What You Need to Know About Your Car's Transmission

What You Need to Know About Your Car’s Transmission

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Your car’s transmission can be a complex system.  Unlike other areas of the vehicle such as the engine, fluids, tires, wiper or filters, many people do not know much about the transmission.  Most people do not handle maintenance or repairs on their own and instead leave it up to the experts like those at Mr. Transmission.

However, the more you know about your car and how it operates, the better prepared you will be if a problem arises.  Here are some of the basics about a vehicle’s transmission system and what you need to do to get the most out of your car.

Your car’s engine creates power, and that power goes the transmission, and the transmission then doles out the power to the axles that turn and rotate the car’s wheels. The automatic transmission is a little like an orchestra conductor, making sure the electrical and mechanical systems, not to mention the hydraulics and computer processors are all working in concert together.  The bottom line is that without the transmission, your car doesn’t run.

What’s the difference between a manual transmission and an automatic transmission? In a nutshell, a manual transmission requires the driver to manually change gear ratios. When you hear people talking about a stick shift, that type of car has a manual transmission.  An automatic transmission means that the gears shift automatically, without you needing to do anything. Your automatic transmission fluid allows that to happen (although, yes, manual transmissions have and need transmission fluid, too).

On the subject of transmission fluid – what is it and why is it is important?

The transmission wouldn’t run without the transmission fluid, so, it is vital to your car’s performance. Transmission fluid allows the transmission to stay cool and lubricated. Much like your car’s engine would be damaged without oil, your transmission desperately needs transmission fluid to work.

The good news for drivers is that transmission fluid doesn’t need to be changed nearly as often as other fluids, like oil. But if you drive your car long enough, your transmission fluid will need to be changed. If you do a lot of hard braking in the city, or if you’re pulling trailers – in other words, if you work your car hard, it may need more changing than usual. But generally, many car manuals will suggest that the transmission fluid needs to be changed every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. That said, some newer cars don’t need it until you’ve driven 100,000 miles, so, in some cases, you may never need to change it, if you’re someone who tends to not keep your cars for a shorter amount of time. Still, check your manual and talk to your local Mr. Transmission professional. If you have an older vehicle and put a lot of wear and tear on your car, you may need it every 15,000 miles.

What happens if the transmission fluid isn’t changed? Worst case scenario: If you never changed it, and you drove your car indefinitely, your transmission fluid – which should be bright red -- would probably start to get dirty, which would contaminate the fluid. That can lead to damaging your transmission, which can lead to other problems with your engine and the rest of your car.

It is also important to keep an eye on possible leaks from your transmission system. If you notice a red stain under your car, it is most likely a leak, and you should bring it into Mr. Transmission right away. Worst-case scenario: Your transmission fluid eventually completely leaks out and that could end up damaging or destroying your car’s transmission.

If you take your car into your nearest Mr. Transmission, our professionals will make sure your vehicle’s transmission system is properly performing.  Knowing the basics of your car’s transmission is helpful in getting the most out of your vehicle.

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