Why transmission servicing is so important
Replacing a transmission, whether automatic or manual, can be an expensive repair making servicing vital. The transmission transfers power from the engine to the wheels to move the vehicle in the desired direction. Automatic transmissions are designed to make driving easier through a more complex design. Automatic transmissions include complex circuitry and complex electronic functions. This leaves more room for failures and points of failure than a simpler manual transmission.
How long does an automatic transmission last? Time and mileage vary depending on the driver and how they use or abuse the transmission. However, a typical automatic transmission can last between 300,000 km or about 7 years. Cases exist at both extremes; Extreme durability and early failure.
Many car owners inadvertently ignore the condition of their transmission until it’s too late.
Regularly Service Your Transmission:
Either on your own, assuming you’re very experienced in car maintenance, or by hiring a mechanic to change the oil and filter in the transmission. As with oil changes, refer to the manufacturer’s specifications for exact service intervals. Newer vehicles also require their automatic transmission to be cleaned of deposits and debris every 2 years or so.
Regularly Check Your Transmission Fluid:
Transmission fluid is designed to carry heat away from the internal components of the transmission and away from moving parts. A low fluid level can cause the transmission to overheat and cause permanent damage. This should be checked regularly with the engine running. Before changing, use the transmission fluid type recommended in the owner’s manual.
Use Synthetic Transmission Fluid:
Heat eventually breaks down the organic compounds in conventional automatic transmission fluids, making them less efficient. Over time, a more heat-resistant synthetic oil will benefit your automatic transmission. This is especially useful for those who frequently drive in heavy loads, traffic or mountains.
Invest in a Transmission Cooler:
Heat is the enemy of transmission. Damage accumulates over time due to prolonged exposure to heat on gaskets, metal surfaces, and electronic parts. Whenever the temperature in the transmission exceeds 200 degrees, every 20 degrees cuts the service life in half. A transmission cooler can significantly reduce operating temperatures and more than double wear time.
Practice Conservative Driving:
Good driving practices can extend the life of an automatic transmission. Aggressive driving from a stationary position can increase heat as well as constant acceleration and deceleration. More relaxed driving can reduce the strain on the gearbox and on yourself. The transmission fluid is thicker in cold weather and does not move as efficiently from bottom to top. Let it warm up so that the friction protection works better. Also, while it may be tempting to pull out of a parking lot or make a quick three-point turn, bring the car to a complete stop before shifting gears to avoid damaging the internal gears.
Make sure you find a qualified mechanic to diagnose any suspected automatic transmission problems, to save you time and money in the long run. Contact us today to organise your next transmission service.