5 Fundamental Facts To Know About Automatic Transmissions

The inner workings of cars don’t have to be mysterious. Strengthen your automotive knowledge with five fundamental facts to know about automatic transmissions.

Mechanics are constantly using terms and phrases that laypeople don’t understand. This industry terminology may cause you to worry that you’re overlooking the signs that something is wrong with your vehicle.

It’s time to take your automotive knowledge to the next level and stop feeling like you’re in the dark on the subject. Below are five fundamental facts you need to know about automatic transmissions.

Automatic Transmissions Rely on Fluid

Unlike manual transmissions, which use a clutch pedal operated by the driver, an automatic transmission relies on fluid coupling. This ingenious mechanism utilizes a viscous fluid to smoothly transfer power from the engine to the transmission, ensuring seamless gear changes and an effortless driving experience. When you maintain sufficient transmission fluid and motor oil levels, your vehicle will sustain peak performance.

Automatic Transmissions Are Made With About 800 Parts

Automatic transmissions are inherently more complex than manual transmissions. As a result, automatic cars have hundreds of parts contributing to the functionality of your vehicle’s gear shifts, wheels, fuel efficiency, and more.

The transmission is composed of primary parts, including a torque converter, planetary gear set, and valve bodies. These components work together to supply optimal speeds and power.

Newer Automatic Vehicles Often Have Different Modes Available

Most modern automatic transmissions come with different modes, such as sport or eco. These modes allow you to adjust the shift points to better suit your driving style or the road conditions. For instance, sport mode will tend to hold gears longer to provide a smoother driving experience. Eco mode will shift gears earlier to improve fuel economy.

Overheating in Automatic Transmissions is a Big Concern

Have you seen the temperature gauge on the dashboard shift to the right side? It’s likely that one of the four signs of an overheating transmission is present, and the transmission needs servicing.

When machines operate for long periods without rest or without substantial fluid maintaining the temperature, they’re likely to overheat. The fluid can exceed the desired temperature, break down, and lead to significant transmission damage.

That’s why many automatic cars also include a transmission cooler to regulate the fluid’s temperature so that it remains within a safe operating range. It will prolong the lifespan of the vehicle and minimize the risk of transmission damage due to overheating.

Automatic Transmissions Require Regular Servicing

To ensure the vehicle doesn’t start grinding gears or smoking beneath the hood, you’ll want to remember the following transmission services that will make all the difference.

  • Transmission fluid change: The old transmission fluid will be replaced with fresh fluid. This service is recommended every 30,000 to 60,000 miles.
  • Transmission flush: A specialized machine removes all old transmission fluid, sludge, and any contaminants lingering in the system. It’s recommended to receive a transmission fluid flush every 60,000 to 100,00 miles.
  • Transmission filter replacement: Replace the transmission filter every 30,000 to 60,000 miles to prevent debris build-up and improve vehicle performance.
  • Transmission inspection: A mechanic will thoroughly inspect the transmission for any leaks, faulty parts, and general wear and tear. It’s important to have the transmission checked annually.

Do you feel like you know more about your car than you ever did before? These fundamental facts to know about automatic transmissions will make you feel more informed the next time you visit a mechanic for transmission services.

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