Do you know how to take care of your automatic transmission?
Sure, everyone knows about checking their tires and engine oil, but not everyone knows to top off their cars with automatic transmission fluid regularly.
Automatic transmissions make the daily commute and bumper-to-bumper traffic that much more bearable, but do you know how it works? Check out the guide below to learn a little more about what’s under your car’s hood and how you should take care of it.
What is an Automatic Transmission?
The classic automatic transmission has become the standard for automobiles in the U.S. and worldwide, and over 97% of American drivers are using automatics now.
An automatic transmission helps your engine spin at the proper rate while providing power to the wheels. Transmissions use a planetary gearset to increase or decrease power without overworking the engine.
An electronic sensor called the Engine Control Unit (ECU) informs the transmission when it needs to change gears, using automatic transmission fluid to push the gears into place.
Not all automatic transmissions operate this way. For example, a Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT) does not need transmission fluid to work, and the Continuously Variable Transmission switches out the planetary gearset for belts and pulleys.
Not Just for Cars: The Automatic Transmission Motorcycle
Certain motorcycles are now being powered through an automatic transmission, giving riders all the power they need with just a throttle twist.
Semi-Clutchless motorcycles are on the rise, but Honda has had the market cornered on automatic transmissions with the Goldwing, CTX700N, and Africa Twin models offering an effortless riding experience.
Manual vs. Automatic Transmission: What’s the difference?
Before cars could shift gears on their own, drivers had to get around using a manual transmission. Shifting in these cars required drivers to select gears using a gear stick and clutch manually.
Automatic transmissions have advanced in technology enough to provide similar gas efficiency at the cost of weight compared to their older counterparts while removing the need to shift gears by hand.
Manual transmissions have become a theft deterrent in recent years due to a decrease in popularity. According to news reports, older cars with stick and clutch transmissions have thwarted would-be thieves.
Lines have blurred between the two types, as newer automatic transmissions have the ability to act as a manual transmission, giving the driver the option to shift gears how they want.
Maintain Your Fluids
Most transmissions need fluid to reduce wear and friction between gears, but automatic transmissions take this a step further by using their fluid for hydraulic pressure use to help change gears.
Suppose you don’t have your transmission fluid changed as per the manufacturer’s recommendation. In that case, the resulting wear and tear on the gears may reduce performance and eventually wear down the planetary gear set found in your transmission.
Automatic Transmission Repair
If you don’t maintain your transmission, or it suffers from premature wear, you’ll want to take it to the dealership or a local mechanic for repair Transmissions can take from a few days to a week to replace.
For the gearheads, you can order the automatic transmission parts online and repair the transmission yourself, saving money, time, and the trip to the dealership.
Enjoy the Ride
Having an automatic transmission makes driving a lot easier by forgoing the need to shift manually. Just remember to maintain your automatic transmission fluid and follow your vehicle’s recommended service guide.
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