You may think the engine is the most complicated component in car mechanics but actually it is the transmission, making it important to understand what the transmission does and how it does what it does. This article will cover the aforementioned topics and also covers signs of trouble with transmissions and when to get the transmission repair.
The transmission does a lot more than transfer power. It is the component at the back of the engine that connects the engine to the wheels. Its job is to keep the engine speed at a certain number of RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) because the engine works best when running at speeds that are not too fast and not too slow.
When your car is moving slowly the engine is moving much faster than the wheels. But at faster speeds the engine does not have to work as hard relative to the wheel speed. It is the transmission that makes this possible. There are a number of other gear gear positions in a typical transmission. These include "reverse," which sends the wheels turning backwards, "neutral," which disengages the engine from the car's wheels, and "park" which locks the wheels so the vehicle will not move.
There are many different components to the transmission. Planetary gear sets, hydraulic system, clutches and bands, seals and gaskets, and a torque converter are all components put together to deliver power to your car. Planetary gear sets adjust for different speeds and reverse. The hydraulic system sends oil to the gear system through the clutches and bands. Seals and gaskets are there to keep oil where it's supposed to be, covering the planetary gear sets, so everything runs smoothly. The torque converter is a clutch mechanism, allowing the gears to change without stopping.
There are many ways to tell if your transmission is working smoothly or giving you trouble. For example, failure to shift, or delays in shifting are a strong indication that your gear sets or torque converter is having problems.
Listen closely for odd noises. Thumping, grinding, banging, whining noises and lag in shifting can be a sign of problems. If the engine speeds up when you press the gas, but the car doesn't speed up accordingly, that tells you that your transmission isn't functioning right. Check your fluids. Red, pink or brown fluid under the car or having to continually fill the transmission with fluid are signs that you need to bring your transmission into the shop.
Preventative maintenance means thinking ahead and checking your car against all these problems, before they start. Change the transmission fluid every 25,000 miles, as a rule of thumb. This is done by taking your car or truck to a professional, because removing the transmission fluid pan is complicated and messy. Also it is best to let your mechanic take the pan out because they can check the fluid for metal shavings and other indications of problems.
So keep your transmission up to date by regular visits to your mechanic and watch (and listen) for signs that it is starting to have problems. If you follow these two guidelines, you shouldn't have extreme problems with your transmission.
Knowing how your transmission works can help when you are talking to your mechanic about the maintenance of your vehicle. If you ask him or her what's going on with your engine they will be glad to help you. Understanding a bit about your transmission will help you watch for problems and have them looked after before they develop into larger issues.