The Transmission Mission: What You Need to Know

People often assume that the transmission of their car is too complex for them to fully grasp. But the mechanism isn’t as hard to figure out as you may think. In fact, it’s pretty vital that you understand these sorts of things. Here are the most important things to consider if you want to keep your transmission healthy.

Expert help

One of the biggest problems with transmissions isn’t something that’s directly caused by the fault of drivers. The transmission is a complex and costly thing when it comes to getting it maintained and fixed. You’d think that anyone working in the auto sphere would be able to do it. But there are plenty of cases in which someone has suffered transmission problems through the fault of a bad repair job. This is why it’s vital you review all local transmission shops and make sure you’re working with someone who’s right for the job.

Bad habits

That being said, there are plenty of things that drivers do everything which results in severe transmission trouble. This can depend on what sort of transmission you have. If you’ve got an automatic transmission, then you need to avoid manually downshifting as much as you can. This may seem obvious, but it’s the cause of many common problems! Another common bad habit for any type of transmission is found in shifting to and from reverse. If you’re not at a complete stop before you shift gears to or from reverse, then your transmission will not be happy.


If you want things to keep running smoothly, then you need to make sure the transmission fluid is in good health. If it’s not, it should be changed. A lot of people underestimate the importance of this. If fluid is low, you need to get it sorted out immediately. Many completely forget that the fluid can actually be damaged. You can tell whether or not it’s in good shape by checking its color. It should be a dark pink or reddish-brown. The odor should also be either non-existent or barely detectable. If it’s pale pink, or has yellow patches, then it’s been contaminated. If it’s looking black and smells a bit burned, then it’s been – you guessed it – burned!


Noises are one of the most tragically underestimated elements of your vehicle. You can tell an awful lot about your car’s health by simply listening to it. Unfortunately, a lot of people simply expect cars to make a lot of noise. They even expect it to make the occasional “weird” noise. But if there are noises coming from your transmission, then you need to get it seen to as soon as possible. Don’t be tempted to ignore them! Different noises will, of course, mean different things.

Manual versus automatic

When people buy a car, they often think a lot about automatic or manual transmission. (Although they usually just refer to the transmission as the gearbox in this regard!) A lot of people are going for automatic. But when something goes wrong with an automatic (which is more frequent than with manual), then it’s more expensive to repair. Manual costs less in the first place and when problems occur. Recent trends might suggest that this is changing, however.