Q:

What are some things to know about transmission maintenance?

A:

Quick Answer

Checking the transmission fluid every 1,000 miles for level, smell and color is important for transmission maintenance. Keeping an eye out for leaks and alterations in the operation of the transmission helps the driver plan for repairs that prevent the transmission from failing.

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Full Answer

When checking transmission fluid, low levels are a sign of potential trouble, as the seals may have developed a leak. Other possible causes for low levels include malfunctions elsewhere inside the transmission. The best step in such cases is to have a professional inspect the transmission if the owner isn't an expert.

Other key signs of trouble in the fluid are a burnt odor and a dark hue; normally, transmission fluid is a deep gold. When driving the car, if the transmission feels like it's slipping during gear changes, or the transmission makes unusual noises, it needs attention from a mechanic. Many shops offer specials with a free transmission check, although the best bet is a mechanic with whom the driver has formed a relationship of trust.

Steps for preventive transmission maintenance include keeping the cooling system in working order. Excessive heat in the engine is a primary cause for early transmission failure. Keeping the engine tuned reduces stress on the transmission. In addition to monitoring the transmission fluid at home, the owner should also have the mechanic check it as part of an oil change.

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