The transmission in your car is a very complicated and important part that helps to keep your vehicle moving at a consistent speed. Specifically, the transmission takes the power that is created by the engine and transports it to the drive axle. This, in turn, moves the four wheels of the car. The transmission utilizes gears to make sure that speed and power are retained in the correct ratio in accordance to the output of the engine. This process requires gear shifting, and transmission fluid helps keep all of the moving parts of the transmission lubricated. This fluid also helps to keep the transmission cool and moves dirt and debris away from the gears. The fluid is extremely important when it comes to keeping the transmission in great shape. However, it is often overlooked, especially when it comes to changing it. There are some signs to look out for when it comes to knowing when the fluid should be changed. Keep reading to learn about the signs and why they occur.
Grinding Noises From the Engine
As the clutch discs, gears, and drive shaft lock into place with one another, metal teeth meet up. As the teeth meet one another and start to rotate, torque is created. Since the parts of the transmission are fast moving, small pieces of metal will sometimes flake off the gears due to friction. The transmission fluid will carry the metal parts away and they will flow through the filter. This filter sits underneath the transmission and a metal pan will sit just under the filter. This pan typically holds a magnet that will pull the metal flakes and pieces out of the filter. This keeps the metal piece from moving back around the gears in the transmission. However, the filter and the metal pan can become congested with dirt and metal flakes and stop collecting debris. The metal will then remain in the fluid.
When metal flakes pass around the gears of the transmission, they will collect around the teeth. As the gears meet one another, a grinding sound will be made. If you hear grinding noises from the engine as you initially shift your vehicle into drive or as the gears shift while driving, then this is a sign that your transmission fluid needs to be changed. This should be done immediately. If the fluid is not changed and the transmission is not flushed to remove debris, then the metal flakes and pieces will wear away at the gears. The teeth will then wear down and the gears will eventually stop locking into place with one another. Gears will then not shift properly when you drive and your car will likely stay in a low gear as the engine revs.
If you notice that your vehicle does not stay in gear when you drive or if your vehicle suddenly downshifts when engine revolutions remain consistent according to your tachometer or rev-gauge, then this is a sign that you need a transmission fluid change. When your transmission fluid becomes dirty, it starts to thicken. This causes a lack of hydraulic pressure to build within the transmission. Hydraulic power that builds within the closed transmission system helps to transmit torque from the engine to the gear system. However, when the fluid is dirty, it takes longer for hydraulic pressure to build. This leads to shifting issues where the transmission will shift later than it should and slip out of gear or downshift suddenly when you drive.
Typically, you will notice shifting issues when the engine is cold, like when you first turn your car on. Transmission fluid will be thickest at this time and hydraulic power will take the longest to build up. As the vehicle warms up, the fluid will thin and your car will be able to shift more easily.
Since gear slipping issues can happen both when a vehicle contains dirty and low transmission fluid, make sure to check fluid levels before investing in a transmission fluid change. If levels are low, fill the fluid reservoir first. If issues continue, then a change is needed. If you have any other questions about your transmission, consider contacting a local specialist, such as American Transmission Center, for more information.