The transmission is an important component in any vehicle as it allows the wheels to utilize power from the engine and move. As with most of your car’s components, you will want to be sure to take good care of your transmission and get routine maintenance done on it to prevent issues and prolong its’ lifespan. Today we will take a look at what exactly a transmission is and what it does as well as everything you need to know to make sure it stays in good condition.
What is a transmission and why is it important?
The transmission transmits power from the engine to the wheels to allow the vehicle to move. The power required to keep the vehicle moving will vary depending on speed and engine output, so the transmission will use gears to moderate the amount of power sent to the wheels.
Most stock vehicles today are built with an automatic transmission, in which the selection of gears happens automatically based on driving conditions and inputs from the engine computer. Some vehicles will use a manual transmission (also commonly referred to as “stick shift”) in which the driver uses the gear-shifter and clutch pedal from inside the car to select the desired gear. Transmissions serve as an important link between your engine and your wheels. They receive engine power and evenly distribute it among the wheels that the transmission powers. Without the transmission, there would be no way for your engine to transmit your pressure from the accelerator pedal to the wheels.
Inspect and manage your transmission fluid
Your transmission fluid is the lifeblood of your transmission. It is key in maintaining your transmission as well as absorbing heat off the component to prevent it from overheating. You will want to make sure you change or flush your transmission fluid every so often to ensure that you don’t have old transmission fluid running in your transmission. Old fluid will lose its protective qualities and heat absorption capabilities. As a general rule of thumb, you should replace your transmission fluid about every 30,000 – 60,000 miles. Check your manufacturer recommendations for the specific make and model of your vehicle for the exact change interval that you should follow.
Transmission fluid has many additives that allow it to function. Below is a list of what these special additives do to the transmission fluid:
- Lubricate the transmission
- Reduce wear
- Clean certain metal components
- Prevent rust and corrosion
- Reduce oxidation
- Prevent seals from leaking
- Flow well at low temperatures
- Maintain thickness at high temperatures
- Pour easily
- Maintain viscosity
Take care of the engine cooling system
Your engine cooling system interacts with your transmission components to regulate the temperature of the engine and prevent it from overheating. Although the cooling system’s main purpose is to prevent the engine from overheating, it has an equally important secondary purpose of keeping your transmission fluid cool. When it is not moving or shifting through the gears, the components of the cooling system absorb heat off of the transmission fluid, lowering its temperature to the optimal level before it is sent to shift the gears once more. Overheated transmission fluid can cause all sorts of problems with the transmission, including the grinding of gears and difficulty shifting. Getting your engine cooling system regularly inspected can help you avoid these problems and is key to maintaining a healthy transmission. Try to have your engine cooling system inspected at least once per year and get proper inspections done more frequently if you travel a lot with your vehicle.
Be smart with your braking
It is important to be mindful of your brake usage if you want to ensure the smooth operation of your transmission. It is common for some drivers to drive their car with their foot applying slight pressure on the brake pedal as they coast down the street. Although this may help you feel safer while driving since your foot is already on the brake pedal, ready to stop at a moments notice, this slight pressure on the brake puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the transmission and the engine. Drivers who do this and drive an automatic transmission vehicle may notice that their transmission wears out faster and that their gear shifting gets less effective over time. Additionally, slight pressure on the brake while you drive might also be activating the brake light switch, which takes your transmission out of the overdrive gears and negatively impacts your transmission performance. Avoid putting any pressure on the brake pedal until you are ready to slow down or stop to prolong the life of your transmission.
When parking on any sort of incline, whether uphill or downhill, use the parking instead of just relying on the park setting in your gear selector. This will ease a lot of the stress on the transmission parts and will help make them last longer as well.
Get your transmission inspected regularly through CarAdvise
Regular, routine maintenance and inspection of your transmission is the best way to keep it in good-working condition and avoid any issues. When it’s time to book your maintenance appointment for your transmission, book your appointment through CarAdvise. CarAdvise makes car care simple and guarantees that you will pay less than retail price on all car maintenance services every time you book!