In spite of recent snowstorms, it really is spring here in Denver. Aside from planting flowers and enjoying the outdoors, this is the time when you should be planning which transmission service or repair to prioritize this spring. That way, when you are ready to get out on the open highway, your car is prepared too.
Denver is the perfect place to spend a lot of time outdoors hiking, camping, fishing, and just hanging around the campfire. Driving in the mountains to get there, with the lower oxygen levels and steep grades, towing a camper or boat, and the heat of summer, all put extra strain on your vehicle. Let’s not get started on the stop and go traffic building up on I-70 and the risk that poses on a vehicle overheating.
You sure don’t want to be stuck at the campground or risk the precious time you have off on the weekends by having your transmission break down. Here are some suggestions to make sure your vehicle’s transmission is as ready to go camping as you are.
Check Your Fluid Level
Not checking your transmission’s fluid level can lead to a whole lot of problems, and the longer it’s neglected, the more expensive those problems can be to fix. Check your fluid level using the transmission fluid dipstick in the engine compartment while the engine is running and warmed up. The fluid should hit the hash marks and be bright red in most cases.
If the fluid is brown, your car doesn’t have a dipstick, or you aren’t comfortable doing this yourself, come into Advanced Transmission Center in Lakewood or Arvada, and we will perform our free TrueTest Inspection for you.
During our inspection, we use computer scanning equipment to make sure we get the most accurate diagnosis for your vehicle. Then our transmission specialists perform numerous hands-on tests to guarantee we fully understand what’s broken and what’s not before we provide our repair estimate. That includes a fluid inspection, a drivability exam, and also a leak check on one of our lifts. This is what makes us the leader in repairing Denver transmissions.
Signs you have low transmission fluid include the transmission slipping when changing gears, a few seconds delay engaging the gear, hard or erratic shifting, an overheated transmission, or complete failure of the transmission where it won’t shift at all. In each of these cases, there is a small window of time where a transmission low on fluid can be fixed by simply adding more fluid and addressing the leak that caused the situation. If a transmission continues to operate with low fluid for a prolonged period, damage to internal components of the transmission will compound as will the transmission repair bill. Avoid this situation by making sure the transmission never lacks fluid for any sustained period.
Replace Your Clutch
Consider replacing your clutch, especially if you have delayed replacement. A clutch can last from 50,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Stop-and-go city driving, towing heavy loads, and riding with your foot on the clutch can all wear your clutch faster than usual.
Signs your clutch needs replacing includes having a hard time getting it into gear, especially reverse, the clutch pedal or transmission might make noise when pushing the pedal or shifting gears, or the pedal might vibrate, pulsate, chatter, be stiff and hard to push, feel loose, or fall to the floor and stay there. Some of these symptoms may also point to an internal transmission problem or the hydraulics associated with the clutch pedal-to-clutch engagement.
Check the Differential Fluid
If you are unfamiliar with a differential, it is what allows for wheels on the same axle to spin at different speeds. This is particularly important when making turns because the outside tire must travel a longer distance (therefore a faster speed) relative to the inside tire while taking on a turn.
Maintaining the fluid level in a differential is critical. Over time the seals that keep fluid within a differential or transfer case wear out. Maybe a rock or seemingly-innocent collision may have caused an unnoticed crack or rupture. As a result, fluid could leak, and ultimately the lubrication of the components will suffer. Keep in mind, “soft” parts such as seals face tremendous wear when temperatures shift 50 degrees in a 24 hour period, which is common in Colorado, especially if a vehicle is parked in a garage.
Low fluid levels can lead to excessive heat within the differentials and/or transfer cases, ultimately causing deterioration. Also, on front-wheel drive vehicles, the differential is built into the transmission, otherwise known as transaxles. If this differential fails, the cost of repair could be significant given the substantial labor hours required to pull out, rebuild, and re-install the entire transaxle assembly. Regularly checking the fluid level can go a long way in avoiding a hefty bill.
When it comes to preventative maintenance, other than the items mentioned earlier, installing a second cooler for the transmission fluid (in addition to the radiator) can make a big difference protecting the transmission in vehicles that tow heavy loads.
Come in For an Inspection!
If you are having any of the problems discussed above, or if it’s been a while since you had your transmission inspected, give us a call and schedule an appointment. We will perform our free TrueTest inspection and give you the results, including a repair quote if necessary, so you will know exactly what the problem is and what it isn’t. If your transmission is functioning well, we might recommend a transmission service or flush to ensure the longevity (and delay a costly repair) of your transmission. We are completely transparent in every step we take, from diagnosis through repair, and you are welcome to ask all the questions you want.
Arvada/Wheat Ridge – Northwest Metro Denver: (303) 502-9565
Lakewood – Southwest Metro Denver: (303) 532-4842