When you get in your car, turn the key, and everything runs smoothly, it’s easy to forget how many moving pieces are in your vehicle. But when your engine fires up and you hear noises, or your car runs rougher than normal, that’s when the questions begin.
- What’s wrong?
- Will I get safely to my final destination?
- Is it something I can live with, or do I need to bring it into the shop right away?
Some things are easily remedied. Others, every time you start and move your car, you risk further damaging parts and systems.
Most cars on the road today have an automatic transmission. That means your car automatically switches gears as you increase and decrease your speed, without having to manually shift to get there. It allows you to focus on the road instead of worrying about what gear you’re in. Suffice to say, your transmission is an important system to make your car run properly.
Like other parts on your car, wear and tear can take its toll on the transmission. Eventually, it will stop working and leave you stranded unless it receives proper care along the way.
How do you know if your transmission is failing?
- Your transmission is slipping – Listen to your car as it switches gears. Does it feel like it’s changing gears at the wrong time?
- Shift sticking – Is it increasingly harder to move out of park, to reverse, and to drive? If it feels like the gears are sticking, it’s a sign your transmission is failing.
- Transmission fluid leak – Your transmission fluid should never leak. If you notice fluid beneath your car when you drive away, that’s a sign that it’s time for maintenance.
Like any other vehicle problem, the first step is having one of our repair technicians diagnose the problem and determine if parts can be repaired, or if they will need replacement.
Repair is easier and will take less time. Often, parts can be replaced quite easily, and you can drive away knowing you’ve stopped the problem in its tracks, and you’ll have many more miles down the road before you need to replace them altogether.
But in some cases, the damage is so severe, replacement is your only option. While transmissions can last a long time, they aren’t infallible. Other parts within the system fail too, causing more severe problems. In this case, your best course of action is to replace the transmission.
How long does it take to replace a transmission?
Even the sound of it makes you shake your head with worry. How can you go days without a car? What are your options while your car is in the shop?
The good news is quite often, it doesn’t take more than a day or two to replace a transmission. Of course, it depends on the model and make of your car, and the type of transmission it is. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle that’s commonplace on the road, plan on being without your vehicle at least a day or two. If you have a front-wheel drive, the process can take longer as it’s quite labor-intensive. Estimate up to three to four days to ensure you give yourself plenty of time.
Better yet, stop by. The best way to get an estimate of how long it will take to replace a transmission is for us to see what type of vehicle you’re driving. Only then can we give you an accurate picture of how long it will take.
How often should I change my transmission fluid?
What makes your transmission run effectively is the transmission fluid. Transmission fluid is a slippery liquid that helps lubricate the gears. With an automatic transmission, it also acts as a coolant, and transmits power from the engine to the transmission.
Transmission isn’t as commonplace as gas or oil. You don’t replace it on a regular basis, such as with motor oil or windshield washer fluid. But it is part of routine maintenance for your vehicle, to ensure it has the longest life possible.
Most manufacturers of cars with manual transmissions suggest replacement of transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Manufacturers of vehicles with automatic transmissions suggest 60,000 to 100,000. In some cases, the transmission fluid never has to be replaced at all – doing so will actually cause more harm than good.
The biggest reason it should be changed is because of contamination over time. Every time you use your car, the systems kick into gear. Bearings and gears move and rotate. Parts start to wear out. Microscopic pieces of metal infiltrate the transmission oil, and shorten the life of your transmission. If the fluid isn’t clean, it can’t do its job as effectively as it did when it was new. Each piece corrodes the fluid a little bit more, until damage of other parts begins.
If you don’t change it regularly, you will shorten the transmission’s life. If you aren’t sure when it was last replaced, a good place to start is with a maintenance visit, where we check your entire system and make sure everything is operating in good condition. It will ensure that you can drive safely in the near future, and that every part is operating as it should.
Note: Transmission fluid isn’t like motor oil. Transmission fluid doesn’t burn up. If you are low on transmission fluid, you have a leak somewhere in the system. It’s time to fix it to avoid potential problems.
Know your options
There are a lot of ways to proceed when it’s time to replace your transmission. Your first choice isn’t always to install a new one. In some cases, rebuilding is a perfect solution. Replacing just part of the system can have you back on the road as good as new.
The key is to find a good repair shop to help you make your decision. We understand your transmission going out probably wasn’t in your budget plans.
We can give you all of your options and help you make the right choice for your situation. Our goal is to get you back on the road safely, and ensure your vehicle is in good condition. We’ll give you great advice, and help you make the right decision.
Stop by today for a free estimate. We look forward to working with you.