May 15 2016

A Simple Guide to Understanding Automatic Transmissions

transmission4One of the amazing things about driving a car is that you don’t necessarily need to understand all of its inner workings in order to successfully navigate from Point A to Point B. While it’s certainly helpful to know and appreciate why your car can speed up, slow down, stop, and turn, that knowledge doesn’t dictate whether you can accelerate. With the right mechanic and new handy friends, you never need to read a car manual. But wouldn’t it be neat to be able to spout off some information about the transmission of your car? Here’s the simple version of what you need to know, and who knows, it might come in handy one day. Definition of the Transmission The transmission is easy to overlook until it stops working, but its role in the car is utterly significant. Overall, the transmission is connected to the back of the engine in order to send power from the engine to the wheels. When the transmission properly delivers that power, the wheels can spin at a speed that is best for the engine. The Components of the Transmission The pieces that make up a transmission are vast in number, encompassing mechanical, hydraulic, electrical, and computer systems in one single unit. The gear sets, for example, help the car distinguish between forward and reverse, while the torque converter helps the vehicle stop with the engine still running. You could make yourself dizzy trying to learn every part of the transmission, so it’s just most important to know that each element works in harmony with all others to make a car run smoothly, and when one piece is out of sync, your car will let you know. Signs of a Problem There are plenty of signs that your transmission is ready for some TLC at the local mechanic or auto repair shop. First, your car might be leaking or leaving stains from red oil. Second, you might hear new and odd noises and feel unusual shifts and vibrations as you drive, which is a sign that your transmission can’t successfully convert power to your wheels as needed. To avoid these problems, have transmission fluid checked and changed every so often, about every 25,000 miles. Repairs can range from minor to major depending on the problem, and it isn’t always cheap, so prevention is your best friend!