What Are Some Common Problems With a Solenoid?

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The transmission solenoid is responsible for opening and closing the valves that allow the transmission fluid to enter and do its job. If the solenoid is not working correctly, you will not be getting the right amount of fluid pressure that allows for the changing of gears. If you are experiencing trouble or difficulty when changing gears, you might have one of several issues involving the transmission solenoid. Here are some of the more common problems with a solenoid.

 

Plungers are stuck

The plungers in the solenoid are typically responsible in helping with the opening and closing of the valves. These plungers can become stuck either in or out meaning that the valves will not open or close as they should. This can happen when you have dirty transmission fluid or corrosion. You can easily fix this by removing the plunger with the aid of some WD40 and then cleaning the plunger bore.

 

Sticky transmission valves

In this case, “sticky” means exactly what it sounds like: the valves of the transmission have parts that are not working because they are stuck or are stuck as they try to do their jobs. Poor cooling generally causes this. When the transmission is operating under extreme heat, the valve bodies will tend to deteriorate much faster than you would expect. Carbon deposits can also account for sticky valves.

 

Broken wires

The wires inside the solenoid can break as a result of too much vibration or a sudden increase, or spike, in voltage. You can test this with a handheld ohm meter. A working solenoid will typically read between twenty and thirty ohms; if you do not get a reading, you will know that the wire is broken.

 

Melted wires

If the solenoid is working under extremely high temperatures or it experiences a spike in voltage, the plastic covering around the wire in the solenoid can melt, exposing the wire to other segments of the wire. When this happens, the solenoid will experience an electrical short. You can test this with a handheld ohmmeter; if the reading is below twenty ohms, you can assume that the solenoid has experienced a short.

Broken or weakened spring

Broken or weakened springs in the solenoid can cause high or low line pressure. Once the spring breaks or weakens and is unable to operate fully, the solenoid will need to be replaced. This can be a little pricy, but it is a necessary evil.

 

When you are dealing with transmission issues, you will want to check into all of the little things before you go head long into full on repairs or replacements. If you have experienced any of the traditional transmission symptoms, be sure to first check that the transmission solenoid is operating as it should. Of course, if the solenoid is operating correctly, you will have to move onto the next step; however, if the solenoid is the only part causing problems, you will save yourself the greater repair or replacement cost or the whole transmission.

What are Some Causes and Signs of Torque Converter Problems?

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Many parts make up a car and help it to run the way it’s supposed to. Knowing how those parts operate is by no means necessary but it definitely helps when things seem to be going wrong. The Torque converter is the part of the care that handles the amount of fluid that is sent to the automatic transmission. This fluid allows you car to continue running even when you are at a complete stop. Being that having a car that continues running while at a complete stop is seemingly necessary, making sure that the torque converter works properly is important. Here are a few signs and causes of torque problems.

 

An Overheated Vehicle

When almost any machine overheats, it’s usually a sign for trouble. If you look at the temperature gauge in your car and it’s overheated, this could be a sign that your torque converter may be malfunctioning. Overheating is most likely one of the main signs of issues caused by the torque converter. This can be used a sign of malfunction because a drop or decrease in the fluid that keeps your car running even when it’s stopped causes the transmission to overheat in return.

 

Transmission Slipping

Once problems with the torque converter occur, car owners will usually see the symptoms of transmission issues following soon after. Keeping fluid in the transmission is important to keep the car running so these problems are almost seen immediately once they begin. On the other hand, opposite from an overheated vehicle, if you have too much fluid in or near the transmission, it will cause the gears to slip and you may notice a decrease in acceleration as a result. Also, a decrease in the fuel economy of your car might be a slight sign of potential transmission slipping and too much transmission fluid.

 

The Shuttering of Your Car

Another sign that torque problems are headed your way is shuttering. If you feel shutters when driving less than forty-five miles per hour, this could mean that you have torque converter problems. It might feel like you are riding over rough territory and bumps in the road. If you experience these things, you’ll know that your car is shuttering and you may need to get your torque converter and transmission checked out for any collateral issues.

 

Fluid contamination, sounds that are out of the ordinary and all other things that bring attention to the well being of your car should encourage you to get it checked out. The quicker you act to make sure that everything is as good as it should be, the less you risk causing further damage by neglect to your vehicle. Cars can be very sensitive and inevitable factors like age and make are all things that contribute to the way that a car maintains its good condition. Because of how expensive cars are, it is more than beneficial to you as a car owner to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth.

What Causes Fluid Leak?

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There are times when you can identify a problem with your vehicle and other times when you may have no clue. Some ways to tell if you have car issues is by the sounds and sights coming from the vehicle. You may hear a grinding, screeching, or rattling noise signifying there is an issue. You may also see some things to help you discover there is a problem with the vehicle. Things like a loose part or a check engine light will also notify you there is an issue. It is important to take note of these signs so you can fix your vehicle before the problem worsens.

One of the biggest ways to tell there is an issue is by a fluid leak. Your vehicle is comprised of several different fluids. These fluids help make your vehicle run properly by lubricating the main parts. A fluid leak is not something that should ever be neglected. This means you have a problem somewhere with the vehicle. If you do spot fluid leaking from your vehicle, you need to identify what kind of fluid it is. This will help you determine what caused the leak in the first place.

Brake Fluid Leak

While riding down the road, you often see debris in the roads that could damage your vehicle. Of course, you try and maneuver around them, but it is not always feasible. A rock, stick, or other item in the road can puncture your brake hoses causing a leak. Sometimes the leak is larger and can be spotted fairly quickly, while other times it may only be a pinhole leak. If it is just a pinhole leak, you may not be able to tell unless you check the brake fluid level. If you see the level is low, you should immediately inspect your hoses for a hole.

Transmission Fluid Leak

Another type of leak you need to leery of is a transmission fluid leak. You want to make sure that your transmission is not leaking fluid. Should you notice some fluid coming out from under your vehicle that has a reddish color, it is likely transmission fluid. The most common cause of a transmission fluid leak is a loose pan. When your filter is replaced, the screws need to be tightened to ensure the pan remains intact. If this does not happen, you could end up leaking fluid.

Power Steering Fluid

When your vehicle doesn’t seem to be handling the same and you struggle to turn the steering wheel like normal, you can bet there is something wrong with your power steering. A power steering fluid leak is not something you want to happen, but it can as your vehicle ages. The seals and o-rings can lose their shape and cause a leak of fluid. The best way to prevent this is by replacing the seals as you see them starting to wear. You don’t want to lose power steering in your vehicle as it can become very dangerous to both you and your passengers.

When The Transmission is Overheated, What Should I do?

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Transmission problems can happen at any time. If you want to stay off the side of the road with a broken down vehicle, you need to stay on top of your vehicle’s transmission. Checking the owner’s manual to see how often it should be serviced is crucial to keep it running longer and at optimal conditions. One of the most common problems you could run into with your transmission is it overheating. This is usually signaled when you smell an unpleasant odor coming from your hood. If this happens, you need to stop immediately to avoid further issues with the transmission. If you do experience a transmission problem, you need to know how to react fast. Here are some tips on how to handle it.

As soon as you notice a strange smell coming from your hood, you need to pull over to the side of the road. Once you have done this safely, you should then check under the hood. You want to be careful because it is likely that the parts are hot and could burn you.

Find the dipstick for the transmission fluid and check to see if the level is at an adequate level. There should be a line on the dipstick signifying where the transmission fluid should be at. If you see that the fluid is lower than it should be, this means you may have a leak somewhere. Try adding some more transmission fluid in. You want to figure out how big the leak is.

You can usually see the fluid coming out from under the vehicle. If it is just a few drops, then you obviously have a small leak and would probably be okay driving to the mechanic shop. If the leak is rather large, then you will need to have it towed. Driving the vehicle with little to no transmission fluid would only make the problem worse. You could end up damaging the transmission to the point of no repair.

If you place more fluid in the transmission and see that it is still overheating, then your cooling system may have problems. This can be damaging not only to your transmission but to your engine as well. A transmission specialist is the best person to take it to. They will be able to diagnose the problem and get it working properly. Not all mechanics have extensive knowledge about transmissions. Some will only work on automatic transmissions and not manual one. You need to do your research to figure out who the best person to take it to is.

You will need to keep an eye on your transmission fluid regularly. If your car is under a lot of pressure, this is a time when you should check the fluid. If the transmission fluid is not bright red and is brown instead, then it either has some debris in it or the chemicals in the fluid are decomposing. You need to have this looked at.

How to Troubleshoot Automatic Transmissions: The Basics

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Anytime you have something go wrong with your vehicle, you want to make sure you get it fixed right away. This can not only help you save both time and money, but it can also prevent further problems with your vehicle. Your transmission is a complex mechanical part of your vehicle. When it is under distress, you can usually spot symptoms to help you determine what is causing the problem. Transmission problems can be very time consuming and expensive to repair. If you can diagnose the problem quickly before you take it to the mechanic, you can save yourself both time and money. When it comes to the basic problems your automatic transmission will experience, here are some ways to help solve them.

Leaking Transmission Fluid

One of the biggest and most common problems that occur with transmissions is a leak. This is easy to diagnose because you can often tell by having red fluid leaking from your vehicle. Sometimes the fluid may look a little brownish because dirt and debris has gotten mixed into it. When you go to check out the fluid, it will often have a sweet smell to it. Transmission fluid should not burn like oil would, so if you check your transmission fluid level and see that it is low, you can usually determine there is a leak in your line somewhere.

Shaking

When your transmission needs to be serviced, it will often start shaking. This is more common for automatic transmissions than manual transmissions. For many, this is just a signal to have it inspected and serviced. Your transmission needs to be tuned up routinely in order to perform optimally. The best way to know when to have it serviced is by checking the owner’s manual. Each car model has different intervals for when it needs to be serviced. If you do feel the shaking when you drive, it is best to take it to your mechanic.

Won’t Go Into Gear

There are times when your vehicle struggles to change into gears. This could be a clutch problem. There are many reasons why your vehicle won’t go into gear like it should. Another reason is that it does not have enough transmission fluid. This can be easily checked by pulling out the dip stick and checking the level. If your fluid level seems to be fine, then it could be your shift cables or clutch linkage causing the problem. One of the final things you can check is the sensor. This can be reset by unplugging the battery for about 30 minutes and then plugging it back in. You will notice right away if this solved the problem or not.

Because transmissions are so important to the vehicle, it is important to determine the cause of a transmission problem right away. The longer you neglect it, the worse the problem can be. If you still can’t figure out the issue, then you want to take your vehicle to a transmission specialist.

What are some Obvious Signs of Transmission Problems?

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Transmission problems are one of the easiest things to figure out on a vehicle. Your transmission is a complex system that is used to help your engine operate. When you do experience transmission problems, it is important to take care of it right away to avoid further problems. There are many symptoms your transmission will experience during your time as a car owner. Some of these are more critical than others depending on what your vehicle is doing. You need to pay attention for any new sounds or issues that you see your vehicle experiencing in order to handle it properly. Here are some obvious signs you have a transmission problem.

Unusual Sounds

Many vehicles will exuberate uncommon sounds from time to time, but if you may notice a whining or clanging if you have a transmission problem. If it is a transmission issue, you will usually notice it when you go to shift gears or your vehicle changes out of an idling position. Anytime your transmission is ready to go to work and the sound starts up, this could signal an obvious transmission issue. If you hear any of these sounds, it is important to take your vehicle to a transmission specialist right away to determine what is causing it.

Burning Odor

Another obvious sign of a transmission problem is a burning smell coming from the hood of the vehicle. This could end up a fire hazard so you want to figure out what is causing it quickly and get it fixed. This unpleasant odor could be the result of your transmission overheating. If you are not experienced in handling transmission problems, you will need to take it to a specialist to have it fixed.

Engine Light

A lot of car owners ignore any sensors that may show up on their dashboard if it is not attached to other issues with the vehicle. A check engine light that appears on your vehicle’s dashboard is a quick indication that something is wrong. In order to get this turned off, you will need to figure out what caused the sensor to come on and fix it. This could be a number of issues.

Slipping Gears

One of the most common transmission problems is when the transmission won’t stay in gear. If you are driving and notice that the vehicle is having trouble staying into gear, you should be concerned. One of the first things you can do is check to see if you have enough transmission fluid in your vehicle. If not, you will need to add some quickly before driving it any further. This could damage your engine severely.

Transmission problems can be costly and time consuming. This is why you should always pay particular attention to any sounds and other signs coming from it. If you do notice a problem, you should have it fixed immediately to avoid having to replace the transmission at a later time.

Review and Compare: Transmission Jack

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When you are working on your transmission, you will definitely want to have the right jack to help you finish the job. Without the right tool for the job, you will find that you struggle much more than is really necessary. In order to know what transmission jack will work for you and your needs, you can look at the weight (poundage) that the jack can hold, whether it is low or high lift, if it is horizontal or vertical, the foot pedal or lever for raising and lowering, and what type of vehicle the jack is best fit for.


Weight, or poundage, that it lifts

One of the biggest considerations you need to have when you are looking at transmission jacks will be how much weight, or poundage, the jack will be able to lift. Some of the more popular jacks you see will be able to support from anywhere between 450 and 3000 pounds, though you will be sure to find varying amounts.


Horizontal or vertical jack

Another consideration you will need to have is whether or not you want a horizontal or vertical jack. This simply determines how the jack stands. If you want a jack that stands up straight and simply needs to be placed underneath a lifted vehicle, you will want to look at vertical jacks. If you want the jack to lift as a typical floor jack would, you will want to look at the horizontal transmission jacks.


Foot pedal or lever

All transmission jacks run on hydraulic power so you will have to be able to manually work this system. The jacks that you will be looking at will have either a lever or a foot pedal that will allow you to raise the jack. They work equally the same, you will just need to decide if you would prefer to crank the lever with your arms or press the pedal with your foot.


Use for which vehicle type

Many different kinds of jacks are able to lift the different size vehicles that you may work on. For example, there are jacks that are strictly for small cars and trucks while others are built to lift the heavier duty trucks. When you are looking to rent or buy a transmission jack, you will need to be sure that you are choosing the jack that will allow you to lift the vehicle that you will be working on; if the jack is too small or its capabilities are not enough, you will be unable to complete the job without further complications.


In the end, a transmission jack is a transmission jack and it will get the job done. However, depending on what job you want and need to complete, the brand name you decide to go with, the quality of the jack, and what the jack is qualified to do will help you determine which jack is best suited for your purposes. If you have questions or concerns, consult the retailer for specifications and customer reviews of the product.

How to Determine the Type of Transmission You Have

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Any vehicle has one of two kinds of transmission: manual or automatic. While there are only to kinds of transmission available, the types of transmission are numerous; you would probably see over two hundred different types of transmission on the road. They type of transmission is determined by the manufacturer and you will want to match to the original the parts whenever you can. To do this, you will need to be able to identify what type of transmission you have, so here are some ways you can determine that information.

 

Check the owner’s manual

More often than not, the easiest place to look for the type of transmission you have will be in the owner’s manual. The owner’s manual is famous for being overlooked when it comes down to it, but it contains all of the necessary information, including part information, that you will need as you drive and maintain your vehicle. If by chance the owner’s manual is not helpful, fortunately, there are other methods of learning the information you need.

 

Look under the hood

When you look under the hood of most vehicles, you will see a sticker that lists various components and types of parts that are in the car. You should be able to see what type of transmission is inside simply by looking at this sticker. Some of the standard ones you will see will include the 4, 6, or HEMI transmissions.

 

Check the label on the driver’s door

Another place to look for the type of transmission is going to be on the driver’s door. There is typically a white label on the door that provides some basic information about the car and what it needs to function properly. On this list, you will see a TR symbol with a number code next to it. A dealership service department or any car service shop can help you identify what transmission is related to that number code.

 

Identify the oil pan manufacturer

When you are really down to your last ditch effort, you can always try to identify the manufacturer of the oil pan that works with the transmission. The oil pans that are made for automatics are typically in odd shapes; for example, some of them have been known to look like the state of New Mexico. This will not give you a very specific answer in what type you have, but it could give you a starting point if all else fails.

 

Look up the VIN

If you are really struggling to find what type of transmission you have or you do not know what you are looking for, you can always call and have the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) looked up in a system. Armed with the VIN, the shop you call can look up the type of transmission and help you figure out what parts are needed for its repair or replacement.

 

Closing remarks

You should be able to tell what kind of transmission you have simply by how you change gears, but knowing what type of transmission can be a little more complicated unless you know where to look. Fortunately, there are many different places you can look and many service shops willing to help you find out the information you need. If you find yourself in need of help with your transmission, contact a specialist to see how they can help you.