Your transmission is a vital part of your vehicle’s engine and you want to do whatever you can to make sure that it lasts. Your car or truck is an investment and you should do what you can to protect it. If you want to keep your transmission from being damaged, then there are a several things that you can do.
Check and Maintain Fluid
You should have your transmission fluid levels, smell, and color checked on a regular basis. Typically, you should have the fluid checked roughly every thousand miles and changed about every 50,000 miles or every other year. The fluid should be a bright red color and have a sweet smell. Changes in the fluid’s appearance and smell, like becoming darker or cloudy and smelling burnt, are potential signs of overheating and contamination.
The fluid type varies depending on the vehicle, but you should make sure that you or your mechanic are using the correct fluid when changing it. Don’t go with a certain brand or type of fluid just because it’s cheaper; it can cause damage that can cost more than you save.
Also pay attention to the fluid levels during checks and changes. If the fluid is getting low, it might be a sign that there’s a crack in the transmission. Make sure that you don’t overfill when adding or changing the fluid. When overfilled, transmission fluid can foam, leading to shifting problems, loss of lubrication, and severe damage to your transmission.
Don’t Overload Your Vehicle
Every vehicle has a weight limit, which usually applies to its towing capabilities. Overloading your vehicle causes the transmission to work harder than it needs to and can cause it to overheat. If you are going to tow, do not do so in overdrive; look for a button on the steering column or dashboard and turn it off. Check your vehicle’s manual if you can’t find it, as it might be a position on your shift indicator. You can also consider installing an auxiliary cooler, which can help reduce the heat produced by your transmission when towing and help it run better.
Pay Attention For Trouble
In addition to paying attention to your transmission’s fluid, you should also keep an eye other problems like leaks, odd noises, and difficulty shifting gears. If you suspect that you have a transmission leak, place a piece of cardboard underneath near the middle and front of your car. If there are dark drops or splotches on the cardboard, then the transmission (or possibly something else) might be leaking.
You should also listen for unusual noises coming from the engine, especially when it is in neutral. Abnormal thumping or grinding when changing gears should not happen. Buzzes, clunks, and whines are other noises that you should pay attention to. Odd noises might be a sign that something is broken in the transmission, or that the clutch or gears are dragging. Difficulty shifting gears or slipping out of gear for no reason are other signs that something is wrong with the transmission. If you notice a problem, don’t ignore it; go talk to your mechanic and have them check it out. Leaving a damaged transmission be can make it worse and force you to replace or rebuild your transmission instead of simply repairing it.