Dealing With Transmission Malfunctions In Your Automatic Transmission Car Or Truck

Cars and trucks with automatic transmissions are durable. If an automatic transmission does begin to malfunction, there are some things you can check, and if necessary, take the vehicle to a transmission repair shop for evaluation.

Transmission Function

The automatic transmission in your car or truck works by pumping hydraulic oil through a valve body that controls which gear engages while you are driving. The oil filter is inside the case, and when everything is working correctly, the transmission should shift smoothly. 

If the filter inside the case becomes clogged with friction material from the clutches or metal shavings that are coming off worn parts inside the system, the pressure can drop. The transmission may stop shifting or slip badly because the internal clutches are not working correctly. 

A transmission service shop can replace the filter inside the case and flush the entire system to remove the dirty oil. Most vehicles have transmissions that only need transmission service once or twice in their lifetime, and with synthetic oil, a low mileage vehicle may not require an oil and filter change the entire time you own it. 

Pump Failure

The pump that pressurizes the oil in the transmission is in the front of the automatic transmission, and the torque converter attached to the engine flexplate provides the power to spring the pump. If the pump fails, the transmission will not engage, and the pump will need to be replaced.

Replacing the pump is a job best left to a transmission service because it requires disassembling the connection between the transmission and the engine. The space is limited in that area, and in some cases, it is necessary to remove the transmission from the vehicle to pull the pump out to make the repairs.

Often pump failure means rebuilding the transmission because there is a potential for broken pieces to work their way into the gear sets, the clutches, and the bearings when the failure occurs. Disassembling the transmission and checking all the gears and components is the best way to ensure that there is no hidden damage that goes unnoticed. 

Remanufactured Transmissions

In the event that you have an automatic transmission failure in your vehicle, replacing it with a remanufactured transmission may be the most economical way to deal with the malfunction. Many auto transmission services have remanufactured or rebuilt transmissions in stock that they can install in your vehicle quickly. 

Rear-wheel drive cars and trucks may often only require a day in the shop to swap the transmissions, and front-wheel drive vehicles typically take a couple of days. The cost of the auto transmission and the labor is often not as high as having your old one repaired, but talk to the shop manager about the best solution for your vehicle when you need transmission service.

For more information on transmission service, contact a professional near you.