Transmissions are essential components of modern vehicles of all kinds– using fluids and pressure, a transmission allows an engine’s power to be redistributed over a series of gears. Changing these gears grants vehicles’ the ability to accelerate smoothly (in stages) from a standstill to their highest speed. They come in a few different varieties…
Standard or manual transmissions require direct input from the driver to change the gears. Most commonly, your off-foot depresses a foot pedal clutch that allows you to operate a small handle known as a “gearshift.”
Automatic: Once an expensive add-on, automatic transmissions have become exponentially more affordable– to a point where many manufacturers charge more to install a manual transmission. These sophisticated devices change gears electronically depending on the driver’s chosen speed and setting (ie: Reverse, Park, Drive, Overdrive, etc.)
Semi-automatic: These modern innovations combine the smoothness of automatic transmissions with the driver-to-vehicle connection of their manual counterparts. Drivers can choose when to engage the controls and then proceed to change gears at the press of a button.
How do you maintain a transmission?
Fluid should be changed in manual transmissions every 45,000 to 95,000 kilometres, while automatic transmissions might have similar instructions or may even feature maintenance-free fluid. These parameters may change depending on the amount and severity of your vehicle’s driving habits. Transmission fluid filters and gaskets should be inspected whenever your vehicle’s oil is changed.
Repairs Vs. Replacement
Some early warning signs of a failing transmission are:
Lag between pressing the pedal and when the vehicle moves;
New sounds like buzzing, grinding, humming or whining;
Transmission fluid leakage/transmission dipstick fluid is low or dirty;
Burning odour during or after driving;
Transmission warning light is activated (see your vehicle’s owner manual).
If you notice any of the above issues, it may be time for a Park Muffler technician to take a look at your vehicle’s transmission. Often repairs are only a temporary solution, as failing transmissions are usually replaced outright or rebuilt with refurbished parts. Each option comes at different levels of expense, but putting off the regular maintenance outlined above can drastically raise the cost of the required labour.