How to Tell When Your Car's Automatic Transmission Is Suffering


The average transmission system on a modern car is designed to last for a long time, perhaps even for the life of the vehicle. However, it's not indestructible and as an owner, you need to understand how important it is to conduct regular maintenance. Most important of all, you need to keep an eye on the fluid, as this is the most important component. What should you do, to ensure that your automatic transmission lasts as long as possible?

What You Should Be Looking for

Have a look at your owner's manual to find out where the dipstick is located on your particular automatic transmission system. It varies from vehicle to vehicle and you will need to be checking this on a regular basis. When you find the location, withdraw the dipstick and have a close inspection, to look for particular warning signs. By the way, only check when the fluid is warm, or in other words after the vehicle has been driven.

Normal Appearance

The first thing that some people may notice will be the presence of tiny black "specks," embedded within the fluid on the stick. These are minute particles of friction material that have worn away from the clutch pack. It's usual during normal driving conditions and you shouldn't worry too much.

Warning Signs

When you first pull the dipstick out is there a burnt aroma? Have a closer look; is the fluid very dark brown or even black in appearance? Look further to see if you can see any tiny metal specks. These will be different to the aforementioned friction material and will be lighter in colour. If all of these elements are present, this is a warning sign. It indicates that the transmission is likely to have suffered some internal damage, possibly because it's been a very long time since the oil itself was changed.

What to Do in This Case

Be careful how you proceed here. If there is indeed some significant damage, then what you do next may be counterintuitive. You might think that you should immediately flush out all of the old liquid and replace it, but a mechanic will tell you that this may be risky. If there is quite a lot of damage internally, then a full transmission flush could cause the entire unit to fail immediately thereafter. It's best in this case to add some fluid if the system is low, but to have a word with a mechanic to see what they recommend. It may be that you need to replace the transmission and it's far better to do this pre-emptively, than risk a complete failure on the road.

Proceeding When Normal

If, when you look at the dipstick everything appears to be relatively normal, then by all means schedule a visit to your mechanic for a full system flush. Some people need to do this annually, especially if they put a lot of miles on their vehicle. 


31 May 2017

Servicing my car as a disabled person

I rely a lot of my car as I am a paraplegic. I can only drive a car that has specially modified with wheel controls, so it's very important that I get my car serviced by a company that knows what it is doing. I also need my car to be serviced quickly as I am very limited in how much I can get around without it. This blog has some tips on how to find a car servicing company that will suit you if driving a disability-modified car. I hope it will be useful to other people with disabilities who rely on their cars as much as me.