Almost everyone knows that their car needs an oil change every 3,000 miles. Transmissions also need fluid changes and service, but unless you’re keeping up with your factory-recommended service schedule you’re neglecting that. A failing transmission can make your ride uncomfortable and contribute to an accident, and a complete failure can leave you stranded.
What does a transmission do? Your engine produces its maximum horsepower and runs at maximum efficiency at a limited range of RPMs (rotations per minute). So a transmission uses gears (and a whole lot more) to match the speed you want to go to the RPMs your engine works best at. So if yours isn’t working properly you can have uneven acceleration, or be unable to move at all. Modern designs are highly complex, combining close-tolerance gears, hydraulics, sensors, and computers. So it’s important to only take your vehicle to an expert transmission repair shop like Pacific Automotive in San Diego if you suspect a problem. We are convenient to La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and Mission Bay.
With so many parts, there’s a wide range of problems with a wide range of symptoms. Basically, any change from normal could be a transmission problem, especially if there are unusual sounds from the center of the vehicle. Here are some specific symptoms to be on the lookout for.
- A fluid leak, other than oil from the engine or brake fluid near the wheels or engine compartment.
- Any delays or slipping between gears when accelerating or decelerating.
- Higher than usual engine RPM.
- Various noises often described as whines, humming, bangs, clunking, thumping, and grinding.
- Burnt smells.
If you’re stuck in one gear or neutral that’s clearly a transmission failure!
Catching transmission problems early saves you money by preventing further damage and more extensive transmission repairs later. But you don’t want to wait until any of that even starts to happen! It’s far better still to keep problems from happening in the first place. Much like engine oil, old or low transmission fluid is one of the most common causes of break downs, so following the “factory” scheduled maintenance is critical (you can actually visit any reputable repair shop you like and still keep your warranty intact). That typically means a transmission fluid change and filter change every 30,000 to 50,000 miles depending on the make and model. But some vehicles and driving conditions require it as often as every 15,000 miles.
Always choose a repair shop with transmission repair specialists. Experience pays in quickly tracking down the source of the problem, as does the latest diagnostic equipment. And insist on the highest quality parts, although that doesn’t necessarily mean the OEM (original equipment manufacturer). Even if some of the work is done by a lower-grade mechanic, repairs should be inspected by a well qualified expert.
Replacement — New or Rebuilt?
Sometimes the damage is too extensive to repair, or the unit is too worn to be remain reliable, and you need a replacement. Many people are surprised to know that there actually isn’t a choice between a new or used transmission. All the newly manufactured units go into newly manufactured cars. So even when purchased from the factory it’s a rebuilt transmission. The only difference between a “new” and rebuilt transmission is that the work is done locally. You should still get a great warranty… and some significant cost savings.
A transmission rebuild involves disassembling the entire unit and replacing all parts that are worn or subject to wear such as gaskets, o-rings, certain clutch components, and valves. The remaining parts are carefully inspected and replaced if necessary before reassembling, reinstalling, and thoroughly testing the transmission.
We have the experienced specialists you need, along with the latest diagnostic equipment, for dependable and affordable transmission repairs and replacements. Our ASE certified master technicians will take care of you and your vehicle with a personal touch that keeps our clients coming back year after year for all their automotive needs.