Just like that of a manual transmission, the automatic transmission’s primary job is to allow the engine to operate in its narrow range of speeds while providing a wide range of output speeds.
Without a transmission, cars would be limited to one gear ratio and that ratio would have to be selected to allow the car to travel at the desired top speed. A car like this would wear out very quickly and would be very difficult to drive.
The transmission uses gears to make more effective use of the engine’s torque, and to keep the engine operating at an appropriate speed. When towing or hauling heavy objects, your vehicle’s transmission can get hot enough to burn up the transmission fluid. In order to protect the transmission from serious damage, drivers who tow should buy vehicles equipped with transmission coolers.
The key difference between a manual and an automatic transmission is that the manual transmission locks and unlocks different sets of gears to the output shaft to achieve the various gear ratios, while in an automatic transmission, the same set of gears produces all of the different gear ratios. The planetary gearset is the device that makes this possible in an automatic transmission.
Most manufactures recommend changing automatic transmission fluid every 30,000 miles. Consult your owners manual or ask your All Tune service advisor when your vehicles fluid should be changed. Remember, this is a general rule and driving conditions can affect this interval.
TEN WAYS TO PROLONG THE LIFE OF YOUR TRANSMISSION
- Check transmission fluid regularly and properly.
- Check transmission fluid after running hot. Stop and go traffic, hilly terrain, hot weather, or towing can build up excess transmission heat causing fluid to be lost, damaged, or both.
- Install an external cooler in high stress conditions. Towing a trailer, hauling heavy loads, or being stuck in traffic often creates excessive transmission heat. An external transmission cooler will help to bring the temperature down to normal operating level adding significantly to the life of the transmission.
- Change transmission fluid more often in high stress conditions. Transmission fluid cools, cleans, and lubricates the internal transmission parts while providing the hydraulic pressure to make all of the components work together. When the fluid loses its ability to perform those tasks efficiently trouble can’t be far away.
- Check any malfunctions promptly. Repair bills tend to rise in proportion to mileage driven after the first signs of trouble. The longer you drive with a malfunctioning transmission, the more damage you may cause, and the more money it may cost you.
- Have the transmission linkage and other adjustments checked periodically.
- Keep your engine properly tuned. A poor running engine can, at times, display symptoms similar to a transmission problem.
- Have other drive train components that may affect transmission function checked regularly.
- Have your vehicle’s cooling system checked twice a year for leaks, proper coolant level and strength. Antifreeze can deteriorate over time causing it to become ineffective creating overheating or freeze-up conditions. Additionally, most vehicles use the engine cooling system to also cool the transmission fluid.
- Take your vehicle for a complete physical check up at least once a year. This should include all safety components such as lights, brakes and steering. Remember that a poor running engine or certain transmission problems can be a safety hazard. Technicians at All Tune are trained to look for abnormal wear conditions at every visit.
WANT YOUR TRANSMISSION TO LIVE LONGER? HERE ARE TEN THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT DO
- Don’t Leave The Shift Lever In Park (P) Without The Parking Brake On. If another vehicle were to even tap yours in the front or back while parked it could cause a part inside your transmission (the parking pawl) to break leaving your vehicle to roll down the street unattended.
- Don’t Downshift To “Brake” At Traffic Lights. A forced downshift at high engine RPM causes excessive wear on transmission friction components (clutches and bands).
- Don’t Place Shift Lever in Drive or Reverse when engine is at “Fast Idle”.
- Don’t Treat Your car like a Drag Car.
- Don’t Use Your Shift Lever Instead of Your Brake. Before reversing direction, your car must be at a complete stop.
- Don’t Rock Your Car in Sand or Snow. Dig it out or have it towed. Both are less expensive than the damage you may cause by quick shifting between Reverse (R) and Drive (D) over and over again. The excessive heat that is caused by such action can burn out a transmission in a very short period of time.
- Don’t Drive Until The Engine Warms Up. For your transmission to perform properly, the fluid must be at operating temperature. Give it a few minutes and it will give you better and longer service.
- Don’t Let Anyone Tow Your Vehicle With The Drive Wheels on the Ground.
- Don’t Stop Suddenly. Like fast starts, sudden stops can damage drivetrain components, like engine and transmission mounts.
Don’t Play Transmission “Doctor”. Let your All Tune professionals handle any concerns you might have with your transmission.