Automatic Transmission Maintenance Tips

Posted on: 15 January 2019

An automatic transmission is a vehicle that automatically shifts gears as the vehicle moves. Unlike manual transmissions, these vehicles do not require a clutch. As such, they are easy and fun to drive. If you are just about to buy an automatic car, below are a few things you should know. 

Use the correct automatic transmission fluid. 

Gearbox maintenance mostly involves changing the automatic transmission fluid. There are different kinds of automatic transmissions. They include continuously variable transmission (CVT), dual clutch transmission (DCT), direct shift gearbox (DSG) and the traditional automatic transmissions. Consult your user manual and know how the transmission works and which transmission fluid you should use. You should also know when to change the fluid.  

Know how to engage the automatic gears. 

Most people wreck their automatic gearboxes because they do not know how to operate them. Below are a few tips to help you:

  • Avoid engaging the neutral mode when driving downhill as you may lose control of the vehicle. Keeping the car in drive mode ensures that you have engine braking and normal braking systems.
  • The car should come to a complete standstill before you engage the parking mode or reverse mode. Otherwise, you will wreck the gearbox.
  • If your vehicle is Tiptronic (has both manual and automatic modes), learn how to shift between the two modes. Some cars will warn you when you are in the wrong gear.
  • Do not launch the vehicle. This is when you rev the engine at neutral mode and engage the gear at high revs. Such habits will wear out your gearbox. 

Understand gearbox maintenance.

If you think that the transmission is faulty, immediately take the vehicle for repairs. Some of the common automatic transmission problems include the following: 

  • Delayed shifts. These are easy to notice as the car feels underpowered then suddenly gains power.
  • Fluid leaks are caused by physical damage or damaged seals. This could happen if you drive a vehicle with low ground clearance in off-road conditions.
  • Gear shift lock occurs when the car drives only in first gear. More often than not, you are dealing with a broken transmission shift solenoid.
  • If you notice a loud knocking noise or vibrations from your gearbox, you may be dealing with a broken flex plate. Do not drive the vehicle in such conditions.

If you own an automatic transmission vehicle, always use the right transmission fluid, know how to engage the gears and be on the lookout for gearbox problems.