If there are two words you don’t want to hear when taking your vehicle in to the mechanic, they are “transmission failure.” Few vehicle issues are more difficult and expensive to resolve. To avoid having to pay several thousands of dollars on a transmission rebuild or replacement, you need to prevent this costly problem from occurring in the first place. Below, we’ll address some of the most common causes of transmission failure so that you can take measures to avoid them.
Transmission Fluid Leaks
One of the top causes of transmission failure is the occurrence of transmission fluid leaks. Transmission fluid serves the important purpose of lubricating the moving parts of the transmission and protecting its surfaces from wear. If a leak occurs, the transmission won’t have an ample amount of fluid to provide lubrication. From there, friction will start to build up between the metal parts.
In addition to causing premature wear and tear, such friction will produce excess heat, which could cause the transmission to fail. To prevent a small leak from destroying your transmission, make sure to check your transmission fluid levels regularly. Since it doesn’t use up the fluid, low levels will indicate leak somewhere in the system.
Contaminated Transmission Fluid
In addition to low fluid levels, contaminated transmission fluid can also result in issues. Over time, fluid can become burned or contaminated with dust, flecks of metal, and other debris. In such cases, it won’t flow through the system properly, and excess friction and overheating may occur.
To prevent transmission failure, make sure to check the quality of your fluid regularly. If it appears discolored (it should have a translucent pinkish color) or has particles floating around inside it, you should have it changed. To further prevent any issues, you should also replace your transmission filter regularly.
Torque Converter Problems
Another one of the most common causes of transmission failure is a torque converter problem. A torque converter transfers rotating power from the engine to the transmission and then to the vehicle’s drive wheels. In addition, it also has a hydraulic pump that produces pressure that helps propel transmission fluid throughout the entire transmission.
If the needle bearing on the torque converter wears down or becomes damaged, the converter may stop working properly. As a result, it won’t pump fluid throughout the transmission as it should, and the system will likely overheat and break down. To catch any torque converter problems before they result in a transmission failure, keep an eye out for common warning signs, such as whining noises, shuddering, gear slipping, or an inability to accelerate.