Whether you drive an automatic or a manual vehicle, the transmission is one of the integral systems in your car. It is made up of an array of sophisticated hydraulics as well as electrical components that all function to ensure that the power being generated by your engine is being transferred where it is needed in your vehicle. Any minor malfunction in the transmission system can adversely affect the overall operations of your vehicle. This is why it essential to know how to spot transmission problems before they get a chance to escalate and subsequently leading you to contend with a broken-down car. So what are some of the signs that your mechanic needs to look at your transmission?
Your vehicle is experiencing fluid leaks
One of the telltale signs of transmission trouble is you can start to visibly see leaks beneath your car when you move it from its parking space. It should be noted that transmission fluid does not burn when it is used as motor oil does. Therefore, if you begin to notice your transmission fluid is running low yet there are not visible signs on your parking spot, chances still are it is a leak in your transmission system. There are several reasons why your vehicle may be experiencing transmission fluid leaks. These include the following:
- Seals and gaskets that have worn out over time
- Loosening of the transmission pan
- Bell housings that have acquired damage
- An imbalanced drive shaft
- Axles that have become worn
Your vehicle is emitting abnormal sounds
Another sign it may be time to seek the services of a mechanic for your transmission is if you start to hear strange sounds emanating from your vehicle. It should be noted that a manual and an automatic transmission will display these auditory signs differently. For instance, a manual transmission system will most likely emit grinding noises when you are trying to shift into gear. This will indicate that the vehicle’s clutch has become excessive worn and will require replacement. Grinding noises in manual cars may also come about if the gear synchronizers of the vehicle have acquired some damage.
On the other hand, an automatic transmission will most likely emit buzzing or humming sounds. These noises may also be accompanied by difficulty in driving straight as your automatic car may begin to shimmy to one side of the road. It would be crucial to have a mechanic diagnose the problem before further damage occurs to your transmission.
Just because your car’s engine starts, this doesn’t mean it’s necessarily in good repair. You may realize that it needs some attention because it’s running, but performing poorly in one way or another. While a mechanic can perform a proper diagnosis and get your car running smoothly again, it’s always good to know what you might expect by way of repair bills. Note a few diagnostic tips for a car that runs, but not very well.
Starts but then sputters and even stalls
If your car’s engine starts but then sputters and even stalls out when on the road, and especially if this happens when you’re idling so the RPMs of the car are low, this can mean your car is either not getting enough fuel or not getting enough oxygen. Your car’s engine creates combustion with a mixture of fuel and oxygen so when it’s not getting enough of either of these, the engine won’t create enough combustion to keep running. If you’ve recently filled up with low-quality fuel, that fuel may be somewhat watery; you might top off the tank with a high-quality, name brand fuel and run the car for several more days, and then top off the tank with high-quality fuel again. You can also add an engine cleaning solution to the fuel tank, as an excess of gunk and debris in the fuel lines will also cut off the engine’s supply of needed fuel.
If the fuel is not the problem, your vehicle may need a new oxygen sensor. This tells the engine how much oxygen to bring in and how much to vent away in order to maintain combustion. Usually the “check engine” light is on when your car needs a new oxygen sensor.
Sometimes hesitates when accelerating
If your car won’t immediately move when you hit the accelerator pedal, note a few details about the hesitation. If it seems that one tire, or the front or back tires together, are stuck somehow, this could be that the brake pads are worn down and are not releasing as they should when you let off the brake. If the vehicle hesitates and then seems to “slam” forward quickly, this often means that you have a problem with the car’s transmission, and the vehicle is stuck in neutral for those few second. Often a leak in the pan that holds transmission fluid is the culprit, and the pan may simply need to be changed.
For assistance, talk to a mechanic.
When a dealer offers you an extended warranty for a car you’re buying, whether new or used, you don’t want to be too quick to walk away from that offer. You might assume it’s just their way of trying to make as much money from your purchase as possible, but in truth, it might be in your best interests to take them up on that warranty offer. Note when it’s good to consider an extended car warranty for your car, even if it’s a new model.
Note if it offers special features you may need
Some warranties offer more than just covering the cost of repairs; they may also offer roadside assistance and free towing if the car should break down for any reason. This can be invaluable if you don’t have family you know you can call if your car should break down, or if you know you would never be able to change a flat tire on your own. An extended warranty can also cover body damage that would otherwise not be covered by your standard warranty; if you drive in city traffic and risk fender-bender accidents, this might be a good choice for you. By noting any special, additional features of that extended warranty like this, you can know if it would be useful to you in particular.
If the car model doesn’t have the best track record for reliability
When buying a car, you may note its track record for reliability based on consumer reports and such figures. However, despite those facts and figures, you may still decide to buy a car that isn’t always known for its reliability simply because it’s all you can afford right now, or because it offers other features you need. Since your car may be more likely to break down in the future, you might invest in the extended warranty.
If the warranty would increase its resale value
If you know you’ll want to resell the car sometime down the road, consider if the warranty is transferable and if this might increase the car’s resale value. Being able to offer a warranty with a used car can sometimes be a good idea, since buyers know the car has already suffered some wear and tear. If they know there is a warranty that will protect them against the cost of major repair jobs down the road, you may see your car sell more quickly and easily than if you didn’t have that warranty in place.
Hydraulic suspension is one of the most effective ways of improving your car’s suspension. The system has an incompressible fluid, pump, pushrod, sphere and the suspension arm. All these components work together to change the height of your car as you would like. Just like many other parts of your car, the hydraulic suspension system is bound to have some problems. For you to rectify these problems in good time, you need to know the tell-tale signs that your hydraulic suspension system will give. If your car has a hydraulic suspension system, here are some of the things that will tell you when it has a problem:
High Temperature in the Hydraulic Fluid
If the fluid in the hydraulic system heats up to very high temperatures, it has adverse effects on the components of the system. Particularly, the heat damages the oil seals and degrades the oil itself. Whenever you load your car, the hydraulic fluid responds by generating an equal and opposite reaction that enables your car to maintain a particular heat. This process generates heat, which should be dissipated from the fluid to the reservoir. You can easily tell if the system is overheating during routine inspection of the fluid in the reservoir. If the fluid’s level is low, and the temperature is significantly higher than normal, then the hydraulic fluid is overheating. You should refill the reservoir to the right level and remove any obstruction to air circulation around the reservoir such as the build-up of debris.
When your hydraulic system produces noise during compression or decompression, there may be cavitation or aeration of the hydraulic fluid. Cavitation occurs when the hydraulic lift supplied to any part of the system isn’t enough to meet the compression or decompression requirements. This, combined with the heat in the system, creates cavities of vapour that produce a knocking sound when they are compressed or decompressed. On the other hand, aeration happens when the hydraulic fluid is contaminated by air, producing a knocking sound. In case of such noise, you should check into your repair centre and have the problem addressed.
Reduced Response Speed
If your hydraulic suspension has reduced its speed when decompressing or compressing, then a problem is imminent. This can be caused by a leakage in the system, which keeps it from generating enough force to change the car’s height as fast as it should. Leakages can occur in seals, valves, actuators or the pump. If you notice slow operation, you should have the hydraulic system inspected.