Looking up automatic transmission trouble on the internet can be a little like looking up symptoms when you're sick. Most of what you find will sound like terrible news, and it's easy to believe your only option is to replace your ailing transmission. With the cost of a complete transmission replacement exceeding the low four figures, this is rarely a welcome prognosis.
Fortunately, you can often repair automatic transmission problems, saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars versus a costly replacement. If you're worried that your transmission problems spell certain doom, it might not be game over for your car just yet.
What Makes Transmission Repair So Complicated?
Automatic transmissions are amazingly sophisticated machines. Even the earliest automatic transmissions involved a dizzying array of tiny parts, all sealed in a housing that's typically impossible to open without removing it from the vehicle. Because of this, most automatic transmission work requires removing the transmission from the car to work on it.
Fixing internal issues also requires a high degree of skill and expertise. Since it's such precise and time-consuming work, most repairs involve a full or partial rebuild. Instead of replacing a single, worn-out part, the technician will replace anything that seems worn or suspect. By rebuilding your transmission, the shop maximizes the value of your repair and ensures your transmission won't fail again.
Does Every Repair Require a Full Rebuild?
Rebuilding a transmission often costs nearly as much as replacing one. This repair option might save you some money over a brand new replacement, but it still won't be cheap. Fortunately, common symptoms of transmission trouble such as slipping or hard shifts don't necessarily indicate that a replacement or a complete rebuild is in your immediate future.
In many cases, the underlying cause of these symptoms may be low fluid levels, overheating, or a failing torque converter. Although many of these problems may eventually lead to costly internal damage, a quick repair can avoid disaster. As such, the best thing you can do is stay aware of any changes in transmission behavior.
If your car has a transmission dipstick, it might also be a good idea to check the level from time to time. Any loss of transmission fluid should be a cause for concern, but topping the level up can help you avoid more significant damage. Schedule a repair as soon as possible if you notice your fluid level dropping regularly.
Although transmission problems can be serious, they don't always require you to spend thousands of dollars on a replacement. To remedy this, simply closely monitor your transmission fluid. If things grow out of hand, take your car to an experienced shop. They can help you resolve the problem with a simple repair instead. To learn more, contact a car transmission repair service.