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Keep Your Engine Purring with a Transmission Flush

Keep your engine purring with a transmission flush

Most vehicle owners usually focus on inspections, oil changes, battery replacements, tire care, brake service, and air filter checks. Indeed, every vehicle requires family care routines for optimal performance. However, one vital service consideration often overlooked by most car owners is transmission maintenance–specifically a transmission flush.

Most transmission issues often end in replacement, costing thousands of dollars. But you can perform preventative services such as transmission flushes to keep your transmission in top-notch condition.

Here’s what you should know about keeping your engine purring with a transmission flush.

But before then, let’s check out what a transmission does in your vehicle.

The Transmission

The transmission is one of the hardest-working and complex components in a vehicle’s engine. It is responsible for shifting gears within the motor and serves as the powerhouse of any vehicle.

Transmissions generally require proper maintenance, which includes constant lubrication via a transmission fluid. The latter protects the transmission from oxidative reactions as well as from the wear and tear that occurs due to the constant shifting and driving.

Why is a Transmission Flush Necessary?

The transmission fluid helps regulate temperature while keeping every component within the gear mechanism working seamlessly with zero friction.

However, since transmission fluids absorb heat when regulating the temperature within the gear system, the fluids start breaking down and burn over time. Waiting too long for a transmission flush may cause your transmission to deteriorate.

Transmission fluid flushes are necessary since they help prevent transmission issues. They work to ensure your vehicle is in peak condition at all times.

A transmission flush involves cleaning out old, dirty, and lackluster fluid from your transmission system and replacing it with fresh and clean transmission fluid. This process keeps your automobile healthy for a long time.

An ideal transmission flush should generally involve a transmission servicing such as:

  • Installing a brand-new air transmission filter
  • Installing a brand-new pan gasket
  • Fluid drain and removal from within the system, etc.

A transmission flush eliminates the need for costly transmission repair. It boosts overall engine performance while allowing your vehicle to shift gears smoothly and easily.

When is the Perfect Time for A Transmission Flush?

“But when exactly do I need a transmission fluid flush?” you may be asking. There is no one-fits-all answer for this because the measure of this service depends significantly on your driving patterns as well as your automobile.

Check the Owner’s Manual

However, you can get an insight by checking your owner’s manual. The manual should indicate the number of miles you need to cover in-between performing maintenance transmission flushes.

But if you can’t find any transmission flush guidelines in your owner’s manual, don’t fret. Your car engine could be one of the few that comes with a ‘lifetime’ transmission fluid, especially if the transmission is sealed.

Nevertheless, even sealed transmissions can permit contaminants into the workings of your vehicle and cause an issue or two, albeit at a much slower rate than traditional car engines.

Therefore, you may still require a transmission flush every few years. Your local mechanic or the official site of your vehicle manufacturer may share some insight.

Transmission Fluid Checks

You can also perform transmission fluid checks which is another accurate and incredibly easy way to determine if you need a transmission flush. 

Get a professional mechanic to look under your hood and check your transmission fluid’s overall status. You need to verify that the transmission fluid levels are not overly full but full enough.

You need to also confirm that the transmission fluid is not dirty or discolored by checking the fluid color. It must also be doing its job, including maintaining proper temperatures within the system.

However, you may not be capable of performing this examination or evaluation unless you are a certified engineer or mechanic. If you aren’t, experts highly recommend that you take your vehicle to the nearest local workshop.

Get the mechanic to help you check your vehicle’s transmission fluid. You can also make this request every time you change your oil. This helps you stay far ahead of necessary transmission flushes while ensuring your vehicle receives proper care.

The Benefits of a Transmission flush

The benefits of transmission fluid flushes cannot be overstated. In many cases, a vehicle’s transmission starts showing signs of wear and tear after every 30,000 miles.

Performing a transmission flush eliminates dirty fluid from the system and replaces it with clean fluids. The new, clean fluid re-lubricates the entire transmission system and keeps your engine purring. In other words, your vehicle runs much better as a result of this transmission service.

Here are the unique benefits of a transmission flush:

Prevents Overheating

Metal shavings and other particles from within the transmission eventually accumulate in your vehicle’s transmission fluid. If nothing is done, the transmission and fluid start heating up, causing the particles to burn and overheat every internal component within the transmission system.

This can cause system failures, resulting in costly repairs. A transmission flush prevents these issues.

Boosts Fuel Efficiency

An optimally-functioning transmission places less strain on the other mechanical components in the vehicle. Reducing the amount of friction that rotating and moving parts produce results in an increase in the amount of energy that is transferred to the wheels.

This significantly improves fuel economy and saves you money on gas down the road.

Enhances Gear Operation

An overheating transmission turns the transmission fluid into a gooey, thick sludge. This development of clogged gears makes it difficult to shift between speeds.

A timely transmission flush eliminates or prevents this condition and improves gear operation.

Take Care of Your Transmission

Transmissions are an incredibly large part of the movement of any vehicle. If your transmission fails to function, your vehicle goes nowhere.

You can ensure the continuous functioning of your transmission by performing a transmission flush from time to time. A transmission flush helps prevent overheating, improves fuel efficiency, and enhances gear operation, among several other benefits.

Get a professional mechanic to check your transmission today to determine if you need a transmission flush. It could save you the thousands of dollars required to repair or replace a broken-down transmission.

Visit our news section every week for more insights, tips, and advice on transmissions. Gearstar specializes in building automatic high performance transmissions, built with phenomenal quality by expert builders. Contact us today for questions or inquiries about our transmissions, converters and controllers.

Transmission Fluid Color: What Do They Mean?

Transmission fluid color: What do they mean?

Do you know how revealing transmission fluid color is? It can help diagnose transmission issues while showing the overall health of your vehicle’s transmission.

The color of your car’s clean and fresh transmission fluid is usually bright red for a reason. But over time, the bright red color changes to maroon and brown. Should you be very concerned when this happens? This article will reveal the answer you need.

The Importance of Transmission Fluid

The transmission of your vehicle is highly essential in getting it into motion. Although the engine is primarily responsible for creating power, the transmission’s job is to transmit that power to the wheels. 

The transmission requires adequate fluid to reduce the friction between gear sets, create pressure, clean internal components, and prevent overheating. The fluid helps protect every component within a transmission system and keeps it free from dirt.

Checking the Transmission Fluid Color

You can determine the color of your vehicle’s transmission fluid in your transaxle or transmission by following these steps:

  1. Open your car’s hood and locate the transmission dipstick
  2. Pull out the dipstick from the filler tube
  3. Determine the color of the fluid

Check the fluid at the end of the dipstick and try to determine its color. You can place some drops of the transmission fluid on a clean white sheet of paper to obtain a more accurate reading.

There is an automatic transmission fluid color chart that you can utilize. Match the color of the transmission fluid to the fluid color chart. This will give you an accurate explanation and what you need to do.

But first, let’s check out the various colors of transmission fluid that you may likely come across.

Transmission Fluid Color and What It Means

Red

Most brand-new transmission fluids have this color. It shows the fluid is not contaminated or dirty. The see-through, viscous transmission fluid has not oxidized and can efficiently protect the transmission and facilitate shifting gears.

This implies that no action is required whatsoever when the transmission fluid still shows this color.

Pink

Your transmission fluid should never be pink. Transmission fluid with this color implies the presence of engine coolant or water. This diluted transmission fluid can easily damage your transmission.

Therefore, when you notice that the transmission fluid color is pink, take your vehicle to your local mechanic’s workshop. Get the fluid drained from your transmission with the assistance of a professional technician.

Orange

If the transmission fluid looks orange, it is still in good working condition. However, it is an indication that the fluid is getting older.

You don’t need to change it yet as long as you can see through the transmission fluid with its orange hue. You can still drive your vehicle around for some time – i.e., a few more days or weeks – before flushing out the transmission fluid and refilling the gear mechanism.

Light Brown

When your transmission fluid has a light brown hue, it also shows that it is getting older. The fluid may still be translucent and pose no danger to your transmission, meaning you don’t have to change it yet.

Light brown transmission fluid is not really a sign of problems. You can still drive your car a bit longer before changing the fluid.

Brown/Dark Brown

However, as soon as the hue of the transmission fluid in your vehicle turns brown or dark brown, you have to change it. This usually occurs after your vehicle must have done up to 30,000 miles.

Brown or dark brown transmission fluid is no longer translucent but opaque. You can no longer see through the transmission fluid anymore. It is oxidizing – i.e., the fluid is getting filled with air bubbles which prevent the transmission fluid from doing its job effectively – and is no longer viscous.

So, change it right away as soon as you notice that your transmission fluid has taken on this color.

Other Ways to Check the Condition of Your Transmission Fluid

There are other ways to determine the overall condition of your transmission fluid.

The Smell of the Transmission Fluid

You can smell the transmission fluid. If it has a burnt odor, it simply means that the fluid is completely oxidized and overheated

The outcome is that the fluid offers poor lubrication, increased heat, and friction. This may result in excessive wear and severe damage to seals and internal components.

In fact, in many instances, burnt and smelling transmission fluid already implies that the gear mechanism itself has suffered some internal damage. You need to change that transmission fluid as soon as possible and have the technician check out the overall condition of the transmission itself.

The Blotter Test

Place a few drops of the transmission fluid on a paper towel. Wait for about 30 seconds. If the fluid is light brown or red or spreads out across the paper towel, no further action is required. The transmission fluid is in excellent condition.

But if the transmission fluid does not spread across the paper towel or looks dark, it implies that it has completely oxidized. You will need a filter and fluid change or have to flush out the transmission fluid from your vehicle.

Consistency is Key

Your vehicle’s transmission fluid color is one of the best ways to determine the overall health of your vehicle. You may also consider its smell and consistency in order to buttress what you suspect.

Most transmission fluids are red, though it is also not uncommon to get some in yellow or even blue. As the transmission fluid ages, the color changes gradually.

Therefore, consider changing the transmission fluid when its color has become dark brown. By protecting your vehicle’s transmission via maintenance, you prolong the transmission’s life span. You also prevent expensive rebuilds or replacements.

Make sure you don’t settle for less than the best transmission fluid for your car for optimum performance. For questions or inquiries, and all things transmission or converter, visit our resources and support page for tips, tricks, and how-tos. You may also contact Gearstar using our online form or give us a call. We will be glad to assist you!

Yes, A Transmission Fluid Change is Needed (And Here’s Why)

Yes, a transmission fluid change is needed

If you notice your transmission slipping or have difficulty shifting gears, it may be time for a transmission fluid change. Over time, the fluid can become dirty or low, causing problems with your car’s transmission. A transmission fluid change is a relatively simple and inexpensive maintenance task that can help keep your car in good working order.

What is a Transmission?

A transmission is a gearbox that connects the engine to the drive wheels of a vehicle. The purpose of the transmission is to transfer power from the engine to the drive wheels while also providing a means to change gears, depending on the speed and load. Transmission fluid helps to lubricate and cool the transmission while preventing overheating and other serious problems.

When performing maintenance on your transmission, one of the things you should do is a transmission fluid change in order to ensure that your vehicle’s transmission is not only adequately lubricated and cooled but to keep it running at its optimal performance. Additionally, here are some other reasons:

  • Keeps components lubricated
  • Provides cooling
  • Prevents oxidation
  • & much more!

How Often Should You Change Transmission Fluid?

Most carmakers recommend that you change your car’s transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. However, this interval may be shorter or longer depending on the make and model of your vehicle as well as your driving habits.

For example, a person who uses their vehicle for light driving may only need to get a transmission fluid change much later. In contrast, a person who is constantly on the road traveling (e.g., heavy city driving) would likely need one sooner.

Additionally, deciding when to get your vehicle’s transmission fluid changed can be dependent on if it’s automatic or manual. Different transmissions may fall on different schedules for maintenance.

How to Check a Car’s Transmission Fluid Levels

To check your car’s transmission fluid levels, start by finding the dipstick. Typically, it will be located near the front of the engine on the driver’s side. Once you’ve found it, pull it out and wipe it off with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Then, place the dipstick all the way back into the transmission and pull it out again. Look closely to see where the fluid level is on the dipstick. If it’s below the “full” line, add more transmission fluid until it reaches that point. Finally, replace the dipstick and screw the cap back on.

When observing the transmission fluid, make sure to look at the color. Your transmission fluid should be bright red, while a darker color indicates that it’s time for a transmission fluid change. Sometimes you might find the fluid to be dirty or contain debris particles. This is another sign that your car needs new fluid.

When finished, take your car for a spin around the block to see if the gears are shifting correctly and to make sure the vehicle is running as intended.

Warning: Always check to ensure the engine and other components have cooled down before working on your car!

It’s advised to check transmission fluid levels while the emergency brake is set and the vehicle is parked on an even surface at operating temperature for best results. Also, place a jack under the car to raise it up, which will allow you to work under the vehicle.

Which is Better? Flush or Drain?

A transmission flush is when all the fluid in the transmission is flushed out and replaced with new fluid. This is generally considered to be a more thorough way of changing the transmission fluid, as all the old fluid and any debris that may have collected in the system is completely removed.

A transmission drain is simply draining the fluid out of the transmission pan and then replacing it with new fluid. This will generally remove most of the old fluid, but there may still be some debris left in the system.

If unsure, it’s best to speak with a professional mechanic or read the owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer suggests for your vehicle type and model.

Types of Transmission Fluid

There are many different types of transmission fluid on the market, including automatic transmission fluid (ATF), continuously variable fluid (CVT), and manual transmission fluid (MTF). ATF is the most common type of transmission fluid, while MTF is typically used in manual transmissions. CVT fluid can often be found in modern vehicles with advanced technologies equipped.

Likewise, there are different blends available, such as synthetic. Although it costs more, synthetic transmission fluid has quickly become a popular choice amongst car enthusiasts due to it providing better performance.

The Benefits of a Transmission Fluid Change

By changing the fluid in your transmission, you’ll get a host of benefits. Not only will your car be overall healthier, but it will also gain a ton of other perks:

1. Improved transmission performance

2. Reduced wear and tear on transmission components

3. Extended transmission life

4. Improved fuel economy

5. Smoother shifting operation

6. Better fuel economy

Additives, Age, and Quality

Additives are chemicals that are added to transmission fluid to improve its performance. Age can affect the quality of transmission fluid, as it can break down over time and become less effective. Using high-quality transmission fluid can help extend the life of your transmission and improve its performance.

When choosing transmission fluid, always consider these factors. For example, with older vehicles, it might be best to use a mineral-based oil fluid.

Risking your transmission by putting the wrong type in can put a dent not just in your car but in your wallet too!

Fresh Fluid for Smooth Ridin’

There are many reasons to change your transmission fluid, especially if you haven’t done so in a while. Transmission fluid breaks down over time and can start to cause problems. Fresh transmission fluid can help prevent these problems and keep your car running smoothly. As mentioned earlier, when in doubt, always speak to a professional mechanic and read the owner’s manual.

For more tips and insights on all things transmission, check out Gearstar’s news section each week! If you’re looking to upgrade or rebuild your car’s transmission, we are your one-stop shop for Ford, GM, and Mopar automatic high-performance transmissions and torque converters. You can find installation resources and other how-to materials on our support page.

8 Basic Automatic Transmission Maintenance Tips

8 basic automatic transmission maintenance tips

Transmission maintenance is important because it can help prevent future car problems, extend the life of your transmission, and improve your vehicle’s overall performance.

But wait, that’s not all! Transmission maintenance can help you avoid costly repairs, and you’ll be saving a lot of money long-term! Now, who doesn’t love saving money? We sure do!

Transmission Maintenance Tips You Need to Know

To keep your car happy and your wallet full, here are eight basic transmission maintenance tips.

1. Allow Your Engine to Warm Up

First, always let your engine warm-up for a few minutes before driving off.

If you don’t, your car will be running on cold transmission fluid, and the transmission itself will have to work harder to do its job. It’s not good for your transmission to be placed under this type of stress, especially during the winter months when it’s freezing outside.

You should also avoid accelerating too fast or too hard until the transmission has had a chance to properly warm itself up. The time it takes a transmission to warm up can be anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes. However, if you have a newer car, your engine may only need a mere 30 seconds.

2. Be Wary of Driving on Spares or Mismatched Tires

Avoid driving on a spare, small, or mismatched tire for a long period of time. Driving under these conditions can cause premature wear on the transmission and jeopardize the safety of yourself and other passengers sharing the road.

If you have a flat tire, it’s crucial to replace it as soon as possible. However, sometimes this isn’t always possible right away for many reasons (e.g., cannot afford to or the local tire shop is closed). If you can’t replace the flat tire right away, allow your car to sit in a safe place until you can get a permanent tire.

3. Annual Transmission Inspections

As part of your transmission maintenance, it’s wise to have your transmission inspected by a professional mechanic for leaks, creaks, and other potential ongoing issues on an annual basis (one year). This will help to ensure that your transmission lasts for as long as possible.

Additionally, be sure to regularly check your transmission fluid level and top it off if necessary!

Remember: If you notice any strange noises or behaviors, don’t hesitate to get it checked out – it’ll save you a lot of money, worry, and stress down the road (no pun intended)!

4. Perform a Transmission Flush

As one of the most critical parts of a car, your transmission needs to be taken care of in order to keep your vehicle running smoothly. One way to take care of your transmission is to get it flushed regularly, which would be approximately once every year. More than likely, this type of transmission maintenance will be included as a part of a transmission inspection service.

A transmission flush is performed by flushing out the old fluid and replacing it with new fluid. This helps to keep the transmission clean and running smoothly. It also helps to prevent transmission problems later on.

If you’re not sure whether or not your transmission needs to be flushed, it’s always best to consult with a professional mechanic. A mechanic will be able to take a look at your car and let you know if a flush is required.

Furthermore, you can also read through your owner’s manual to know the recommended time for a transmission flush specific to your vehicle.

5. Picking the Right Transmission Fluid

Be sure to choose the correct transmission fluid for your vehicle. Placing the wrong type of fluid in your car can cause significant damage to the transmission, such as overheating, which can cause transmission failure. Again, it’s always best to read your owner’s manual or talk to a professional mechanic to ensure you’re using the right type.

There are several different types of transmission fluids, each designed for specific types of transmissions. For example, there are fluids specifically for automatic transmissions, as well as fluids for manual transmissions.

Once you’ve chosen the correct type of transmission fluid, it’s important to also select the right brand. Not all brands are the same, and some may be better suited for your car than others.

6. Regular Transmission Fluid Checks

A car transmission is a complex system made up of many different parts, and transmission fluid is essential to its proper function. Over time, transmission fluid eventually breaks down and becomes contaminated, which can lead to problems. That’s why it’s always important to regularly check your transmission fluid and change it as needed.

When checking the transmission fluid, there are several things to keep in mind:

  • Low Fluid: Indicates a possible leak.
  • Dark Fluid: Not normal; transmission fluid should be bright red.

7. Change the Transmission Filter

If your car has a transmission filter, get in the habit of changing it on a regular basis because it will help keep your transmission healthy. A lot of people forget about this filter, but it’s actually an essential part of your car’s transmission maintenance.

The process of changing your transmission filter may vary depending on your car. Generally, it’s recommended that a filter be changed out every 30,000 miles or 30 months.

8. Service the Cooling System

If your engine’s cooling system isn’t functioning correctly, it could create other issues for your transmission in time.

For example, if the coolant level gets too low, it can cause the engine to overheat. This can cause serious damage, including warping the cylinder head and damaging the transmission itself. In extreme cases or a worst-case scenario, it can even lead to a fire.

Practice Routine Transmission Maintenance Today

Transmission maintenance, such as getting the cooling system serviced or getting routine checks to identify potential leaks, is essential because it helps to ensure that your car’s transmission is working correctly and as intended. By keeping the transmission in good condition, you can avoid costly repairs and extend the life of your vehicle.

While typically performed by a qualified mechanic, you can also do some simple maintenance tasks at home to help keep your transmission in top condition for many years!

For more information, check out our news section for weekly posts on transmissions, converters and controllers, tips, and more.

Gearstar takes pride in building custom automatic transmissions from start to finish by a single builder. If you want more resources, visit our support page for a list of FAQs to get you started for installations, instructions, and all things transmission. Still have questions? Reach out to us anytime, and we will be glad to assist you.

10 Signs of a Bad Transmission (And what to do)

10 signs of a bad transmission

One of the most disheartening things any car owner can hear is that you need a brand-new transmission. This is why detecting the signs of a bad transmission early on or at an early stage can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It can also help avert more severe damage to your automobile, which will ultimately cost you a lot more of your hard-earned money.

This is why it is highly crucial to learn how to recognize the telltale or warning signs of a bad transmission. You also need to know precisely what to do as soon as you experience any of the top 10 signs of transmission trouble.

But before, what will happen if your transmission goes bad? Find out below.

What Happens When Your Vehicle’s Transmission Goes Bad?

When your vehicle’s transmission goes bad – or ‘goes out,’ as they say – you start experiencing some terrible or adverse effects on how your vehicle operates.

For instance, you start experiencing different shift patterns or vibrations that weren’t there before the transmission issue came up. These could be the overall effects of breaking down one or more gears within the transmission system. This may – or may not – be associated with fluid pump issues.

You can only confirm the extent of damage or if your transmission has gone bad by having it checked by a certified mechanic.

Top 10 Signs of a Bad Transmission

1. Burning Smell

When you notice or perceive burning smells from your vehicle, it may imply that your transmission is overheating. It could also indicate that the transmission fluid is burnt or old.

What to Do: Visit the nearest auto repair shop as soon as possible.

2. Slipping Gears

Driving with a slipping transmission is dangerous and never recommended, no matter how skillful you think you are with your car. Gears that impulsively slip in and out of place while driving can be alarming and scary.

The telltale sign that your transmission has slipped is when your car’s engine revs during a gear change. This can be compared to that feeling you experience when driving over ice with zero traction on the road.

Other symptoms that inform you your transmission may have slipped include strange noises, delays in acceleration, or a harsh response anytime you attempt to shift gears.

What to Do: Check the transmission fluid level and then top it off as required. Use only the recommended type of transmission fluid for your specific transmission design.

3. Strange Noises When in Neutral

When weird noises emanate from your car when it is in neutral, it is a sure sign that your transmission has issues. The noise may only indicate that your vehicle needs nothing but a new transmission fluid. A professional can help you flush and replace the old transmission fluid with a new one.

But the noise could indicate something much more severe than getting a new transmission fluid.

What to Do: Get your vehicle to your local auto mechanic for a proper diagnosis to confirm what exactly is wrong with it.

4. Refusal to Smoothly Switch Gears

Have you noticed your car struggling or refusing to change gears? The problem may be from your transmission system.

At times, incorrect types or low transmission fluids may be the culprit behind your vehicle’s refusal to switch gears smoothly.

What to Do: Get a professional mechanic to look over your transmission and restore it to its former glory.

5. Leaking Fluid

One of the most uncomplicated transmission issues to notice or identify is leaking transmission fluid.

If you suddenly notice the appearance of a sweet-smelling red fluid beneath your vehicle in a parking lot or garage, there is trouble.

What to Do: Get a certified mechanic to check the transmission fluid level. Let the professional inspect the transmission for possible leaks.

6. Dragging Clutch

When a clutch drags, it fails to disengage the clutch disk from your vehicle’s flywheel whenever you press your clutch pedal.

This problem causes the clashing of gears while the vehicle moves when shifting gears. The misplacement of the clutch or mechanical failure causes dragging clutches.

What to Do: Get a specialist to adjust the clutch or correct the mechanical failure as soon as possible.

7. Unusual Sounds

Whining, humming, or clunking noises are unusual sounds no one wants to hear in their vehicles. Your car may be emitting those strange noises for several reasons. The only way to confirm this is by getting a certified professional to check your vehicle’s transmission.

What to Do: Get a certified technician to check and diagnose your transmission, tracing the noises to what is generating them.

8. No Longer Responding

If your vehicle suddenly refuses to respond whenever you try to change gears, especially from ‘Park’ to ‘Drive’ – there’s an issue with your transmission.

What to Do: Get your vehicle to the local auto repair shop for transmission service.

9. Shaking or Grinding

Shaking or grinding is a symptom more commonly experienced in vehicles with automatic transmissions. There is shaking or grinding whenever the gears change. This shows that your transmission has a severe problem that must be attended to as soon as possible.

What to Do: Get your vehicle to the nearest auto repair shop and get the transmission carefully inspected right away.

10. Check Engine Light

When the check engine light on your dashboard lights up like a Christmas tree, it indicates several car problems, which could be severe or minor.

But do not take any chances whenever the check engine light on your car’s dashboard lights up the entire place.

What to Do: Get your vehicle to the nearest auto repair shop as soon as possible. Let the certified technician find the root cause behind the lighting up of the check engine light.

Conclusion

No one enjoys having car issues, especially if it has to do with its transmission. Diagnosing car problems on your own can be tricky if you do not have the correct information or know what to do with it.

But luckily for you, you just went through the top 10 signs of a bad transmission and the vital steps to take if you experience any of them at any particular time. Hopefully, this information will come in handy someday, and you will be glad you knew the exact steps to take to prevent a total breakdown of your transmission.

If you found this information useful or helpful, kindly share it with your colleagues and friends who own cars. Additionally, contact Gearstar for high-performance automatic transmissions, built by trusted professionals you can count on for the quality you deserve! We offer a range of transmissions, including Ford, GM, and Mopar.

Good luck and safe driving!

5 Symptoms of a Bad Coolant Temperature Sensor

Coolant Temperature Sensor - Gearstar

A coolant temperature sensor remains one of the most vital engine management sensors. Learn why and symptoms of a bad sensor.

The coolant temperature switch – otherwise known as the coolant temperature sensor – is primarily responsible for monitoring the engine coolant’s temperature. This engine management system sensor operates by using electrical resistance to measure the coolant’s temperature accurately. 

The signal generated is automatically transmitted to the computer so that necessary changes can be made. This includes changing the engine’s timing as well as the fuel calculations for premium performance. Most automobile engines require more fuel when they are cold but require less when fully warmed up.

If the computer detects that the engine’s temperature is too high, it will automatically scale back engine performance settings. This occurs to prevent overheating, which can damage the engine severely.

As you can see, temperature plays such a crucial role in the performance calculations of your engine. And this implies that if the coolant temperature sensor malfunctions, it may translate very quickly to engine performance hiccups.

This post discusses some of the common symptoms of a bad coolant temperature sensor. These symptoms should alert you of potential problems with your automobile and push you to have it checked out thoroughly.

Symptoms of a Bad Coolant Temperature Sensor

Overheating Engine 

If you notice that your engine overheats, the coolant temperature sensor could be the problem. At times, the coolant temperature switch may fail such that it starts transmitting hot signals permanently. 

This causes the computer to erroneously counterbalance the signal, thereby causing the engine to misfire or overheat. 

Poor Fuel Economy

Poor fuel economy is another symptom that indicates your coolant temperature sensor is malfunctioning. 

If the coolant temperature sensor malfunctions, it can transmit a false signal to the computer. And the response of the computer may unbalance the timing and fuel calculations. 

It is also common for a coolant temperature sensor to fail without warning and send permanently cold signals to the computer. The computer mistakenly assumes the engine is cold, even when it is not. 

This will cause the automobile to use up more fuel than is necessary, thereby reducing fuel economy. And this will ultimately hamper engine performance.

‘Check Engine Lights Turns On

If the ‘Check Engine’ light suddenly comes on, this could imply a hitch with the coolant temperature sensor. If the computer detects an unsavory development with the sensor’s circuit or signal, it may set off the ‘Check Engine’ light. And the light will not go off until a specialist readily addresses the issue. 

Black Smoke Emitted from the Engine

Few drivers hardly notice this crucial coolant temperature sensor symptom. But if your vehicle’s exhaust starts emitting black smoke, the coolant temperature sensor could be the culprit.

The coolant temperature sensor can fail and transmit cold signals to the computer. This action confuses the computer and stimulates it to enrich the fuel mixture unnecessarily. This can cause the fuel mixture to be vibrant such that during combustion, the fuel can’t be adequately consumed within the chamber.

This leads to the burning up of your vehicle’s exhaust pipe, thereby causing black smoke. This can be so severe that driving the vehicle in such a condition may result in environmental or excessive air pollution.

Poor Idling

A faulty sensor can cause the fuel mixture to adjust. This causes the engine to shake or vibrate when the vehicle is at low speed and can even bring about strange behaviors, power losses, etc.

Engines are highly sensitive, especially to inappropriate air-fuel mixtures at idle. This is a pointer that something is wrong with your coolant temperature sensor and must be checked out by a certified professional.

Defective Electrical Cooling Fans

Some vehicles’ coolant temperature sensors control the electric cooling fans. Most automobiles come with two different temperature sensors for the fans, engine management and dashboard gauge.

However, if your vehicle only has a single coolant temperature sensor and it becomes faulty, your electrical fans may not function at all.

Where is the Coolant Temperature Sensor Located?

Different car manufacturers and brands have distinct ways of installing the coolant temperature sensor. Its exact location also depends on its overall design.

However, the coolant temperature sensor is often located right on the cylinder head or engine block. You will find it installed conveniently on a plastic hose on the coolant’s inlet.

Some automobiles come with more than one coolant temperature sensor. This is because sometimes, these different switches can be used to send signals to the cooling fan control, dashboard, and control unit of the engine system.

If your vehicle comes with two sensors, the one that transmits signals to the control unit is often known as the coolant temperature sensor.

Diagnosing a Malfunctioning Coolant Temperature Sensor

Diagnosing should be the job of a certified technician. However, this shouldn’t stop you from examining the engine component if you suspect it is malfunctioning.

You may have to get your hands on a repair manual for the model of your vehicle. This will enable you to find the measurement values that a functioning coolant temperature switch should exhibit.

Check the service manual of your vehicle to locate your coolant temperature sensor. When you set eyes on it, disconnect the connector plugs.

If your sensor has two pins, determine the ohm measure between the pins. Then compare the value with the correct ohm-value – at a given temperature – in your repair manual. If the value does not tally, it means you need to replace the coolant temperature sensor.

If the values add up or tally, consider checking the connectors and wirings between the sensor and the engine’s control module.

You can also make use of an OBD2 Scanner to look for related trouble codes. Check the live data to see the temperature of the sensor. If the temperature is off the range, check the wirings of the sensor or replace the engine component.

Conclusion

The coolant temperature switch remains one of the most vital engine management sensors. This is because it plays a crucial role in numerous calculations that ultimately affect your engine’s performance.

This is why you shouldn’t waste any time if you suspect that the coolant temperature sensor is malfunctioning. Get a professional or experienced technician to inspect your vehicle as soon as possible.

The technician should be able to analyze or diagnose your automobile and determine if there will be a need for the replacement of the coolant temperature sensor or not.

 

6 Ways to Prolong the Life of Your Performance Transmission

6 Ways To Prolong The Life Of Your Performance Transmission-Gearstar

There are several ways to prolong the life of your performance transmission, and if you employ them, it’ll save you from making huge expenses in the long run. A transmission is one of the most expensive components in a car and as such, a replacement could take a huge chunk out of your wallet.

And that may be the least to worry about since serious issues that arise in your transmission may be difficult to repair. Nonetheless, you can cut costs and at the same time, avoid potential transmission problems just by applying certain tips. These tips will help to extend the life of your performance transmission.

 

A Great Performance Transmission

Transmission in a manual or automatic car helps to transfer power from the engine to the wheels. What this power transfer does is to enable the car to change its gears and also move in the desired direction.

Now if your transmission is in bad shape, it either has to be overhauled or replaced entirely. The process is expensive and may become a bitter pill to swallow. But the good news is, it can be avoided by carrying out certain checks.

 

How to Extend the Life of Your Performance Transmission

You can extend the life of your performance transmission by doing the following:

 

1. Check the Transmission Fluid Regularly

Transmission fluid helps in cooling and lubrication, and it transmits force and pressure, while also preventing build-up. Therefore, one surefire way to prolong your transmission’s life is to check its fluid regularly.

The transmission fluid may run low or contain impurities as it gets old. When either of these happens, it could lead to common transmission problems such as overheating. Nonetheless, overheating can be avoided if you know just the right time to refill or change the fluid entirely.

Now you may be wondering, how often should you check the transmission fluid? You can inspect the fluid once every month to ascertain its level and condition.

Pick up your dipstick and check the level of the transmission fluid, and if it looks opaque instead of clear red, then the fluid is bad and needs to be changed. Similarly, if you give the fluid a good whiff and perceive a foul smell, then it could be a sign of a problem.

 

2. Use Synthetic Fluid

Synthetic transmission fluid is more preferable than ordinary fluid for a number of reasons. For starters, a synthetic fluid is better at resisting cold, heat, oxidation, and shearing. Heat, on the other hand, can break down the organic compounds in a regular fluid thereby making it less effective.

Therefore, if you want your transmission to last longer, synthetic fluid would be your go to option. Heat-resistant, synthetic fluid will help an aging transmission to still offer good performance over time.

A good number of manufacturers are already replacing regular fluids with synthetic fluids in a bid to ensure that the vehicle is not impacted by certain elements. In line with that, it is worth noting that poor quality fluid can harm your transmission; hence, the high-quality fluid must be used at all times.

 

3. Service Your Transmission Every 30,000 Miles

Your transmission can last for 300,000 miles or more if it is serviced regularly. The reason can be tied to the fact that the transmission can fail within 100,000 miles. What this means is that if you tend to drive around 10-15,000 miles a year, the unit could be down in seven years. Here’s what we’re getting at:

Another way to extend the life of your performance transmission is to get the unit serviced every two years or 30,000 miles. During the servicing process, one of the most effective maintenance procedures will be carried out on your vehicle and that is changing the transmission fluid.

Accordingly, the old fluid will be drained from the transmission, and the pan will be cleaned.  The filter will then be replaced before new fluid is poured into it. At the end of the day, you would’ve been able to enhance the performance of your car just by changing the fluid and allowing its filter to work better at trapping dirt.

Interestingly, a service of this nature would cost you around $60-$100 or less depending on where your car is being serviced. If you want to reduce the cost of servicing your transmission even further, learn to carry out the process yourself.

 

4. Use an External Filter

You may have taken the needful step to clean your transmission’s filter. But an external filter to the cooler lines can also help to keep dirt away from the fluid. This is because the original filter may be unable to handle all the particles it may encounter, hence an external filter will help it to do a better job.

In the end, more contaminants will be trapped and the transmission fluid will be as clean as possible. Much more, the fluid will be clean for a longer time compared to when a single filter is used.

 

5. Maintain the Cooling System

Your car’s radiator also serves to cool the engine since heat can cause a lot of damage to the transmission. While you may have a radiator in place, its level of performance may reduce with time, which is why it is advisable that you maintain it every two years.

These maintenance checks will involve inspecting the coolant levels, changing the antifreeze, and inspect the hoses and belts. Other checks you can carry out include carrying out a radiator cap pressure test, and a thermostat check.

A transmission cooler might also prove very useful if you tend to travel in environments where the temperature of the transmission might be raised to high levels. The same applies if you drive with heavy loads frequently, or in heavy traffic.

 

6. Practice Good Driving

It is important to drive your car more easy. Especially on a cold start since transmission fluid is thicker when it’s cold. If the fluid does not move well from the bottom to the top, it could lead to friction thereby causing damage.

What’s more, the transmission takes time to warm up and if it doesn’t, you may be putting too much strain on it. The point is, don’t drive even before the transmission has warmed up.

If it is in cold weather, let the car idle. When the engine’s RPM has lowered, the vehicle can be put into gear. Asides from being easy on the unit, you can use the emergency brake when you’re parking on an incline, and avoid resting your hand on the gear lever as you drive.

 

The Bottom Line

These are the easy steps on how to prolong the life of your performance transmission. It revolves around checking your transmission fluid regularly, setting scheduled fluid changes, band adjustments and using more than one filter.

There’s also the need to ensure that your radiator is functional. This will help to minimize the heat produced by the engine while in operation. Try each of these and you’ll be able to extend the life of your transmission for a couple of years if not more.

Most importantly, it’ll help you to save thousands of dollars that would have been wasted on premature transmission failure.

Why Restomods Are Truly the Best of Both Worlds

Restomod Cars Are Truly the Best of Both Worlds - Gearstar

The new trend of restomods is definitely the best of both worlds. Whether you’re a classic or a modern car lover, you can have it all in a single-vehicle. Rock the iconic car look from the 1950s, and count on reliability, performance, and comfort of the latest sports cars. How awesome can that get? If you’re still contemplating if resto-modding is for you, here’s some valuable information that’ll help you decide.

What Is Resto-Modding?

Now if you haven’t gotten a hang of things yet, restomod is a term gotten from “restoration and modification.” It involves restoring and modifying classic cars with modern engines, transmissions, and luxury comforts that can only be found in today’s ride. What this does, is to remove the performance flaws that were evident in the classic car.

However, the catch is that your old muscle car’s exterior still maintains its age long look. This is because its external appearance is either restored to or close to its original look and curb appeal. And if you haven’t guessed already, old pickup trucks can also be resto-modded by upgrading their chassis with long-travel suspension, modern-day drivetrain, and safety measures.

History of Restomods

Back in the 1950s, there were two classes of hobbyists and these were the collectors and hot rodders. Collectors were only out to find classic cars they could show off at events. They were less bothered about low horsepower engines and low-quality brakes that were often present in classic cars.

Hot rodders, on the other hand, were not content with just having an old ride to play with. Their aim was to get better driving experience, and that meant newer engines, improved brakes, headlights, and other features that could give the ride a revamped and modern look.

But years later, a new generation emerged from car hobbyists and this set of car enthusiasts were both interested in retaining the classic car’s look and adopting a modern car’s performance. Cars from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, began to look interesting since some hotrodders stopped taking off the original design of the vehicle.

They maintained the car’s old look but gave it the latest engine, brake, and steering technology for improved performance, safety, and driving dynamics. Let’s take it one step further to show you what you stand to gain from resto-modding.

restomod

Why Restomods Are the Best of Both Worlds

You may be wonder if there’s a need to seek vintage vehicle aesthetic and pair it with modern performance. But here are some reasons why restomods are the best of both worlds:

1. Uncompromising Features

Restomod is ideal if you want a classic car, yet the performance and safety features of today’s ride. You can do so without compromising these modern features, while you satisfy your heart’s desire for a stunning classic car. Therefore, you get to enjoy the advantages of a modern car in an old muscle car.

2. A Promise of a Better Ride

It’s a classic car and it was not built with the same high-end tech that is evident in cars today. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that classics are prone to leaking oil and even frequent breakdowns.

They are sometimes slow and inefficient when their performance is compared side by side with modern cars. However, this less impressive performance can be turned around by revamping the car’s mechanical components. What we getting at?

Your resto-modded car can have the performance of a modern machine, while still maintaining its charming, old school looks. Moreover, it improves the car’s safety features to today’s standards, thereby making it adhere to the current road laws.

3. Enhances Creativity

Who says you must drive around town with a ride straight from the manufacturer’s factory? There’s no rule, and as such, no limitation to your creativity. That being said, a restomod offers the opportunity to bring your creativity to life.

Hence, if there’s an old ride that catches your eye, it can be remodeled as you best dim fit. If you’re new to the hobby of collecting old cars, restomods make it easy to get creative.

 4. An Alternative to Classic Restoration

Restoration seeks to return the car to its original look as it was from the factory. However, there are cases where the original parts are hard to find. Then comes in restomod as a better alternative since you can make do with old and modern parts. This means that the car’s old design can be flaunted instead of being hidden and forgotten in a garage.

Restomod These Classics

Here’s a list of cars that can be resto-modded and if you’re looking for a classic car whose look you should adopt, this list will help you with it.

1. Ford Mustang

It’s no longer new to see a Ford Mustang from the 1960s flying on roads today since it is one of the most popular cars for resto-modding. Resto-modding a ride of this nature is easy given that they are several replacement and restoration parts lying around in the market. There’s the potential to pair the Mustang with a newer Ford drivetrain that will allow modern upgrades to be made to its internal build.

2. Chevy Camaro

The Chevy Camaro is another popular classic ride that is often resto-modded. A better version of its original self would often feature big wheels, hood scoops, matte paint, etc. all to make it look a bit more modern. And like the Ford Mustang, the Chevy Camaro can be upgraded with V8 Corvette engines and newer drivetrains to enhance its performance on the road.

3. ICON Ford Bronco

Now the ICON Ford Bronco is quite different since it has already been resto-modded by the California-based company ICON4x4. This a company that specializes in modifying classic Jeeps and Land Cruisers with modern engines, matte paint, and so much more.

The ICON Ford Bronco, for instance, is a modified version of the first-generation Ford Bronco. This new variant is quite impressive since it features a Ford Coyote 5.0-liter V8, five-speed manual transmission, ABS brakes, and a fully-adjustable suspension kit. It may have been redesigned extensively, but it still bears the iconic look of a classic SUV from the late 1960s.


The Bottom Line

There are more reasons than one why restomods are the best of both worlds for every car fanatic that wants to relive the past today. Pick a classic car from decades ago, replace its engine, wheels, etc. with that of modern parts, and you’ll well be on your way to having it all.

The best part is, you do not lose out on the benefits of driving a modern car since the only difference would be in the aesthetics. It all boils down to what appeals to you most – Driving the latest modern car that is also plying the road? or being unique by driving an old car that moves like a modern car?

Torque Converter Problems: Symptoms & Replacement Costs

Torque Converter Problems Symptoms & Replacement Cost - Gearstar

It may be a bit challenging to ascertain if the problems with your car are originating from its torque converter or transmission. As such, mistaking the symptoms of a failing torque converter for that of the transmission could lead to a waste of time and resources – without getting the solution that was expected.

A repair shop, on the contrary, will be able to determine the root cause of the problem just by analyzing these signs. That does not mean that you too can’t tell if the problem is from the torque converter. However, it begins by knowing the symptoms of a faulty torque converter and the replacement cost that will be needed.

 

What Are Torque Converters?

A torque converter is a device that is situated between the engine and the transmission. This device transfers the engine’s power to the transmission as such; it has replaced the clutch used in manuals. Also, the torque converter helps to keep the power output of the engine in the optimum range by multiplying the torque at low RPM.

 

Symptoms of Torque Converter Problems

Some symptoms of torque converter problems have been outlined below. These are the signs you should be on the lookout for to ensure your car does not fail when you least expect.

 

1. Slipping

A torque converter can slip out of gear or delay a shift its fin or bearing is damaged. This is because the torque converter changes the engine’s torque into hydraulic pressure that is required to ship the transmission’s gears.

In the same vein, inadequate or excessive fluid in the transmission can cause the gears to perform in an unexpected manner. One of such is slippage which is evident in the car’s loss of acceleration and reduction in fuel economy.

 

2. Overheating

Another sign of a problem in the torque converter is if your car’s temperature gauge indicates that there is overheating by flashing a transmission control unit light on your dashboard. This sign may be triggered by a decline in the fluid pressure or a malfunctioning solenoid.

Slipping while you’re driving can also lead to overheating. On the other hand, overheating is not a good thing for your converter since it can lead to the wear of the transmission’s internal components. Moreover, the converter will not be able to carry out its primary function of transferring power from the engine to the transmission.

 

3. Contaminated Transmission Fluid

A torque converter is filled with Automatic transmission fluid (ATF). If the fluid contains debris, grime, or a black sludge, it is contaminated, and this is a sign that the transmission is damaged. Also, dirty fluid can impact the components of the torque converter such as the stator’s bearings and turbine’s fins.

To prevent either of these from happening over time, you need to ensure that you have high-quality fluid in your transmission at all times. Keep in mind that you can save a lot of money by just replacing the dirty fluid.

 

4. Shuddering

Your car is shuddering when you’re moving on a smooth road, yet it feels like you’re on a rocky surface which makes the ride bumpy – it is a sign that there could be a problem in the lockup clutch located in the torque converter.

What happens here, is the difficulty of the lockup clutch to enable the converter to make a smooth transmission to direct drive. Thus, if you experience this occasionally, employ the services of a local repair shop.

 

5. Increased Stall Speed

The point at which the engine’s RPMs are high enough for the torque converter to transfer the engine’s power to the transmission is called stall speed. A damaged torque converter will be unable to provide a seamless transfer of the engine’s rotational force into hydraulic pressure.

The downside to this is that there could be an increase in the normal stall speed, and as such, it could take the transmission more time to engage the engine.

 

6. Unusual Sounds

A bad torque converter will emit noises, and that is an obvious sign that it needs to be checked. Therefore, if you hear a whirring or clicking sound, either from the damaged bearings or broken turbine fin, you need a replacement.

 

Causes of Torque Converter Problems

Before your torque converter shows signs of failure, you need to be wary of what could lead to it. Thus, the following are some of the causes of torque converter problems.

 

1. Damaged Torque Converter Seals

If the torque converter seal is damaged, it could cause the transmission fluid within the bell housing to leak. When that happens, the torque converter will be unable to provide a smooth transfer of power from the engine to the transmission. As a consequence, there could be overheating, slippage, higher stall speeds, among other problems.

 

2. Damaged Torque Converter Clutch Solenoid

The torque converter clutch solenoid is an electronic component that helps to measure the fluid pressure and regulate how much fluid the lockup clutch receives.

If the solenoid is faulty, there won’t be an accurate measure of how much transmission fluid is a need which could lead to abnormal fluid pressures. As a consequence, there could be irregular behaviors such as poor gas mileage, engine stalling, among others.

 

3. Degraded Torque Converter Clutch

Torque converter clutches help to lock the transmission and the engine into direct drive. However, a damaged torque converter can cause the car to stay in gear even when the driver has come to a stop. This converter also can lock into direct drive especially if the clutch plate’s friction material has worn away.

 

4. Faulty Needle Bearings

The needle bearings separate the stator, turbine, impeller, and converter housing. Alternatively, faulty bearings could lead to the creation of noises while driving. It could also lead to the accumulation of metal chips in the transmission fluid due to metal to metal contact between these components of the torque converter.

 

Torque Converter Replacement Costs

It is less expensive to replace a torque converter compared to a transmission. For starters, the torque converter costs between $150 to $350. Therefore, if you are currently experiencing any of the symptoms of torque converter problems, you may need a good idea of how much it’ll cost to get it fixed or replaced.

If you plan on fixing it yourself, then you’ll spend around $150 to $500. On the contrary, taking the vehicle to the transmission shop may require $600 to $1000 to cover the repair costs. It’ll also take about 5 to 10 hours to get the job done.

 

The Bottom Line

Torque converter problems can be avoided when you know the symptoms to look out for. Once these signs are evident, it is needful to get the unit fixed or rely on the expertise of a professional.

The replacement cost of a torque converter is inexpensive, especially when you compare to the damage it could cause to your car’s transmission if it is not fixed on time. It is, therefore, needful for you to spot these signs and take action immediately if any of the symptoms are evident.

Why Are Automatic Transmissions Better Than Manuals?

There’s an everlasting debate around manual and automatic transmissions, with both the types showcasing some promising pros and cons. However, modern problems call for modern solutions and hence a majority of the top-notch motor vehicle brands have adopted the automatic way of life with self-shifting gears making transmissions smoother than ever. However, if you’re a novice when it comes to car gear, we have just the list of pros and cons needed to tell you why automatic or self-transmissions will be perfect for you.

How Do Automatic Transmissions Work?

Before we take the dive into the pros and cons, let’s get to know automatic transmissions better. Every time you change gears in your car, the power from the engine transfers to the drive axle and powers mobility in the vehicle, making it move forward. In a manual transmission, the driver has to engage or disengage gears to make it move, whereas, in automatic transmissions, multiple gears work together constantly allowing the car to change gears on its own. Because of this, drivers, usually beginners or intermediate level drivers, prefer the automatic transmission over the manual. Apart from this:

    • Automatic gears are much easier to use and are considered a safer option for unsteady terrains. The next time you plan a weekend gateway to the hills, make sure you choose automatic over manual.
    • Automatic gears can start, accelerate, and stop cars much easily because of the automatic gears, which means cutting through traffic, sudden halts, open highways, and crowded roads can easily be steered with automatic gears.

Intrigued yet? If you’re already looking at automatic transmission for sale, you’ve come to the right place. However, before you splurge on your new gears, let us tell you why manual gears too are in demand.

    • Manual transmissions are usually cheaper and come with better fuel efficiency.
    • Professional riders usually prefer manual since you can customize your gear shifts according to your needs without having a machine automatically determine.

While some cars are incomplete with an automatic transmission, the others prefer a vintage touch to their vehicles! The trick is to choose the right gear for the right vehicle, and the rides will be smoother than ever!