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Five Tips for Maintaining Your Automatic Transmission

After the engine, your transmission is the second most important system, and it’s also a big-ticket item if it needs repairs. In the simplest of terms, your car’s transmission changes the gears of the engine as your car picks up speed and slows down. If the transmission fails, your engine won’t run. This makes it essential to maintain your automatic transmission and keep it in good working order. Check out these tips to maintain your transmission.

automatic transmission functioning properly due to regular maintenance

Tips for Maintaining Your Automatic Transmission

A few small changes in the way you operate your motor vehicle can make a big difference for your transmission.

  1. Routinely check your transmission fluid. Your fluid should be bright red and smell sweet. If it’s a muddy color or smells off, it’s time to get a transmission specialist to take a look at it.
  2. Flush your transmission. Take your car into the shop once a year to have your transmission flushed. If your car overheats or you do a lot of driving, you might consider having it flushed more often.
  3. Never change gears while driving. If you need to put the car in reverse, you should come to a complete stop. Changing gears while the car is in motion can damage your transmission.
  4. Change your transmission filter. Like your oil filter, your transmission filter can get clogged with debris and cause damage to your transmission. Have your transmission filter changed regularly to avoid costly repairs.
  5. Annual transmission inspection. Once a year, you should have a certified mechanic inspect your transmission to ensure it’s in good working order. They can check your fluid and identify any issues before they become larger, more expensive problems.

If your car is due for an annual inspection, or you think you might have an issue with your transmission, our technicians at Custom Complete Automotive are ready to help. We take pride in providing you with outstanding service and repairs. Contact us today for more information.

Why Regular Transmission Maintenance is Essential

Car maintenance isn’t the most fun part of owning a car, but it’s as essential as taking care of your health. If your vehicle isn’t taken care of, it can’t take care of you and getting you to where you need to be. By keeping up with regular maintenance, you can avoid potentially costly issues down the road.

regularly maintained manual transmission in car

Your Car’s Transmission

The transmission of a car works to deliver power to your car’s wheels. It’s the part that helps it go, essentially. You might have an automatic, manual, or one that is continuously variable.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance on your transmission can help prevent more significant problems. For all cars, you should check your fluid levels at least twice a year. This is important because transmission fluid is what lubricates the moving parts of your transmission so that it works to the best of its ability. Depending on how you use your car, fluid will need to be replaced, on average, every 15,000 – 30,000 miles or so. At the same time, you should also inspect and adjust the clutch pedal if you drive a car with a manual transmission. The cost to do this maintenance is minimal compared to the damage that could be caused if it’s not done.

Getting a Transmission Flush

For all vehicles, getting it inspected to flush the transmission and top off the fluids is recommended based on your car’s user manual, usually somewhere between 30,000 – 60,000 miles. Some mechanics may recommend more often depending on how rough you are on your car, but usually, your transmission will only need to be flushed at most three to four times in its lifetime. A flush is the process of draining your old fluid, cleaning the transmission, and adding new fluid back in.

Signs Your Transmission is Going Bad

Many signs can point to your transmission going bad and needing servicing. Any of these signs should give you pause, and you should visit an auto repair shop to get it inspected.

  • Clunking noises
  • Loss of power or the check engine light appears
  • A burning smell or leaks under your vehicle
  • A delay between gear shifts or grinding when you change gears
  • A dragging clutch or slipping between gears while driving
  • Shaking sensations while driving

Replacing vs. Repairing Your Transmission

When it comes time to fix or toss your transmission, there are two main things to factor in: your car’s age and the cost. A replacement can cost up to $3500. But if your vehicle is newer, your transmission could be under warranty or worth repairing. Repairs on the lower end can cost around $500. The best thing to do is to get your mechanic’s opinion.

The Bottom Line

No matter how new or old your car is, you should make your vehicle a priority so that long-term issues don’t come up unexpectedly. At Custom Complete Automotive, we can help with all your transmission needs and work to ensure any model and make of car is in the best shape it can be so that you’re safe on the road. For more information about our services, contact us today!

Get Your Shift Together And Stop Riding Your Clutch

Okay, let’s just admit that automatic transmissions are convenient, especially in city traffic, but when it comes to the pure, unadulterated fun of driving, you just can’t beat a manual transmission. As in all great relationships, you will have to strike a balance in your driving. If you want to keep the pep in your car, you have to know how to take care of your clutch.

riding the clutch in vehicle with manual transmission

Clutch, Shift, Repeat

Remember when you were first learning to drive a manual transmission, the head-banging, stomach-lurching, buckboard ride and stalls from releasing the clutch too soon? Well, too many manual drivers take that to the other extreme, and out of fear of stalling or just bad habit, ride their clutch until it wears out.

What Is the Clutch & Why Should I Care

Simply put, your car’s clutch interrupts the car’s power to the engine long enough for you to switch gears to go faster or slow down. There are many parts to the clutch/transmission system of your vehicle and a well-treated clutch can last about 80,000 miles. But if you ride the clutch, you’re going to need to replace those parts much sooner. People who consistently keep their foot on the clutch pedal while coasting downhill, in traffic, or stopped at a light often need service and replacement closer to the 35,000-mile mark. That can easily translate to several avoidable service visits in the life of your car.

Learn to Remain Neutral

Use neutral more and your clutch less. You need to have your foot on the clutch to start your car, to shift up or down, and to stop; otherwise, keep your foot off the clutch. Going downhill, downshift and use your brakes or shift into neutral and use your brakes to slow down. Stopped at a red light, put your car in neutral and use your break until the light changes. In traffic, allow a greater distance between your car and the one in front of you and coast a little more with the traffic flow.

It may take you a bit of practice to feel like you’ve really got your shift together. It takes some effort to break an ingrained habit, but it’s well worth the effort, both to prevent issues with your car and to save your hard-earned cash.

If you are having problems with your clutch or have any other questions regarding the functionality of your car, contact us at Custom Complete Automotive today!