If you’re like most drivers, you don’t think much about your car’s transmission as long as it’s working properly. However, understanding some basic maintenance and driving habits can help keep your car running smoothly, prevent costly repairs, and keep you out of the transmission shop. Here’s a look at what you should do—and what you should avoid—to take care of this vital system.
Check your transmission fluid level regularly.
Keeping an eye on the transmission fluid is one of the most important habits to get into. This fluid is a lubricant that helps cool and protect your vehicle’s gears and other moving parts. Over time, transmission fluid can become dirty or degraded, which can cause increased friction if it’s not flushed or replaced.
Use the right type of fluid.
There are two types of transmission fluids: automatic and manual. Automatic fluid is a type of oil that lubricates, cleans, and cools the moving parts in your vehicle’s transmission. Manual fluid is a thicker oil that protects the gears of a vehicle that uses a stick shift, i.e., a manual.
Have your transmission serviced regularly.
Regularly scheduled checkups will help ensure all the moving parts in your transmission are properly lubricated and functioning correctly. This way, any lingering issues will be addressed before they turn into bigger problems. Makes and models vary, but in general, you should also have your fluid flushed and replaced every 30,000 miles or so.
Ignore strange noises.
A grinding noise could indicate that gears aren’t meshing properly, which is usually caused by worn gear teeth, lack of lubrication, or debris in the system. If you hear a whining noise, it could be that the bearings are worn out. This is a common problem with older transmissions. Finally, a clicking noise could mean that the shifter fork is not aligned properly.
Attempt DIY repairs.
Transmission repair requires special tools and training. Even if you’re mechanically inclined, transmissions are complex systems with many small parts. One wrong move can cause damage that can be expensive to fix. For even minor issues, it’s best to trust an experienced transmission shop.
Change gears while moving.
Shifting from drive to reverse—or vice versa—before coming to a complete stop puts unnecessary stress on your vehicle. In particular, it can damage the synchronizers in your transmission, which are designed to mesh the gears together smoothly. It can also cause the car to lurch forward or backward, which can be dangerous, especially if you’re in traffic.
If your vehicle needs a visit to a top-notch transmission shop, look no further than JL Tire & Auto Service of Chantilly, VA. Serving the Greater DC area since 2013, they have what it takes to keep your vehicle running at its best. In addition to transmission service, this full-service auto repair shop also provides brake, engine, and tire work, as well as routine auto maintenance. Call (703) 327-4366 to schedule an appointment, or visit them online for more about their services.