5 Most Common Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Transmission

Automatic transmissions aren’t necessarily delicate flowers, but they do need the right things in place to keep it running like a champ. Although they don’t need to be tended to at every bat of an eye, maintenance of course is a necessary part of owning a car. It’s more like a routine checkup than it is constant babysitting to keep a transmission in good shape, and the most common mistakes that can ruin your transmission often have to do with neglect and a lack of knowledge. This might be surprising to find out, but the biggest factor in determining how long an automatic transmission will last is more dependent on the vehicle owner than it is the car manufacturer.

Possessing knowledge about your transmission and putting it to practice will have the greatest impact on your transmission’s service life, and the difference between the two can be either premature transmission failure or your transmission outlasting the rest of your vehicle. So, let’s get a few things straight right away, here are the 5 most common mistakes that can ruin your transmission.

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Transmission Pan: The Definitive Guide

transmission panAs you know, automatic transmissions need a transmission pan in order to hold all of the ATF (automatic transmission fluid). That ATF is needed for fluid pressure, lubrication, and cooling. But did you know they do more than just act as a container? Besides playing an important role for your vehicle, there are also many different types of transmission pans you can install besides the stock pan. Some can actually help to improve the transmission’s performance. For example, deep pans can help tremendously with cooling since your transmission is able to contain more ATF. So today, we’ll be going over more of what you should know about the transmission pan as well as the different types of transmission pans you can find.

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The Basics of Automatic Transmission Troubleshooting

When problems arise in your automatic transmission, it’s very important that you know the proper steps of transmission troubleshooting. Otherwise, you could be guessing at a problem your transmission might not have, wasting both time and money to get it fixed. Knowing the exact cause of a transmission’s woes means you can get it repaired as quickly as possible and at minimal expense to you, which is ultimately what everyone wants. So of course, there are a few steps to follow when it comes to correct automatic transmission troubleshooting and we will explain the basics here.

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Advantages of a Manual Transmission

The manual transmission has been on a sharp decline for a long time now, ever since the automatic transmission was first introduced by GM in 1940. By 1957, around 83% of all America-made cars came with an automatic transmission, with manuals serving as the minority ever since. Nowadays, only 10% of America’s cars come equipped with a manual transmission, with sales hovering around 5-10% for the last 15 to 20 years (before that, every 1 in 4 vehicles was a stick). 2012 was the first time manuals have seen an increase in sales for 7 years, but is it likely to increase? Time will only tell, but the obvious question you might be asking is: are there any advantages of a manual transmission to be had? We certainly think so, and here’s why.

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Choosing the Best Automatic Transmission Fluid

An automatic transmission relies heavily on ATF (automatic transmission fluid) for all of its major functions, and while you might say ATF is extremely useful for your transmission (which would be a huge understatement), that’s only if it’s in good condition and the right type. So although it’s essential to change the ATF every now and then, it’s also very important to make sure you’re using the right kind of automatic transmission fluid as well, or else you could be risking serious damage to your transmission. So with that being said, we’ll walk you through what you need to know about ATF.

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Transmission Temperature Gauge: A Brief Guide

A big problem that can shorten the life of a transmission is overheating, so it’s up to you to make sure it doesn’t happen. It is estimated that around 90% of automatic transmission failures are caused by transmission overheating alone, and the main reason transmissions overheat is because of overworked transmission fluid. Fluid that has outlived its usefulness or has to work in high heat is less efficient at providing the many functions it was intended for, such as lubrication, fluid pressure, and cooling. Heat and age are mainly what causes transmission fluid to degrade, and this only leads to more overheating.

The ideal range for fluid temperature is between 175 and 225 degrees, and every 20 degree drop in fluid temperature can help to double the life of your transmission. But there’s no way to tell how hot a transmission is you might say, or is there? Actually there is, and that’s exactly what a transmission temperature gauge is for.

transmission temperature gauge - transmission fluid life expectancy

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When to Change Transmission Fluid

You probably already know how important transmission fluid is for your automatic transmission, but one thing many people aren’t sure of is when to change transmission fluid. Transmission fluid acts as hydraulic fluid, lubricant, and coolant for your car, but that doesn’t mean it lasts forever. Transmission fluid has a shelf life too just like any other fluid in your car, and breaks down over time from heat, use, and contaminants. If left alone, it can start to cause erratic behavior with your transmission such as shifting issues, slipping, and overheating. So how do you know when to change transmission fluid? We’ll explain everything here.

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Lucas Transmission Fix Review

If you’ve ever experienced slipping, stalling, hard shifts, or seal leaks with your car’s transmission before, there’s no doubt you’ve already heard of Lucas Transmission Fix. As the name implies, this additive is meant to help fix an ailing transmission that displays any of the above symptoms. Often called a “miracle in a can”, this is actually not always the case. If your transmission has major internal problems already, Lucas can’t magically repair it. This additive works within reason, such as for a transmission that has a clogged valve body or worn seals. But what does it actually do and does it deliver on the intended results? We’ll go over as much as possible today in our Lucas Transmission Fix review.

>> Read what people have to say about Lucas Transmission Fix <<

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5 Signs of Automatic Transmission Problems

No one wants to deal with a defective transmission as it can be both expensive and time consuming to repair. That’s exactly why it’s so important to keep an eye out for any signs of automatic transmission problems before they become unmanageable. It’s always better to fix a problem while it’s small rather than leave it until it becomes big, because major problems only means it’ll cost major money to fix. It’s even better to prevent problems from occurring altogether. So even if you’re not an automotive expert, we’ve put together this list of warning signs that could indicate troubles with your automatic transmission.

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Transmission Jack: Selection & Comparison Guide

A heavy duty transmission jack is going to be necessary if you’re looking to remove and transport a transmission safely, as they are specifically designed to do just that as well as remove as much risk of injury as possible. Unlike a conventional jack which raises the entire vehicle by the chassis, a transmission jack can be positioned centrally to safely detach and re-attach a transmission. Transmissions are not very lightweight; most are heavy and bulky. A transmission’s weight can range anywhere from 100 lbs. to a ton which is why you’ll need a jack that can handle your transmission’s weight as well as what you intend to do with it.

However, not all transmission jacks are the same or made to do the same jobs so you’ll need to look for several things when selecting a jack that will fit your needs. Factors such as weight capacity, price, durability, stability, inclusion of warranty, range of motion, and structural design are just a few things to consider.

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