The transmission is a complicated and expensive part of your driveline, and it’s essential that your transmission is in top operating condition wherever you drive. When transmission failures occur, it’s never easy to determine just where the fault lies but that’s what our How To Maintain your transmission guide is for.
Maintenance on your transmission is vital if you want to ensure years of maximum performance and reliability. Because automatic transmissions are generally harder to work on, this makes the maintenance of your transmission that much more important.
Knowing how to drive your automatic transmission and knowing how to maintain your transmission can can prevent many of the most common causes of transmission failure.
For automatic transmissions, this involves getting into the proper gear to reduce the strain on the engine and the transmission. For manual transmissions it’s not riding your clutch and shifting crisply to ensure long clutch life. A good driver with a manual transmission learns to watch the tachometer and will have a certain feel as to what the car needs.
Automatic transmissions can be much more difficult to deal with, generally because most owners of automatic transmission equipped vehicles do not do the proper maintenance. Couple this with the fact that most trucks, vans and large cargo vehicles are equipped with an automatic transmission, and endure heavy loads, towing and driving up hill and you begin to see how important knowing how to maintain your transmission really is.
Most owners and drivers have no clue how an automatic transmission works, and that’s what our How To is here for to show you how to maintain your transmission and keep your auto on the road.
Little do most people know, that automatic transmissions feature gears as well. Lower gears meant to deliver more torque and power to your wheels, also puts more load and strain on your transmission. If you are in a lower gear and attempt to give it gas, you are putting even more load on the transmission.
Driving up hills or towing things adds load to your engine, and if you are driving uphill or towing something in too high of a gear you could be putting too much strain on your engine. Low engine speed (RPM) and high loads on your engine can lead to premature bearing failure or other such associated oil pressure related problems.
The first step to maintaining your transmission is to follow the manufacturer guidelines on maintenance and fluids. Because your transmission relies on hydraulic pressures and the consistency of the automatic transmission fluid, it’s important to keep fresh fluid in your transmission.
Following the manufacturer recommended guidelines and always using the approved fluids is the number 1 way to keep your automatic transmission ticking.
To prevent any damage or premature wear and tear on your automatic transmission, it’s important to keep these maintenance minded driving tips in mind.
- Downshift when needed – Don’t be afraid to use the passing gear on your automatic transmission when the situation calls for it. When you need that passing power, downshift from overdrive or high gear into low for that proper burst of power. Your shift solenoids should also downshift if you depress the gas far enough, which will allow you to pass easily and then shift back into overdrive when needed.
- Always use Overdrive – When you are on long trips or on the freeway, make use of your overdrive gear. This is the equivalent of the fifth gear on a manual transmission and it’s meant for highway speeds. With the overdrive gear being used, you have a higher, taller gear to maximize your gas economy and keep your engine speed low.
- Shift to higher gears – Following the same school of though as our overdrive point, shift into higher gears as soon as your vehicle speed is in the right range. There’s no need to produce power when you don’t need it, and casual driving does not require such power. Don’t mistake this tip as saying that you should keep your car in higher gears no matter what the speed. As we mentioned above, trying to speed in too high of a gear can cause serious damage to your engine. This is called lugging your engine.
- Don’t lug your motor – When the engine is lugging manually shift into a taller gear so that your engine can turn faster and move the vehicle with less strain on the transmission.
- Be selective with lower gears – Always use lower gears for heavy loads and steep hills. Lugging your motor at low engine speed while putting high loads of strain on the engine can seriously damage your engine bearings or at worst cause rod failure. If you are traveling over hilly terrain, go for the lower gears instead of trying to haul the whole mess as fast as you can. Then shift back up again to coast down the hill.
That does it for our how to maintain your transmission guide, if you have any questions please feel free to leave them for us below.