The transmission in your vehicle allows you to shift from gear to gear without the use of a stick shift found in manual transmission. Imagine having a device on your bike that could sense how fast you were pedaling, and shift gears for you as you reached higher speeds. That is essentially what your transmission does for your car’s engine.
While an automatic transmission can make your driving life a little easier, a repair can make your financial life a little harder. Average transmission repair can range between $1800 to $3500 and salvaged transmissions from $800 to $1500. With this much money on the line, it is important to know just what you can do to avoid a costly repair or replacement down the road.
The best way to avoid a costly transmission repair is to work out a schedule of routine maintenance with your mechanic. Most of the maintenance tasks are fairly inexpensive and only need to be done roughly every 30,000 miles. Below are some of the maintenance tasks that Master Tech would recommend:
Replace the pan gasket – a faulty pan gasket can lead to the loss of transmission fluid over time. Transmissions that are low on fluid will typically shift improperly and are subject to significant and expensive damage. Average cost to have a pan gasket replaced is between $80 to $200 including labor, making it a much cheaper option than replacing your entire transmission.
Replace the transmission filter – Clogged filters can cause unwanted stress on a transmission. Having these replaced is fairly simple, inexpensive, and can be done while the pan gasket is off. Average cost is $250 to $350
Replacing the transmission fluid – While changing the pan gasket and filter, most of the fluid is lost. This has to be brought back up to operational level before the transmission can operate properly.
Despite routine maintenance, some transmissions will still begin to have problems over time. The first sign that you may have a transmission problem will involve your car will not shifting properly. If you sense this is happening in your vehicle, check the transmission fluid. This can be a simple fix if it is the cause of the problem.
Checking your transmissions fluid – Before you let any mechanic quote you for a transmission repair or replacement, check your transmission fluid level. A transmission with a serious problem and one that is low on fluid can often share the same symptoms. Simply topping off your fluid will be much less costly than an actual repair. There are a couple of steps involved when checking your transmission fluid:
• Find and Pull Out the Dipstick - Place the gear shift in neutral and put the parking brake on. Let your engine run until it is warm. Once this is complete, find and pull out the dipstick.
• Check Transmission Fluid Color - Take a small amount of the fluid and rub it between your fingers. The color of new transmission fluid is red and can sometimes even appear pinkish. However, as transmission fluid ages, it will transform into a darker, brownish red color. This is not an indication that the fluid is bad or needs to be replaced. If the fluid is nearly black, smells burnt or has particles in it, this is an indication that a drain and change is necessary.
• Check the Fluid Level - Once you have checked the color of the fluid, wipe the dipstick clean, place it back into the transmission and remove it one more time. Check to make sure that the fluid level is against the fill line on the dipstick. If it does happen to be low, you can replace it using a funnel. Two big things to be aware of if you do top off the transmission fluid: Only use the manufacturers recommended transmission fluid, and never over fill it.
As always, if there is something wrong with your car that requires an expert, please give us a call or request an appointment. Master Tech has been keeping Santa Fe drivers on the road for over 20 years and would be happy to help you with any automotive problem or question you may have.