DO’s and DON’Ts of Transmissions

pexels-photo-100647Transmissions have a finite life span, yet most people do little to maintain their transmission. Even when manufacturers suggest changing the fluid every 30-40,000 miles, few people make it happen. Worse yet are the little things people should avoid doing that shorten the life of a transmission.

Here are a few insights…

DO follow your manufacturers recommended service interval. The property of the fluid breaks down over time. The fluid will eventually turn to a varnish and lose its ability to lubricate. Stay in front of this issue by checking your fluid levels regularly.

A typical transmission service involves removing the transmission oil pan, cleaning and inspecting the pan for the presence of metal shavings, replacing the pan gasket and filling with clean fresh fluid.

DON’T keep your gas pedal on the floor when going up a long, steep incline. This is especially true when carrying a great load than normal or towing a trailer. Traveling up a steep hill puts a lot of stress on a transmission, which turns to heat, which can overheat your transmission.

Check your owner’s manual to make sure you don’t exceed the tow weight limit. This is critical in hilly areas. The heat of driving through the desert can also play a role in how fast the transmission heats up.

DON’T switch to the latest fluid. Synthetics take longer to breakdown than organic fluids from heat and are therefore pushed by many repair companies. However, most people are unaware that there are almost two-dozen types of transmission fluid to choose from and the only one to be used is recommended in the auto manual. This will avoid many secondary problems.

DON’T replace a dead transmission with a rebuilt one. Instead replace it with a remanufactured one, which are better than the original. Remanufactured transmissions receive the benefit of additional lessons learned. The update kits also include smoother shifting and longer lasting parts. The quality is high enough that Hi-Tech puts its extended warranty on the product.

DO come to a complete stop before backing up. Shifting into drive from reverse or visa versa before the car comes to a complete stop can chip, crack or break gears and severely damage the transmission. These types of repairs are costly because the transmission must be removed from the vehicle and disassembled.

DO set your emergency brake when parking on an incline. Set the emergency brake before shifting the transmission into park. This puts the car’s weight on the brake rather than on the transmission.

However, using the brake after several years of non-use might cause a new problem. The brake line is similar to a bike brake line in that the center core is pulled inside of a shell to set the brake, but if it hasn’t been used for years, it may not slide back to its starting position if rust blocks the line. Rusted lines are easily replaced, so its more important to make sure your car doesn’t roll back and hit someone else’s car than being worried about it not popping back to its starting position.

DON’T spin your wheels when stuck in snow. Shifting back and forth between drive and reverse to rock out of a slick area only increases the heat. In fact, it only takes a few minutes of unrestricted spinning to burn out a transmission. All too often people think they’re getting close to freeing their car so they extend past the five minute mark, only to find out the transmission dies 2-3 days later.

DO consider an external transmission cooler. Consider installing a cooler if you regularly drive in the desert, pull lots of loads or drive in mountainous conditions.

The end result of following these insights will be a longer lasting transmission.

Copyright © 2016 Hi-Tech Automotive Specialists, Inc.


About CJ Powers

CJ is an author and speaker.
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