These days, the average car is very well engineered and is designed to last for a long time without issues. However, manufacturers cannot account for all types of driving behaviour or all road conditions that a car will encounter; consequently, issues will arise from time to time. Nevertheless, you can do your part to head off some of these issues before they become major problems and can look out for early warning signs. In particular, keep an eye on the automatic transmission, as it suffers a lot of abuse. What should you be looking out for?
Checking the Fluid
Most people are used to checking the oil on the engine from time to time, but few actually do the same when it comes to the automatic transmission. Therefore, you may not know where to look and should check in the owner's manual first to see where the dipstick is located.
Quality and Quantity
The trick here is to have a closer look at the quality of the fluid and not just check its quantity. Make sure that you check it when the fluid is warm so that you get a better feel for its condition.
After you have pulled the dipstick out, you should check that the fluid is in between the two lines indicated on the stick, but also have a look at the consistency of the liquid at the same time.
You may notice that there are some tiny black specks floating in the fluid, but this is not something to be too worried about, as this is simply friction material that has worn off the clutch pack.
What to Look For
However, you may notice some shiny metallic pieces, and the fluid may be black or slimy in nature. This can be the sign of a more serious issue, especially if you notice a burning smell when you first pull the dipstick out.
These metallic specks will typically indicate that metal components are rubbing against each other inside the system. These could be bearings, carriers or other gears, but the net result is that the lubricant will be compromised and unable to do its job properly.
What to Do
Do not be tempted to flush out the system as soon as possible and replace the liquid, as most experts suggest that this is risky. Instead, you should get in touch with a mechanic to ask for their advice.
If you do flush out a transmission system without further inspection, it can cause complete failure, and it is best to get to the bottom of the issue before taking action.
So, get into the habit of checking your transmission fluid as often as you can, so that this type of situation does not materialise with time. Contact a mechanic who handles transmission repairs to learn more.