Everyone who owns a vehicle depends on it to live their life. They commute back and forth to work. They drop the kids off at school, pick them up in the afternoon, and cart them to dance class and karate lessons. They run errands. They go on cross-country road trips.
Americans love their cars, and while a minority may opt for public transportation, the majority heavily rely on their vehicle. That's why it is so frustrating when a car acts up, especially if it is a transmission issue, which can sideline you. Here's what should know about caring for your vehicle's transmission.
1. Check Your Transmission Fluid Monthly
In theory, the transmission fluid in the transmission housing in modern cars shouldn't be going anywhere. However, it should still be checked each month to ensure the level is where it should be. If it's not, that's a good indication there's something wrong or will be soon if it's not inspected. A properly working transmission will not lose fluid so there is likely a leak somewhere if it is. If you need to top it off before you can get your vehicle in to be serviced, be sure to check your owner's manual to make sure you are using the right kind.
You should also note the color and smell of the transmission fluid. It should be bright red in color, and it should have a sweet aroma. If it is dark red or black or has an acrid odor similar to burnt popcorn or fish, it's time to have your transmission fluid changed.
2. Get Your Transmission Flushed Regularly
When you notice its time to have the fluid changed, it needs to be done by a professional. Over time, the fluid will collect tiny metal shavings which need to be flushed out of the system to prevent additional complications. The transmission technician will get rid of the old stuff, clean it up, and refill it to get you back on the road again.
3. Drive With Your Transmission In Mind
Your transmission is ultimately what decides if you are going anywhere or not, and since transmission replacement, like most automotive parts, can be expensive, you want to treat it gently. This means to allow your vehicle's engine to warm up for a few minutes before you take off. It also means not shifting gears while you are driving. Be sure to come to a complete stop before you shift into a different gear. If you hear any grinding noises when you shift, or it feels as though you have limited power, you need to head straight to the nearest car transmission repair service shop.
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