Care & Driving Tips To Help You Avoid Transmission Repair Bills


Americans are busy with work, school, errands and family activities. Since most of these activities require transportation, many hours are spent driving in all types of road and weather conditions. While convenient for us, this type of daily driving can take a real toll on our cars. This is particularly true for the transmission, which actually makes the car move when the force of power from the engine is applied to the drive train through the use of gears and clutches. Since most automatic transmission problems are capable of sidelining your vehicle until they are repaired, it pays to learn how to avoid them by driving and caring for your car in a transmission-friendly way. Here are some tips to help you get started!

Be Alert

Flashing check engine lights on the dashboard, strange smells or unusual noises can all be early warning signs that your transmission is under stress. If you ignore these signs, or put them off until it is convenient, you run the risk of increasing the amount of damage that may be happening in the bowels of your car. Transmission problems usually exhibit symptoms long before they fail, and responding to these symptoms is the best way to limit the damage and minimize the repair bills. 

Also, watch for any new drips or spots on garage floors or anywhere your car is parked regularly. If you suspect your transmission may be leaking fluid, test your theory by placing a piece of cardboard underneath the car. Position it directly under the transmission and leave it overnight. If there are spots or drips on it, have the transmission checked as soon as possible for leaks at a transmission repair shop. 

Be Proactive

Checking the fluid level of your transmission on a regular basis is key to maintaining a healthy transmission. The fluid is what makes the transmission operate properly and prevents it from overheating. Just like the engine's oil, transmission fluid can become scorched, degrade or collect metal shavings and other debris that can cause internal damage to the transmission.

Checking the fluid and topping it off as needed on a frequent basis will also help you discover problems before lasting damage is done. For instance, if your transmission suddenly begins to need a frequent topping-off of the fluid, or if the fluid looks burnt or dirty, take the car into a reputable transmission repair shop to have it evaluated. In most cases, it will be a simple repair, such as changing the transmission fluid filter or replacing a leaky hose or seal. If left unattended, however, these simple repairs can cause the transmission to suffer far greater damage or fail completely. 

In addition to having the transmission checked when you think there may be a problem, remember to have it serviced regularly by a reputable transmission repair expert. Having the fluids and filters changed will help protect the transmission and you will get the benefit of having a professional assessment to see if there are any issues that you should know about. 

Be Gentle

Even though we depend heavily on our cars, we can be their worst enemy when our poor driving habits become a threat to the automatic transmission. Avoiding these driving mistakes can help you keep your transmission operating properly for a longer period of time.

  • Come to a complete stop before changing gears
  • Plan your route to avoid excessive stops and starts, especially in very hot weather when transmissions can become overheated while idling for long periods
  • Refrain from gunning the engine and taking off quickly 
  • If the car becomes stuck in mud or snow, refrain from rocking the car back and forth from drive to reverse and choose the safer method of having it towed or clearing the obstructing snow or mud before trying to free the car
  • Avoid carrying too much weight in the vehicle as this can strain the transmission
  • Always use the brake and not the gear shift to bring the car to a halt


29 December 2014