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April 29, 2016

Understanding transmissions
How do I handle mechanics who try to overcharge me for working on my car's transmission?

You say this: "That sounds like quite a bit of money without knowing exactly whatís wrong. Forgive me for not knowing much about cars, but let me see if I can describe it. Iím not quite sure whatís wrong with my transmission but I do know that when I select a gear, the transmission fluid is pumped through the electronically and hydraulically controlled valve body, which is the control center for the transmission."

Before he can start to stutter out of his dropped jaw, you continue, "As I understand it, then the oil creates a fluid coupling between the engine and the transmission by going through the torque converter passages with great force, and the way my car shifts gears is through a series of bands and servo-mechanisms controlled by electronics and hydraulic pressure."

Before he breaks down in tears, you must finish like this, "Now I also understand that for all of this to happen properly, my automatic transmission should have a smooth oil flow, good oil pressure and engine controls that are working properly."

Then, go in for the uppercut, "Now can you tell me which of those three areas is creating the problem, what the exact problem is, and what are the exact parts and labor times to fix it?"

These are some of the most common ailment(s) he might diagnose for your transmission:
  • Malfunctioning engine controls sending wrong signals to the transmission.
  • Clogged fluid filter creating low oil pressure.
  • Dirt in the valves causing transmission to not shift and stick in one gear.
  • A broken or worn out internal fluid pump or a non-functional pressure regulator can also cause the above problems.
Some of these repairs are expensive, some are not. However, you might have the psychological and financial satisfaction of knowing the mechanic thinks you know transmissions.

Tomorrow: Part II of Understanding Transmissions Ė Saving money

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