Transmissions, while generally durable, can be highly complicated devices. For this reason, they are also expensive to replace, and maintaining one will save you a lot of headache and money in the future. This article from Autoworks in Ithaca, NY discusses how your driving habits affect your transmission. While automatic transmissions are by far the most common, there are still a considerable number of manual transmissions on the road, so this article covers both.
One reason many people still prefer standard shift transmissions over automatics is because of their reliability and simplicity. They can take a beating and rarely stop functioning altogether. Still, it’s a good idea to take care of yours, as they are expensive components. A manual transmission that is treated well will last for decades.
Firstly, practice good shift points to reduce wear and stress on your clutch and transmission. Shifting too high or too low causes unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle and is less efficient and decreases drivability anyway. Check your owner’s manual for instructions on shift points and downshifting, it typically will provide you with the correct shift range for your vehicle. Also, be sure to practice good clutch releases...the quickest way to burn out a clutch is by riding it too hard when you take off from a standstill. Use the clutch every time you shift and don’t be lazy about it; if you grind a gear enough times, it’ll eventually begin to grind every time. Have the gear oil changed periodically, and make sure the clutch adjustments and hydraulics are correct and in good working order. If your transmission doesn’t shift smoothly, it typically isn’t a hard fix, unless the repair is ignored so long that it does permanent damage.
Automatics are more complicated and more sensitive than manual transmissions. As far as driving style is concerned, make sure you use overdrive at highway speeds and don’t stomp on the gas all the time. If you are utilizing the throttle in an overly dramatic fashion, you are causing numerous unnecessary shifts and pressure changes inside the transmission that only serve to wear it out faster. Go easy on the gas and accelerate smoothly. Using the least amount of throttle possible to maintain whatever speed you want keeps the transmission in the highest gear available at that moment and causes less stress on your drivetrain.
Also, be sure to keep your transmission fluid at the correct level and your filter and fluid maintained. Driving with a slipping transmission will destroy one quickly, which is an unnecessary headache.
Essentially, to prolong the life of your transmission, whether it is automatic or manual, keep it maintained and don’t drive rough (at least not all the time.) Another note worth mentioning is that if your transmission is malfunctioning, don’t assume you need a new one and keep driving on it until it completely fails. In past decades, whenever an automatic started to slip of shift incorrectly, it needed to be rebuilt or replaced. However, most transmissions built within the last 20 or so years utilize an array of solenoids and sensors to control shifts, meaning that a thirty-dollar part could have your vehicle back in working order and save your transmission. Since any sort of malfunction can damage a transmission if ignored, get yours serviced immediately if it isn’t behaving correctly. Our technicians at Autoworks are more than happy to take a look at it. We’ll diagnose your problem and have your vehicle shifting like new in no time!
Thank you for visiting Autoworks in Ithaca, NY. Count on our automotive repair technicians to keep your car, truck, suv, or van on the roads longer and safer.