Trans­mis­sion fluid needs re­plen­ish­ing

The Maui News - - Auto -

Ve­hi­cles re­quire all sorts of main­te­nance to op­er­ate safely and ef­fi­ciently. Con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, mo­torists need not be ama­teur me­chan­ics to keep their ve­hi­cles run­ning strong.

Ma­jor ve­hi­cle re­pairs are best left to the pro­fes­sion­als, but driv­ers can learn to iden­tify the causes of rel­a­tively mi­nor is­sues that, if left un­treated, can cause sig­nif­i­cant dam­age. For ex­am­ple, ve­hi­cles may ex­hibit cer­tain signs of that in­di­cate their trans­mis­sion fluid needs re­plen­ish­ing. In many of the fol­low­ing in­stances, driv­ers may only need to top off the trans­mis­sion fluid in their ve­hi­cles. How­ever, if is­sues per­sist, sched­ule an ap­point­ment with a me­chanic.

Over­heated trans­mis­sion: Smoke bil­low­ing from a car is a sight no driver wants to see. But as bad as it may look, smoke com­ing from a car may only in­di­cate the trans­mis­sion is over­heat­ing due to lack of fluid. Smoke also can be in­dica­tive of a host of other prob­lems, so if trans­mis­sion fluid lev­els are not low, con­sult a me­chanic. Loss of power and a burn­ing smell also may in­di­cate low trans­mis­sion fluid lev­els.

Er­ratic shift­ing: Driv­ers can no­tice how their ve­hi­cles shift whether the cars or trucks have au­to­matic or man­ual trans­mis­sions. Trans­mis­sion fluid may be low if shifts ap­pear to be de­layed or faster than nor­mal or if the ve­hi­cle ap­pears to be slam­ming into a new gear. The au­to­mo­tive ser­vice provider Aamco notes that shift­ing is­sues re­lated to trans­mis­sion fluid may in­di­cate the pres­ence of a leak. If the is­sue dis­ap­pears af­ter re­fill­ing trans­mis­sion fluid but then reap­pears shortly there­after, con­sult a me­chanic.

Paus­ing when en­gag­ing gears: A two- to three-sec­ond pause when shift­ing into drive and re­verse is an­other in­di­ca­tor that trans­mis­sion fluid lev­els are low. The au­to­mo­tive ex­perts at Fire­stone note that man­ual trans­mis­sions re­quire fluid to keep gears lu­bri­cated, while au­to­matic trans­mis­sions rely on fluid to cre­ate the hy­draulic pres­sure nec­es­sary to power move­ment within the trans­mis­sion. When fluid lev­els are low, shift­ing from park to drive or re­verse can take longer than it should.

Slip­ping trans­mis­sion: Ve­hi­cles that are not stay­ing in gear also may be in need of trans­mis­sion fluid. How­ever, a slip­ping trans­mis­sion also may in­di­cate sig­nif­i­cant dam­age to the trans­mis­sion has al­ready oc­curred, so this is­sue should be brought to the at­ten­tion of a me­chanic.

Low trans­mis­sion fluid lev­els can con­trib­ute to var­i­ous symp­toms. Keep­ing an eye on fluid lev­els and rec­og­niz­ing low fluid symp­toms can keep cars run­ning smoothly.

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