Transmission Service & Repair in Vancouver, WA
A transmission is a complicated system that shifts the gears as a vehicle moves. A car’s automatic transmission changes gears automatically for the driver. The driver doesn’t have to shift gears manually, unlike when using a manual transmission. With a manual transmission, the driver presses a clutch pedal to unlock the gears, and then moves the car from one gear to the next by moving a gear shift inside the car manually.
Like other systems in any vehicle, the transmission must be serviced on a regular basis to work efficiently. Gaynor’s Automotive provides a quality service to keep your car on the road.
Our transmission shop provides all the necessary preventative maintenance: from a transmission fluid flush and change to any transmission repair. Our ASE-certified mechanics are experienced, professional technicians who understand your vehicle’s transmission.
Gaynor’s Preventative Maintenance
Your car’s owner’s manual will outline what is recommended as a regular maintenance schedule for your vehicle. Ask Gaynor’s service staff to add this preventative transmission check to your other maintenance visits. By combining these maintenance visits, you will save time and money by heading off more serious problems before they develop. This is one of the best ways to keep your transmission in top working order for as long as possible without facing huge repair bills.
The following are some actions that you can take regularly to ensure that you are protecting the investment that you made when you purchased your car or truck:
- Check the transmission fluid yourself regularly. It’s the same process as checking the oil on most cars. Simply put your car in park, locate the dipstick, and check the reading. A low level might indicate a leak, which is serious. The fluid should be a bright, clear color, which is usually red. If it is cloudy and dark, it should be investigated. A burnt smell means that you should get the car to your shop as soon as possible. Any of these red flags can quickly turn into expensive, time-intensive repairs.
- If you add transmission fluid yourself, check your owner’s manual first. It will outline which fluid to use.
- Make sure that your engine’s cooling system is in top working order, as this also cools the transmission fluid that pumps into the gearbox.
- Check the owner’s manual for how often to get a transmission flush. In general, it should be done annually; however, that depends on the vehicle’s normal operating temperature. As how much you drive the car also affects this, leave it to your transmission specialist to determine when to perform a transmission fluid change.
- Don’t change gears until your car has stopped completely.
- Allow your engine to warm up before driving it, especially in the winter.
- Don’t drive with your foot on the brake. If you do, you are putting unnecessary pressure on both the transmission and the engine.
- If parking on a hill, use the emergency brake.
- Many people don’t consider that riding longer than necessary with a spare tire on one of the wheels is bad for the transmission. It puts a strain on many systems in the vehicle, including the transmission.
- If your car’s transmission has a filter, it should be changed regularly. Check the owner’s manual to find out whether your make and model has a filter. Although most newer cars don’t, the only one way to know is by checking the manual.
- Towing anything with your vehicle puts a strain on the transmission. Avoid towing heavy loads, especially in hot weather.
- Don’t ignore the “check engine” light! This light can indicate problems with both your transmission and engine. If the transmission is the problem, the light means that the fluid is hotter than normal. That is never good, so get the car to your Vancouver auto shop as soon as possible.
Finally, have the transmission inspected annually for leaks and other problems. This is the best way to keep your vehicle’s transmission in top working order!
Transmission Fluid Facts
Vehicle owners often ask questions about the transmission fluid—should they change it and how often? It is an important action to keep the transmission running. Low transmission fluid can cause shifting problems, including shift failure.
Automatic transmission fluid is manufactured in bright colors because it is similar in appearance to engine oil. Transmission fluid is often red, blue/green, purple, or amber. It’s important that you don’t confuse the two oils. If you have questions, let your Gaynor’s mechanic help you. This is part of Gaynor’s preventative maintenance packages.
Check your owner’s manual, as it’s your best source of information on the recommended frequency of transmission fluid changes. An important point for owners is that transmission fluid doesn’t burn off like engine oil does. A low level of transmission fluid means there is a leak in the system somewhere. You may see the fluid on the floor under the middle or front of the car. That needs attention as quickly as possible to locate the leak, repair it, and refill the fluid.
Some vehicles might need a fluid change at 30,000 miles, while others won’t need that service until 100,000 miles. If you change cars regularly, you may never need a transmission fluid change. A fluid change might be necessary if you keep a car for an extended period or if you purchase a used car that already has high mileage on it.
Some newer cars have fitted automatic gearboxes. The transmission is almost sealed completely, and the fluid is meant to last the lifetime of the car. Continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) will need the fluid changed at some point.
Due to all these variables, changing the transmission fluid can be a confusing issue for vehicle owners. If you add this maintenance check to your other regularly scheduled service visits to Gaynor’s Automotive, you will have it covered. Don’t let owner neglect lead to the need for a new transmission!
Types of Transmission Fluid
Check your owner’s manual to ensure that you are using the correct transmission fluid.
- Automatic Transmission Fluid: This is used in cars with automatic transmissions and some modern manual transmissions. This type of transmission fluid lubricates the gears, helps with torque and clutch friction operation, cools the transmission, and assists with valve body function and brake band friction.
- Manual Transmission Fluid: This is used in many older cars but never with automatic transmissions. It is a heavier fluid at 75W to 140W.
- Synthetic Transmission Fluid: This is created through chemical reactions to maintain its effectiveness, with less oxidation or thinning in high temperatures. It doesn’t break down.
- Traditional Transmission Fluid: This is made from crude oil and hydrocarbons, according to the specifications for different kinds of vehicles.
Common Problems with Transmissions
It is difficult for a car owner to tell whether a problem is related to the transmission or to some other system. The following are some things to watch for:
- Leaks under the car
- Clutch failure
- Strange noises during gear changes
- Vibrations or grinding during gear changes
- Gear failure
- Gear popping in and out
- Gear slow to react or a squishy clutch
- Burning smell
- Automatic transmission shakes
- “Check engine” light illuminates
- Car overheating
- Noisy when the car is in neutral
Don’t ignore signs like these! Make an appointment at Gaynor’s and let a professional diagnose the problem.
Transmission Shop FAQs
What Is CVT?
When a transmission is designated as CVT, it is a Continuously Variable Transmission. This system is an advanced automatic transmission that offers exceptionally smooth gear shifts, reduced engine wear, and improved fuel economy compared to traditional automatic transmission technology.
The biggest difference between a CVT and an automatic transmission is how it shifts between gears. While a traditional automatic transmission has multiple stepped gears (or speeds) and shifts gears using hydraulic power (causing the engine to operate at varying speeds and outputs), a CVT uses a pulley system with a continuously variable drive ratio; there are no stepped gears. This means that a CVT transmission changes seamlessly through a continuous range of different gear ratios. This contrasts with the other types of transmissions that offer a limited number of gear ratios in fixed steps.
The most important thing to remember if you have a CVT-equipped vehicle is that the transmission system takes a different fluid than a standard automatic transmission.
Whether you have a CVT transmission or a standard transmission, the ASE-certified technicians here at Gaynor's Automotive can meet any of your vehicle's transmission repair and service needs.
Schedule your appointment for transmission service today!
What is the Difference Between a Manual Transmission and an Automated Manual Transmission?
When many people think of a transmission system, they simply think of two kinds: automatic and manual. So, it's very common to wonder what an automated manual transmission is, sometimes also referred to as a semi-automatic transmission in the world. Here is a breakdown of each type to explain the difference:
Manual Transmission: With a manual (aka standard) transmission system, the driver manually shifts through the gears using a gear selector (aka stick) and a clutch pedal. This system is also sometimes referred to as a stick shift.
Automated Manual Transmission: This transmission system, sometimes referred to as a direct shift gearbox or sequential manual gearbox, also uses a mechanical clutch. But this clutch is not controlled by pushing the clutch pedal like in a traditional manual transmission system. In this system, the clutch is fully automated through hydraulic or electronic controls, like paddles/buttons or a gear selector. These gear selectors are usually found on the steering wheel or in the form of additional options of movement for the gear stick (usually labeled with a plus and minus sign).
What Role Does Transmission Fluid Play in the System?
The transmission fluid in your vehicle plays a critical role in lubricating and protecting all the system's gears and delicate moving parts. This lubrication prevents the gears from slipping, reduces excess friction, and absorbs excess heat. Without a sufficient transmission fluid level, the system would quickly seize up, leading to a huge and costly problem.
There are several ways to ensure your vehicle's transmission is always adequately protected and stays in good working order: regular fluid checks and having a professional transmission fluid change or transmission fluid flush done as recommended.
Look no further than Gaynor's Automotive when you need a transmission shop you can trust. The team at each convenient location can help ensure your vehicle always has the proper amount of clean transmission fluid to keep your system running its best.
Schedule your appointment online now!
How Do I Check the Transmission Fluid Exactly?
Your vehicle's owner's manual will be the place to look for the specific instructions for checking your transmission fluid. It is usually pretty simple to check the fluid with an automatic transmission system. Alternatively, the process can be a little more difficult with a manual transmission.
How to check the transmission fluid:
Automatic transmission: Park the vehicle on a flat, even surface, run the engine and allow it to warm up, and make sure the transmission is in "Park." Usually, with an automatic transmission, you'll have a fluid dipstick to check the fluid level and quality. (Check your owner's manual for the exact dipstick location.) Make sure not to confuse the transmission fluid dipstick with the crankcase dipstick.
Manual transmission: With a manual transmission system, checking the fluid can be slightly more complicated. Some manual systems in newer vehicles now include a dipstick for the transmission fluid, but this has not become standard yet. So, if you want to check the fluid in your manual transmission system, we recommend bringing your vehicle to your closest Gaynor's Automotive location. Our technicians can check the fluid properly for you and determine if a fluid change is needed.
Remember that good, clean transmission fluid will be a bright, translucent red. If the fluid is dark, has pieces of metal or dirt in it, and/or has a strong burnt smell, it should be changed to perform correctly.
Is It Really That Important to Regularly Check the Transmission Fluid?
Yes, it definitely can be. In many cases, symptoms that indicate a transmission problem are simply caused by low or dirty transmission fluid. Regularly checking the fluid levels and refilling as necessary will ensure that your system is properly protected and catch any early issues that may not be due to a low fluid level. In those instances, the quicker you can get your vehicle into our shop, the better.
I Think My Transmission Fluid is Low. Should I Just Add More?
Only if you know exactly what type of transmission fluid to use. In more and more cases, transmission fluid is becoming highly vehicle specific. Between Mopar, ATF+4, CVT, Mercon V, etc., chances are there is a specific transmission fluid recommended for your vehicle.
You can check your vehicle owner's manual or check with the expert technicians here at Gaynor's Automotive to determine the proper fluid for your vehicle.
What Is the Difference Between a Transmission Flush and a Transmission Service (aka Transmission Fluid Change)?
These are two services that are often confused with each other. A transmission flush service uses a machine that hooks up to the system's fluid lines and uses the vehicle's power to flush the old transmission fluid out of the system. This means almost a complete fluid exchange, but the service usually does not include replacing the transmission filter (where equipped).
Alternatively, a transmission service, also known as a fluid change, involves dropping the transmission fluid pan and replacing the filter, gasket, and the fluid that drops out. While this service replaces a large percentage of the fluid, it does not replace all of it. It does, however, result in a new in-line fluid filter.
In many cases, it is better to have a transmission service done versus a full transmission flush in older engines with higher mileage. Flushing an older transmission can result in harmful sediment getting stuck in the transmission's solenoids.
How Do I Know I Have a Transmission Fluid Leak?
Usually, transmission fluid leaks will appear under the middle or front of your vehicle. So, if you find puddles of reddish/pinkish liquid (or more brownish if old and dirty) in this area, it probably is transmission fluid. When you feel transmission fluid, it will feel oily and slick on your fingers. It smells similar to engine oil unless it is dirty. Then it will smell burnt.
Another clue to a leaking transmission is in the system itself. You may notice it is not shifting as smoothly or sounds different when you shift gears. In this case, a transmission fluid leak is likely impacting how your transmission system operates.