5 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Vehicle’s Transmission

Posted on Mar 15, 2022

5 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Vehicle's Transmission

Is there anything we fear more than transmission trouble when it comes to cars? This essential part of your vehicle can make the difference between a smooth cruise and--well, not cruising at all. A vehicle's transmission pushes the proper amount of power to the wheels so it can travel at a particular speed, and fixing your transmission can be one of the most expensive repairs for your car, costing up to thousands of dollars. The good news is, there are steps you can take to extend the life of your transmission. Read on for Santa Fe auto care tips on how to prevent transmission failure!

Why Won't My Transmission Shift into Gear?

Before we look at ways to prevent transmission failure, let's look at some of the underlying reasons why it might be happening. While not a comprehensive list, here are some common culprits of a failed transmission.

1. Worn Down Clutch (Manual Transmission Vehicle)

Although the clutch is a sturdy part, it nonetheless gets worn down with time and use. A worn-out clutch can quickly limit your vehicle's ability to change gears. To avoid transmission damage, you can take some steps to preserve your clutch. For example: avoid riding the clutch, make sure to put your car in neutral if you have to idle, and of course, be gentle with the clutch when you're dying to pass that driver going ten under the speed limit on the highway. 

2. Shift Lock (Automatic Transmission Vehicle)

If you own a vehicle with an automatic transmission, you're probably familiar with the safety feature of the shift lock. This mechanism prohibits the car from shifting out of park unless it senses someone in the driver's seat with their foot on the brake. It’s certainly helpful in the case of a curious child or otherwise clumsy passenger bumping into the controls. However, this feature can occasionally malfunction and keep you from shifting into gear in any capacity. Fortunately, it's often possible to fix this yourself using the shift lock override, which you can learn more about in your owner's manual. You can insert a key or another similarly shaped object into the slot (generally located on the console) to release it!

3. Dirty Transmission Fluid (Automatic Transmission Vehicle)

Automatic transmissions rely on transmission fluid to function correctly. Its cooling and lubricating properties help to keep gears running smoothly. However, as time passes, debris and other dirt particles can build up in the transmission fluid, seriously affecting its capabilities. Without fully functioning transmission fluid, your vehicle can experience rough shifts, stalling, or more. Transmission fluid will deteriorate over time, so it's important to get it replaced regularly to extend your transmission's lifespan. 

If you're looking for a Santa Fe mechanic, Master Tech Auto Repair can help you find the best maintenance schedule for a transmission fluid check-up. Our auto repair shop will be happy to help with your transmission service!

What is an Automatic Transmission Flush?

Transmission fluid flushes are an oil change that replaces most of your old transmission fluid with new fluid. Flushes are the best way to prevent corrosion and rust and guard against transmission issues. As a general rule of thumb, a transmission flush every 30,000 miles will help to keep your transmission effective.

How Do I Take Care of My Vehicle's Transmission?

1. Shift Smoothly

Trying to accelerate too quickly or shifting at poorly timed moments can put unnecessary stress on your transmission. To extend the life of your transmission, accelerate gradually and avoid shifting gears when getting off the freeway at high speeds.

2. Allow Your Vehicle to Warm Up

Cold weather can have some adverse effects on your transmission. If possible, take a little extra time before leaving to let your vehicle warm up before shifting into gear.  Especially take care to do this during the brisk Santa Fe winter or for any cold snaps that come through!

3. Remember the Parking Brake

Do you pay enough attention to your parking brake? The parking or emergency brake doesn't just keep your car stationary, but it protects the parking pawl as well. The parking pawl is a mechanism that engages once you set your automatic transmission to "park". If your vehicle experiences a collision while in park and the emergency brake isn't engaged, the parking pawl could break, and your car might start rolling into traffic! Avoid this dangerous situation and consistently engage your parking brake when leaving your vehicle. 

4. Check Your Fluid

Clean, well-functioning transmission fluid is essential for a healthy vehicle--whether you're using transmission oil for a manual transmission or fluid for an automatic transmission. Your transmission will not be able to run well without this cooling lubricant. Dirty or low-quality fluid can cause your transmission to suffer as well. Because of all of this, it is vital to check your transmission fluid level and quality regularly. You can also consider adding an extra filter to keep your transmission fluid in better condition for longer.

5. Have Your Vehicle Serviced Regularly

Along with self-service tips, routine maintenance is crucial to extending the life of your transmission. We suggest consulting a transmission expert every 15,000 miles or so. Master Tech Auto Repair can provide an experienced eye to look over your transmission and the overall health of your vehicle. We pride ourselves on providing the drivers of Northern New Mexico with the utmost care! If you're in the Santa Fe area, come on by!

Replacing or having a complete transmission repair can be pricey. But use these tips to avoid costly repairs and extend the life and health of your transmission! 

Call us to schedule your transmission service today! 505-471-1121

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