Transmission FAQ

Not many people understand exactly how their transmission works. We know that it shifts our cars from gear to gear, keeping us moving as quickly as we need to. In fact, most of us forget completely about our transmission until it stops working. 

Basic Parts of a Transmission

There are many small parts that comprise the transmission, but these are the basics.


·Fluid: One of the most important pieces to making your transmission run is the fluid, especially if your car is in automatic. Often, this is where the trouble happens as well. Many cars come with red transmission fluid, which is helpful to know if you are looking for a leak.


·Filter: The filter catches dirt and other debris that would normally mix with the fluid and prevent it from shifting gears properly and at the right time.


·Bell Housing: This is the cone shaped metal case that you can see when you look underneath your car. If you have a front-wheel-drive car you will find it on the side of the engine under the hood. If your car is rear-wheel-drive, the transmission will be underneath the car behind the engine.


·Gears: Every transmission has gears, whether it be automatic or manual. They are broken into main gears and planetary gears. You need all of these to be able to drive.


Once you are familiar with the basic parts, you'll have a better chance of troubleshooting your transmission problems and determining what might be involved in your transmission repair, and of course, what the transmission repair costs might add up to.


In most cases, transmission problems involve either the car not going, or not going smoothly. These two groups of problems are caused by the same faults in your transmission, so whichever your car is doing, the following applies.


Is your fluid level correct?


It's important to check your transmission fluid at least twice a year. A low fluid level can cause your car to shift poorly, and if left untreated, can lead to transmission damage and a a costly repair for the necessary transmission service. If your car seems to be losing fluid on a regular basis, you may have a leak and will need to get it serviced.


Is your transmission leaking?

Checking for leaks is simpler than you might think. The transmission is a closed system, so there are only a few places the leak can originate from. Most cars have red transmission fluid, unless it has been changed to a non-dyed fluid.. Here are a few places to check for leaks:


  • At the filler tube base.
  • At the drain hole underneath the transmission.
  • Between the transmission and the engine.
  • At the selector shaft - the rod that connects your gear shift to the transmission.
  • Speed sensor mounting point. This will either be your cable screwing into the transmission housing or an electronic sensor bolted to the housing.
  • The radiator. If your car has a transmission cooler, it's possible that a leak will cause transmission fluid to leak into the radiator fluid. They don't mix well, so you'll see it floating around in there.

Is your filter clogged?

If you haven't replaced your filter in a while, or ever, this is a good step to take before considering a transmission rebuild or replacement. The filter is vital to the transmission's performance.

Most problems that require transmission work can't be fixed by the average do-it-yourselfer. There are just too many specialized tools and pieces of equipment you'll need, and buying this expensive g ear, especially when you're likely to make mistakes in your first few repair attempts, probably isn't worth it.


However, now that you have a better idea what is causing your transmission trouble, you're armed with the right knowledge for your technician. Make sure to tell him the car's symptoms and what you found when inspecting the vehicle. If there's a leak, let the technician know where and how much is leaking.


Time for a rebuild?

Unfortunately, when your transmission gets old and worn enough, you'll have to have it rebuilt. The important thing is to

check any other possible causes to your problem before you schedule a transmission replacement. Checking your filter is a must before scheduling this service, as it has been known to fix many a problem. If your filter isn't a fix, the good news is that most shops will offer a warranty on their transmission rebuild. If you need transmission repair service, transmission work, or simply a transmission inspection, feel free to contact us by filling out the form on the right. 

`