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.

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