5 Things to Know About Transmission Maintenance if You Want to Become a Certified Mechanic
A car’s transmission ensures that the right amount of power goes to the wheels to drive at a given speed. Transmissions now come in more varieties than ever before—conventional automatics, manuals, continuously variable, dual-clutch—but no matter what kind of transmission a vehicle has, it’s essential to keep it properly maintained. After all, a faulty transmission can lead to lowered fuel economy, or even make a vehicle unable to drive.
If you’re considering a career as a certified mechanic, here are some useful things to know about this important system and how to keep it maintained.
1. Recognize the Signs of Transmission Problems
It’s important to recognize the signs of possible transmission issues in order to fix them before they lead to greater problems. Some common signs to watch out for include automatic transmission slipping, rough shifts, or delayed engagement when shifting a vehicle into drive. Fluid leaks should also be addressed immediately, and can be recognized by the bright red—or sometimes dark red or brown—colour of the leaking fluid. A burning smell can also be a sign of transmission troubles, as it could be the smell of overheating fluid.
2. Drivers of Automatics Should Turn off Overdrive When Towing
Automatic transmissions have a feature called overdrive, which is intended to reduce the stress on a vehicle’s engine and gear system. Although driving without overdrive will strain an automatic car’s transmission, there are some situations in which it should be manually turned off, such as when towing. Turning the overdrive off when towing with an automatic vehicle will increase torque and the engine’s RPM, which will help decrease excess heat in the transmission caused by the extra weight.
3. Recommended Transmission Fluid Change Intervals Vary Widely
When it comes to transmission fluid changes, there’s no clear-cut rule regarding when it should be changed. The recommended interval for changing transmission fluid varies widely from vehicle to vehicle. For some cars and trucks, it might be as little as 48,200 km, while other newer vehicles with automatic gearboxes might have fluid meant to last the entire lifetime of the car. This is why when you become a certified mechanic, it’s important to consult the specific vehicle’s owner manual regarding transmission fluid changes.
4. Draining Will Only Remove Around One-Third of a Transmission’s Fluid
On most automatic vehicles, draining the transmission fluid will only remove around one third of it from the system. Flushing, on the other hand, can remove around 90% of it, so is often a better option when you need to remove dirty or contaminated fluid from the system. It can come with risks, however, as power-flushing a transmission could actually dislodge sludge and other particles, potentially causing clogs. In general, flushing the system should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
5. Use the Right Fluid for the Vehicle When You Become a Certified Mechanic
When changing a client’s transmission fluid after auto mechanic college, it’s important to remember that there are several different types of transmission fluid, including Type F, Dexron, Mercon, HFM fluids, and synthetic fluids. It’s best to check the owner’s manual and ensure that the correct type of transmission fluid is being used for the vehicle, as using the wrong type of fluid could result in serious problems, like overheating, poor lubrication, and potentially even transmission failure.
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