Bad habits are hard to break, but it’s time to make a change when dealing with a vital system in your car, like your engine and transmission. The transmission is one of your vehicle’s most crucial and complex systems, so it should be adequately treated to ensure longevity. It’s just another thing to add to your long to-do list, but keeping this system in good shape isn’t that difficult.
Knowledge can go a long way regarding this vital component. If you’ve ever had a transmission fail on you, you know how expensive it is to replace them. Many people are guilty of system maltreatment and don’t know what they’re doing is so harmful. Thankfully, at Cloverdale Auto, we can help steer you in the right direction.
Bad Habits to Avoid with Your Transmission
Your vehicle either has an automatic or manual transmission, also known as a standard or stick shift. It’s not common to buy a car these days that’s a stick unless you’re buying a sports car. The automatic transmission shifts the gears for you seamlessly without you giving it any thought.
The component uses the torque behind the engine and helps to make the vehicle move regardless of its massive weight. You can go from 20 to 85 mph without putting too much strain on the motor. Thus, driving is easier as you don’t have to worry about constantly shifting gears. Here are some damaging driving habits that can cause excessive wear on your transmission.
1. Running on Improper Fluid Levels
You know what it’s like to be thirsty. Your mouth feels like cotton, and you feel like you’ll perish if you don’t get water quickly. It’s a miserable feeling, but this is the same scenario as when your vehicle is low on fluids. If you want to drive your transmission straight to the junkyard, run it without proper levels.
Your fluids are responsible for keeping your transmission cool and lubricated, and if it’s too low or gone altogether, it will overheat. Additionally, the internal parts within this component will grind and can cause damage or failure.
2. Drag Racing
It’s fun to drag race, especially for the younger generations. Drag racing on a green light produces excessive heat. The transmission heats up very quickly, and it doesn’t have a chance to cool down when it sustains this type of abuse.
Some engines and transmissions are made for drag racing, but your average vehicle lacks such capabilities. You risk ruining the driveline components within this system, which means you’ll need a complete overhaul.
3. Overheating Your Engine
An automobile is equipped to handle temperatures under the hood as high as 200 degrees, but it overheats once it exceeds this threshold. Even if you go just 20 degrees over, you’re causing unnecessary wear to your engine and transmission. Should the temperature reach 300 degrees, you’re shortening the longevity of the system.
When the oil and fluids are so hot that they’re boiling, they can’t lubricate and protect as they should. Pull over and turn off the car if your temperature gauge heads into the red zone. You need to get help before you destroy expensive components that will cost thousands to repair or replace.
4. Abrupt Stops
Sudden stops are as horrible for your transmission as sudden take-offs. Do people often lunge forward when you stop because you’re slamming on your breaks? Your transmission is a mounted system, and when you have sudden and jerky movements, it can cause damage to this part. The mounts that hold it in place can become loose or break.
After an accident requiring you to slam the brakes, things like your mounts should always be checked.
5. Not Changing Filters and Fluids
The transmission filter needs to be replaced, just like your oil and fuel filters. While it may not need to be changed as often, it shouldn’t be left to time and chance. Your filters strain out impurities that can keep the system from running efficiently.
They can become clogged and cause a system malfunction. The fluid levels are another thing that must be considered. Any fluids in the car will become dirty over time.
The fluids in your transmission should be a pink or red color and should have no smells to them. When the fluid isn’t changed in a timely fashion, it will cause the seals and gaskets to wear down, as well as internal components. Fluids that can no longer filter impurities are prone to overheating, which will cause total system failure.
6. Using Over-the-Counter Additives
Today, you try to do it yourself and save money. While it’s good to gain knowledge and learn new things, it’s not always best to practice on things that are so expensive. There are hundreds of products on the market that promise to seal gaskets and keep your systems running longer.
However, when you feel your transmission shifting poorly or see leaks, it’s not time to diagnose the issue yourself. You need to take your vehicle to a qualified specialist who can run diagnostics and fix the problem rather than putting a band-aid on it.
Schedule A Flush and Fill
Periodically, it’s advisable to flush the old fluid out of your transmission, replace the filter, and put fresh fluid in it. It’s recommended that this be done every 60,000 miles, but each vehicle has specific guidelines from the manufacturer. When was the last time you had this vital service performed on your car? Call us today to schedule an appointment.