Are you one of the many Australians who benefits from an automatic transmission? When this was first invented it was revolutionary and it employs a very clever system that allows the car to determine when to change gear, instead of the pilot. Due to its complexity, it's hardly surprising that things can go wrong from time to time, but you can still head off some of these problems way in advance, if you pay attention to one particular component. Where should you place your focus?
Engineers are quick to confirm that automatic transmission failures are typically down to driver error or driver inattention. In short, they may not keep tabs on the condition of the fluid that lubricates the system, leading to an expensive but associated failure. The fluid is one of the most highly engineered components and a result of hundreds of hours of development, but if it operates outside of an acceptable range of conditions, it can rapidly degrade.
Risks and Actions
Most motorists in Australia can be classified as average in terms of their annual mileage, anticipated conditions and aspirations. However, you could be at increased risk if you like to drive at high speeds (especially in the hotter months), drive the vehicle off-road for extended periods, or may tow a trailer of some kind. All of these activities will put additional pressure on the system and the transmission fluid.
In order to give the fluid its best chance of success, you should keep up with manufacturer recommended service intervals and also make sure that other components within the car, notably the engine, operate efficiently. This is particularly important when it comes to the cooling system.
When transmission fluid is overworked it will begin to oxidise and this could seriously degrade performance. It can lead to the build up of tiny particles that can score the moving parts, or cause the rubber internal seals to harden. Various clutches and other mechanisms within the transmission will begin to slip as they cannot engage correctly and this will lead to increased operating costs and ultimately failure.
Remember, while your trusty mechanic will service your transmission very carefully during a periodic visit to the workshop, you've got to do your own part in between as well. Make sure that you maintain the level and efficiency of the fluid at all times. Visit a shop that offers car service in your area for more information.