Car Mechanics (UK) - - Automatic Gearboxes -

Un­like many pop­u­lar au­to­matic trans­mis­sions of the 1950-1980s, on mod­ern sys­tems, there is no need to ad­just kick­down ca­bles, or clean me­chan­i­cal gover­nors (which pre­vent en­gine over­speed­ing) and to set brake bands pe­ri­od­i­cally.

How­ever, mod­ern au­to­mat­ics rely still on the cor­rect quan­tity of spe­cific flu­ids to main­tain re­li­a­bil­ity. Al­ways fol­low level check ad­vice care­fully, be­cause it is easy to make mis­takes. Take ex­tra care to en­sure that you pour new fluid through the cor­rect aper­ture and do not dis­man­tle part of the gear­box un­in­ten­tion­ally, by un­do­ing an ex­ter­nal bolt in­stead of a plug.

The oil should be clean. Dark-coloured fluid in­di­cates a ma­jor in­ter­nal prob­lem, due pos­si­bly to over­heat­ing, or de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of the clutch fric­tion plates. While many trans­mis­sions are de­scribed by the car man­u­fac­tur­ers as be­ing sealed for life, it is ac­cepted that pe­ri­odic fluid changes are ben­e­fi­cial on an older ve­hi­cle.

Pay at­ten­tion on a road-test, too. Any jerks, clunks, harsh changes, or a sud­den en­gine speed rise be­tween gear changes (known as ‘flar­ing’) will need in­ves­ti­gat­ing. It is pos­si­ble that such is­sues might not il­lu­mi­nate a warn­ing lamp on the in­stru­ment panel.

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