Automobile transmission problems are becoming more commonplace, according to a 2014 study by J.D. Power and Associates. With more and more brands exhibiting issues, it has become crucial to both thoroughly vet any vehicle you are considering and to take care of the transmission afterwards. Here are five ways that you can bring even a solid transmission to an untimely halt and how to avoid doing so:
- Not Maintaining or Repairing Your Transmission – Transmissions are notoriously expensive to replace, so repairing small issues and maintaining the component is essential. Transmission fluid should be changed on schedule so that it can continue its job of lubricating and cleaning. If you notice grinding, slow gear switching, or leaking transmission fluid, you should have the vehicle checked immediately. Paying a bit now for these things will help you avoid a massive bill later.
2. Shifting Gears while Moving – If you are trying to switch from Reverse to Drive or vice versa, and you don’t come to a complete stop before doing so, you are damaging gears in the transmission that will eventually break. Once this happens, there’s no fixing the problem and you will have to completely replace your transmission. The solution is simple: always come to a stop before shifting gears.
3. Fast Stopping and Going – As appealing as this might be to drivers who dream of becoming the next NASCAR star, it’s damaging to the transmissions of most average vehicles. This type of treatment causes the transmission to overheat, which can burn the fluid and turn it to varnish that has no hope of lubricating. It also damages components and causes your gears to start slipping. Sooner or later, fast stopping and starting will cause the transmission to fail entirely. Gradually speeding up and slowing down is an easy way to lengthen the life of your car.
4. Towing Too Much Weight – This places unnecessary strain on your transmission and is likely to make it overheat. This will cause many of the same problems as fast stopping, in addition to damaging the clutches. While these can be replaced, the job would require literally disassembling the transmission, which will cost you a ridiculous amount in labor. To avoid this eventuality, check your car’s manual to find out your maximum tow capacity and don’t go over it!
5. Flooring It When You’re Stuck in Mud, Snow or Sand – We know that getting your car stuck anywhere is frustrating, but resist the temptation to floor it when trying to liberate yourself. Not only could it be dangerous if you are putting enough pressure on the gas to be going 110 MPH and suddenly gain traction; it could also make your vehicle overheat and cause all of the related problems we mentioned before at an alarmingly fast rate. Instead, try to dig yourself out, place cat litter or cardboard underneath the tires to provide some traction, or put the car in neutral and try to push it. If all else fails, get assistance.
There are some great Lowndes County, Georgia transmission repair shops with great reviews. However, you can put off that visit until you actually need it by avoiding the above behaviors.