Vehicle Transmissions 101: Everything You Need to Know

Vehicle Transmissions 101: Everything You Need to Know

Vehicle Transmissions repair services in Thornton ColoradoWhat’s the job of vehicle transmissions? Like it sounds, this very important component transmits the right amount of power from the engine through the drive shaft and into your wheels.

If something goes wrong with the transmission, it’s not really something you can put off fixing. Typically, the problems only get worse, more complex and costlier.

As for transmission repair, it can be tricky. It’s not a “learn as you go” type of project and trusting it to your buddy who tells you he’s an expert on transmissions is not recommended.

It’s very important that you get someone who knows what they’re doing. If you come by the Mountain View Automotive shop in Thornton, our trained and certified technicians will get you back on the road quickly. We’ll pinpoint the issue and take care of all necessary work properly the first time.

So let’s get deeper into transmissions and why you should leave it to our experts.

Vehicle Transmissions Parts & Maintenance

If your car, truck, or SUV has a transmission problem and you bring it to Mountain View Automotive, we will inspect all components of your transmission system. Here are a few basics:

  • Bell Housing – This is the cone-shaped metal housing for your transmission. If it’s front-wheel-drive car it’s typically located on the side of the engine under the hood. If it’s rear-wheel-drive, the transmission is underneath the car and behind the engine.
  • Gears – Even an automatic transmission has gears and all of them need to be working in order for your transmission to know how much power to send to your wheels.
  • Fluid – Transmission fluid is red for a good reason, so it’s easy to spot a leak. The transmission is a closed system, so any sign of a leak is a reason to come in and see us.
  • Filter – The filter catches the gunk so your transmission fluid is clean and you can shift easily. Once contaminants get in, you’ve got friction which is not good for your gears and components.

Regular maintenance is vital to keeping all of these parts in proper working order. The general interval for upkeep is 30,000 miles but if you tow frequently, you’ll want to come in sooner. The best thing you can do is have your fluids checked when you come in for other services like an oil change.

During these vehicle transmission checkups, we’ll replace things like the filter and pan gasket which can wear out or form cracks. Pulling out these pieces allows us to drain some of the old dirty transmission fluid and replace it with fresh. We can also perform a complete fluid flush where we completely empty the transmission, run cleaners through the system to clear out gunk and refill the system.

Signs & Symptoms You Need Repairs

Beyond maintenance services, you should always come in if vehicle transmissions show signs of trouble. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to call or contact us today.

Your Car Won’t Go Into Gear – Sometimes vehicle transmissions won’t budge when you depress the clutch pedal and try to move the stick shifter. It could also happen when you try to go into first gear from a stop or from gear to gear. This could be low transmission fluid, wrong viscosity (thickness) of fluid, or the shift cables or clutch linkage needs to be adjusted.

You Notice a Burning Smell – The burning smell of transmission fluid points to your system overheating. Transmission fluid does two things: it keeps the moving parts lubricated and prevents the transmission from burning up.

The Transmission is Noisy in Neutral – It’s probably the transmission if when you shift, you hear noises. But it also may be the transmission if there is noise when it’s in neutral.

The Gears Slip – If the gears slip and pop out of gear when you’re driving, it usually indicates a transmission problem.

The Clutch Drags (Manual Transmission) – The clutch drags or fails to disengage the clutch disk from the flywheel when you push in the clutch pedal. There will be a grinding sound when you attempt to shift.

There is Fluid Leaking – Automatic vehicle transmissions have fluid that’s bright red, clear, and a little sweet-smelling. If it’s leaking you, need to bring it in right away to avoid further damage.

The Check Engine Light Goes On – There are many reasons for your check engine light to come on but transmission problems should be considered. We can scan the code and perform a complete diagnosis to determine the source.

There is a Grinding or Shaking – With a manual transmission, if you hear a grinding sound or feel it shake when you shift into a different gear, you could have transmission issues. If you fully engage the clutch, shift, and then hear a grinding sound, it could be a worn clutch or it needs to be adjusted. It could also mean your transmission’s gear synchronizers, or synchros, are worn out or damaged.

There Are Sounds like Whining, Clunking, and Humming – If you hear a sound that you haven’t heard before likes a whining, humming, clunking, or buzzing sound, the transmission may need to be looked at for issues.

There is a Lack of Response – When your car hesitates or won’t go into gear, the transmission is the likely culprit since that’s its job.

The auto technicians at Mountain View Automotive in Thornton know vehicle transmissions inside and out. And now, hopefully, you have a better idea of how important this system is for your car. If you’re having issues, it’s sometimes just a matter of changing the filter or repairing a leak. If not, we’ll check every other option because taking your transmission apart and rebuilding it can be expensive. We’ll do our best to avoid this worst-case scenario.

For help, feel free to call or contact us today to set up an appointment.