Your Essential Guide to Automatic Transmission Servicing
Transmission slipping, odd sounds, delayed gear engagement, transmission fluid leaks — you name it! Automatic transmission trouble manifests in many ways, but a transmission warning light that comes on while driving is the clearest indication that something's wrong with your transmission.
Luckily, most automatic transmission issues can be avoided by performing a transmission service. Check out the four basic steps involved in servicing an automatic transmission.
Step 1: Check your transmission fluid
Low or filthy transmission fluid is one of the main culprits behind transmission trouble, so checking your transmission fluid level and quality is a good way to start your transmission service.
To check the fluid level and quality, locate and pull out the transmission dipstick with the engine running while parked. This helps to warm up the transmission fluid, allowing for accurate reading of the fluid level.
Check how high or low the fluid comes up against the maximum and minimum indicators on the dipstick. If the transmission fluid level is below the minimum markings, you might have transmission fluid leaks.
Most new automatic transmission fluids have a pink or bright red colour and a sweet smell. If your transmission fluid has a dark tint or a burnt smell, it might be time for a fluid change.
Step 2: Look for transmission leaks
Your car isn't designed to run out of transmission fluid. If you have a low transmission fluid level, odds are the fluid is leaking from your transmission. Transmission fluid leaks can cause shifting problems.
You can check for these leaks by looking for puddles under your car. If you spot a leak, fix it before adding more fluid.
Step 3: Inspect the transmission filter
The transmission filter is a critical component of your automatic transmission system. It catches metallic fragments and other debris and prevents them from contaminating the transmission fluid, causing it to lose its working efficiency.
If the transmission filter is clogged, it should be replaced to prevent shifting problems and damage due to foreign particles sticking to the internal components of the transmission.
Step 4: Check the transmission shift solenoid
The shift solenoid regulates fluid flow throughout your automatic transmission, allowing smooth shifting of gears while driving. When defective, it can result in shifting issues. Your car may have more than one shift solenoid, depending on the make and model. If you suspect a faulty shift solenoid, test it. If faulty, repair or replace it.
If you've followed all the above steps and are still having issues with your automatic transmission, then it's time to seek out a car servicing professional. They can help you find and address potential transmission issues, big or small.