But you might be surprised to learn a little gearbox with turning gears, called your transmission, is what is actually controlling the punch behind the pedal. Intricate, complicated and expensive to replace, maintaining your transmission in workable order is an important part to keeping your car alive and well.
Here are 6 car transmission maintenance tips to keep your car engine healthy and humming:
1. Check transmission fluid levels
Transmission fluid does three tasks: first it lubricates transmission gears; second it cools the turning gears themselves; and, third, in automatic versions, the fluid creates the hydraulic pressure needed to switch gears. Since newer cars tend to have sealed fluid systems, consult your car’s manual to see if there is a dipstick which can be used to check transmission fluids.
You should check you transmission fluid every month, and change it according to your manufacturer’s instructions, typically 80,000 to 160,000 kilometers. For cars with transmission dipsticks, park the vehicle on a level and flat surface. Turning on your car’s engine, carefully shift through all your cars gears, ending on putting the vehicle in ‘P.’ If required by your car model, you may have to keep the engine idling when you pop the hood to check the dipstick. Pull out the dipstick, give it a good wipe before reinserting it back into the transmission to gain a sample. Pulling the stick out again, look at red transmission fluid levels and, since darker hues may indicate dirty fluid, check the colour.
2. Remove the gunk
From city dust to dirty transmission fluid, gunk can accumulate on the turning gears of your car’s transmission. Not only does this hinder your car’s ability to change gears quickly and smoothly, but also makes achieving the task harder on the gearbox itself. If you detect a burning smell, or if a quick check of your transmission fluid yields darker colours, it might be time to have your transmission checked and cleaned by a professional.
3. Change transmission filters as required
Consulting your auto manufacturer’s recommendations, you may need to periodically replace your vehicle’s transmission filters. Since this task is somewhat intricate, it should be done by a professional.
4. Check radiator and cooling systems
Most damage done to a car transmission is done as a result of exposure to the extremely hot environment of the engine. From overheating to wearing down gears to causing a breakdown of transmission fluid, a poorly functioning radiator or cooling system can cause considerable damage to the gearbox.
5. Broken pan gaskets
Working as the mechanical seal between your transmission oil pan and the actual transmission itself, a failing pan gasket can cause transmission fluid leaks. Primarily caused by cracked or worn seals, this issue is easy to fix if detected early. Look for pools of red transmission fluid under your car where you normally park.
6. Ensure your car is properly protected
Proper car maintenance begins with the right coverage for your vehicle. Get a quote in just a few clicks and see how much you can save with Desjardins Auto Insurance.
These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.
In Quebec, Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. In Ontario and Alberta, Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Direct Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance.