
Regular transmission service is the most important step you can take to prolong the life and improve the performance of your auto transmission. There are many different types of transmissions on the road today which operate differently, are composed of different parts, and are designed to be serviced at intervals which vary greatly between makes and models. It is imperative to follow the manufacturer transmission service recommendations for your specific make and model of vehicle. If you have questions regarding the recommendations for your car, truck or SUV, an Auto Service Experts automotive consultant will be happy to provide you with manufacturer specifications and advice.
Transmission Fluid Level & Condition
Always use the proper fluid type for your vehicle, substituting fluid other than the manufacturer recommended type can cause major transmission problems. The level and condition of fluid should be checked on a routine basis. Over filling the fluid can cause shifting problems and damage components just like under filling can. Checking under the vehicle for signs of leakage can be a helpful way to catch a transmission fluid leak before the fluid level becomes dangerously low. When checking to ensure the proper fluid level, you should also note the fluid condition. Dirty, contaminated, or burnt smelling transmission fluid are all signs of the need for service or repair. If left unaddressed, fluid in poor condition can cause major damage to the system.
Observe Manufacturer Recommended Towing and Weight Limits
One of the surest ways to cause transmission failure is to exceed weight or towing limits recommended for your car or truck. This causes much more strain on the system than it is designed to operate under. Placing the system under excess stress causes the transmission to overheat which will quickly lead to your vehicle requiring a complete transmission rebuild or replacement. Hauling too much weight under strenuous driving conditions such as stop and go traffic or on steep inclines will cause it to wear out even faster. When you are towing or carrying a heavy load, do not use overdrive.
Use an Auxiliary Transmission Oil Cooler
If you regularly tow or haul excess vehicle weight, you may want to consider investing in an external cooler to help avoid transmission overheating and prevent damage caused by excess heat building up in the system.
Shifting Between Reverse and Drive
Bring the vehicle to a full stop prior to shifting from reverse to drive. Failure to completely stop between backing up and shifting to forward drive causes major damage to internal transmission components. This is a common cause of broken or cracked gears which can be costly to repair. Repairing transmission hard parts requires complete removal and disassembly of the system, and is quite labor intensive.
Warm Up the Vehicle Before Shifting the Transmission Into Gear
When outside temperatures are low, allow your vehicle to warm up sufficiently before shifting it into gear.
Don't Manually Shift Automatic Transmissions
Automatic Transmissions are designed to calculate the amount of weight and speed of the vehicle, and automatically shift at the proper RPM. When you manually shift an AT at improper RPMs, you place more stress on the system which can cause the clutch or gears to wear out before they should.
Don't Spin Your Wheels
Avoid high-performance starts. Similarly, if your vehicle gets stuck in mud or sand, do not spin the wheels, or rapidly shift between D and R to get it out. Spinning your vehicle's wheels can quickly cause the transmission to overheat and may lead to serious damage. Overheating accounts for up to 90% of transmission failures!
Have an Inline Transmission Filter Installed
An additional transmission fluid filter can be installed directly into the cooler line to help prevent contaminants, abrasive particles, or metal shavings from damaging internal components. To be effective, a cooler line filter must be installed when the system is working properly and has clean fluid, the best time would be right after having your transmission serviced. Installing this when you are already experiencing transmission problems or the fluid is already contaminated can cause further issues and clog the system.
Your auto cooling system is responsible for keeping the engine cool, as well as cooling transmission fluid. An improperly functioning cooling system can allow excess heat to build up and lead to transmission fluid oxidation.
Because your car's transmission and engine work closely together, poor engine performance leads to undue stress on the transmission as well.