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Transmission Tips: How to Keep Your Car’s Transmission Running

BY: Larry Witherspoon Jr.
A mechanic working on a car's transmission, which you can get coverage for with an Endurance auto protection plan.

As a car owner, there are certain things you can take for granted every time you go for a drive. You expect it to start when you turn the key (or press a button), shift gears seamlessly when you put it into reverse, stop when you press the brakes, and drive smoothly wherever you go. But the truth is, cars are complex machines full of hundreds of moving parts and components, each needing to work in sync to ensure you can get from point A to point B. That’s why as a car owner, it’s your responsibility to maintain those components; otherwise, you’d be left with a vehicle that won’t be able to get you anywhere. 

In particular, one component, the transmission, is a crucial part of most vehicles. But, despite its significance in how your car operates, you may not exactly know what your car’s transmission does, which could cost you hundreds to thousands in repair bills if you’re not careful. That’s why learning more about your car’s transmission and various transmission maintenance tips is a must for any car owner

What Is a Car’s Transmission?

To get right to it, a transmission in a car is a powertrain component that converts energy (or speed) generated by your engine into torque, which then transfers to your car’s wheels—making your car move. More specifically, the transmission’s role is to ensure the gear ratio between the drive wheels and the engine changes correctly when the vehicle changes speeds. This means that, at any given speed, your transmission ensures that the right amount of power is getting to your drive wheels for accurate power transfer. 

A transmission has high and low gears in both automatic and manual setups. The job of the lower gears is to generate more torque to help move the car forward from a dead stop or lower speeds. The higher transmission gears allow the vehicle to travel at higher speeds where torque is not needed as much.

A manual transmission is a transmission that uses a clutch, flywheel, and a shifter to allow the driver to switch gears manually. Automatic transmission shift gears automatically, allowing for a more effortless driving experience. An automatic transmission is much easier to use but has more complicated internal parts, like a torque converter

5 Tips To Keep Your Transmission Running

The best way to avoid transmission problems is to follow your car’s recommended maintenance schedule, which you can find in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. While this will give you a great plan to follow throughout your ownership, there are simple car care tips you can follow to ensure your transmission runs at its best for years to come.

Check Your Transmission Fluid Level

Like other components of your vehicle, your transmission requires specialized fluid to operate efficiently. Even more so, your car’s transmission will have a recommended amount of transmission fluid to help keep the internal components adequately lubricated, preventing overheating and damage. 

You can check the fluid level and condition of your transmission fluid by pulling the transmission dipstick. This will allow you to examine your fluid level and color to see if you need to add more fluid or have your fluid flushed. If your fluid is low, you must add more fluid slowly to get to the proper specification. If your fluid is a dark brown or has a burnt smell, you may need to have your transmission fluid flushed.

Use the Correct Transmission Fluid

Whether you are topping off your vehicle’s transmission fluid or doing a complete fluid replacement job, you will want to ensure you are using the correct fluid. The manufacturer’s recommended fluid type will be found in your owner’s manual and can also be found online from a trusted source. 

Using the wrong transmission fluid, such as using a specifically formulated automatic transmission fluid in a manual vehicle, can lead to transmission problems or complete transmission failure.

Follow the Recommended Transmission Fluid Service Interval

A mechanic changing the fluid out of an automatic transmission vehicle.

The transmission fluid in your vehicle has a certain lifespan and is designed to break down over time. Your owner’s manual will find the recommended service interval for how often you should get a transmission fluid change for your specific vehicle. This is a schedule of how often you should have a transmission flush and have your transmission filter changed to keep your transmission healthy

Don’t Change Gears While Driving

This recommendation is two-part, depending on what type of transmission you have. 

First, if you have an automatic transmission, you will want to ensure you only shift your vehicle to park and to drive with the car at a complete stop. Shifting gears in an automatic transmission while driving can damage or ruin your transmission.

For those with a manual transmission, you will have to shift gears while driving, and you will need to do so correctly. Shifting gears without pressing your clutch or at the wrong speed can also damage your transmission.

Have Your Transmission Inspected Yearly

Lastly, you will want to have your transmission inspected yearly by a professional transmission shop to ensure it is in good condition. This is especially true if you tow heavy loads, are in between transmission services, or are experiencing any transmission troubles. Even if your transmission seems fine, it is always worth having it checked for any potential future problems.

Can My Warranty Help with Transmission Repairs?

Both factory warranties and extended warranties are designed to help you, as a car owner, avoid paying for costly repairs caused by manufacturing defects and unexpected breakdowns or repairs—including transmission repairs. More specifically, powertrain warranties, whether from your automaker or a third-party warranty provider, will provide coverage for your car’s transmission and the engine, drive systems, and other critical components. 

But, while various warranties from all kinds of providers can help protect your transmission, only an Endurance auto protection plan can give you complete peace of mind. That’s because, with Endurance, you’ll be getting award-winning coverage and help from an award-winning customer care specialist any time you need for almost any kind of vehicle. So whether you have an old, high-mileage vehicle, one with a salvage or rebuilt title, a Candian Grey Market vehicle or even if you use yours for rideshare or delivery services, Endurance can have you covered. 

You’ll also have industry-leading benefits, including complimentary 24/7 roadside assistance and towing, plus trip interruption coverage and rental car reimbursements, regardless of your plan. But that’s not all, as you’ll also be eligible for a full year of Endurance Elite Benefits, which include even more perks and savings, including tire replacements or repairs, collision discounts and more. 

Keeping Your Transmission In Check with Endurance

Whether it’s your transmission, engine, or cooling system, regular maintenance is vital to keeping your car running at its best. But, while keeping up with your vehicle’s maintenance schedule is the best way to protect your vehicle from unexpected repairs, it can’t prevent them all. That’s why having an Endurance auto protection plan is a must for any car owner.

With Endurance, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing your car’s vital components, like its transmission, engine and more, will be covered from the cost of unexpected breakdowns and repairs. Even more so, you’ll be able to take your car to any ASE Certified mechanic or automotive repair shop of your choice, all while enjoying complimentary benefits like 24/7 roadside assistance and more. And every Endurance plan also makes you automatically eligible for an entire year’s worth of Elite Benefits so you can enjoy even more coverage and savings.

Request a free quote online to learn more about how an Endurance auto protection plan can or call our customer care team at (800) 253-8203. Or, to find even more articles on topics such as DIY car tips, auto expert buying guides, extended warranty coverage comparisons and others, visit the Endurance blog.

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