Transmissions are complex machines buried deep in the chassis of our vehicles. Regular transmission service will help post-pone or eliminate some problems, but when a transmission begins to malfunction, there are specific signs that the average vehicle owner can recognize.
Know the three common signs of transmission problems:
*Fluid leaks under the car — If there is a persistent red leak under your vehicle, is it coming from the transmission or from the power steering system? It is difficult to determine, as most power steering systems also use transmission fluid. Thus, leaks can appear on the ground in roughly the same areas as transmission leaks. If the leak is fairly small, you may be able to postpone a transmission repair as long as the fluid level is checked regularly. However, when the fluid level falls below the minimum required level, a transmission repair is inevitable.
*Color and odor of fluid Check the fluid level when the vehicle is running and on level ground. The fluid should be red and transparent. If it is cloudy or muddy looking, or if it smells burnt, take your vehicle to a transmission repair technician. They may recommend a transmission service to drain and refill the fluid, as well as replace the filter. Some transmissions may require a computer program updating.
*Noises, vibrations and irregular shifting — Modern transmissions typically shift smoothly and quietly under light acceleration. Heavier acceleration should produce firmer shifts at higher speeds. If shifting points are erratic, if there are strange noises when shifting, or whining noises that come from underneath the car, are causes for concern.
Note: Look and Listen to your transmission. If problems are taken care of early, they can often be resolved without a costly major transmission repair.
** Did You Know? — With gas prices down to less than $2.00 a gallon around the country, a growing number of motorists have been flocking back to showrooms for pickups, SUVs and muscle cars. Yet, despite that sudden surge, the days of the classic V-8 and V-6 may be coming to an end. A new study suggests that less than half of the vehicles that will be sold around the world by 2017 will be powered by conventional gasoline engines. Alternative fuels (such as diesel, ethanol, and hydrogen), hybrid-electrified vehicles and more advanced internal combustion systems will make up the majority of the global mix, according to a new report from Navigant Research. Hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles still account for less than 5% of the U.S. market, but demand is expected to grow exponentially. That said, a summary of the new Navigant report notes that, “gasoline is anticipated to remain the leading fuel in the coming years, albeit in unconventional vehicles that employ a range of fuel-efficiency technologies, such as smaller engines and turbo-charging.” A growing number of vehicle manufacturers will opt for either alternative fuels or advanced technologies designed to squeeze far more mileage out of every drop of gas.**
For expert advice on transmission repair, contact our ASE Certified Technicians at Clausen Automotive by calling (608) 221-8321 or go on-line at http://clausenautomotive.com for more information about our transmission service. Since 1975, our family-owned auto shop has proudly served vehicle owners in Madison, WI, and the surrounding communities.