How to Tell When Your Automatic Transmission Needs Service

The transmission in your car or truck keeps the vehicle moving—with regular service, it will last for many years. When the transmission is overlooked, some parts of the transmission will begin to malfunction and indicate there is a problem. 

1. Improper Shifting

If the automatic transmission is not shifting correctly, it can indicate a problem inside the transmission. In many cases, failing to shift is a sign that the fluid pressure inside the transmission is low. This can be the result of low fluid, a blockage in the system, or a bad oil pump. 

One of the most common reasons that a transmission stops shifting is because the transmission filter is covered in material from the transmission's clutches. The clutches wear over time and the material can build up on the filter screen, which keeps the oil from passing through and causes pressure in the system to drop. As a result, the transmission won't shift when it should, but the fix is often as simple as a transmission flush and a filter change. 

2. Skipping Transmission

Another common problem with automatic transmission is slipping. The transmission works and shifts fine, but under a load, the transmission begins to slip and have a hard time moving forward. In some cases, the transmission with slip and then engage hard, then slip again. Most of the time, slipping is a result of low fluid in the transmission, low pressure in the system, or excessive wear of the clutch bands. A technician will need to determine where the damage is and potentially need to rebuild the transmission completely if the clutch bands are worn. 

3. Burnt Transmission Oil

This is something you may not notice right away because the only way you can tell that the transmission oil is burnt is to smell it. Checking the oil level in the transmission is as important as checking the engine oil in your car. Pay attention to the color and the smell of the transmission fluid or oil when you pull the dipstick to check the level. 

Transmission fluid or oil should be red and should smell like oil; if the color has shifted to brown or black and you notice that the oil smells hot or burnt, the transmission has likely been hot for some reason and the heat is breaking down the fluid inside the case. Change the oil, then filter and monitor the oil regularly to determine if there is a problem with the transmission cooler that needs addressing. If your car needs transmission repairs, contact services like B G & S Transmissions.

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Car Tips for Car Lovers

Some people treat cars like disposable appliances, but others see them as long-term investments. For people like this, a car is something to be cherished, maintained, and maybe even passed down to the next generation. If you're here, it's because you're one of those people who refuses to buy a car only to throw it away a few years later. Like you, we have a passion for our vehicles. The articles you will find here reflect that passion and our desire to help you keep your car on the road for as long as possible. The advice we provide isn't meant to give you the bare minimum necessary to keep a vehicle on the road, but instead to help you keep your car feeling brand new no matter its age.