Radiator and Transmission Maintenance

How to Prevent Transmission Slip


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The automatic transmission is composed of moving parts and needs regular maintenance to prevent an occurrence known as transmission slip. This kind of problem is easy to avoid if a few preventive maintenance tips are executed by the owner throughout the life of the automobile. Age may play a factor in the performance of your vehicle's automatic transmission, but new cars could also fall prey to transmission slipping due to inadequate amounts of  automatic transmission (ATF) fluid inside the transmission crankcase.

Transmission Slip

If your car manifests the following behavior, then your transmission may be slipping and will need attention to have the problem corrected:

  • Downshifting Problems - The car may slow down whenever the next gear is engaged while in motion.
  • Increase in Engine RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) - A car equipped with an automatic transmission is designed to stay below 3,000 RPM at cruising speed to aid in fuel economy. If a sudden change in behavior of engine RPM is noticed (such as an RPM above 3,500 at cruising speed) then the transmission is slipping.
  • Delay in Acceleration - If your car has lost power when accelerating, or a slight delay is felt when you step on the gas, then a slipping problem is evident on your tranny.
  • Gliding - This occurrence can be felt when you take your foot off the accelerator pedal at speed and the car continues to glide forward.

Here's how you can prevent transmission slip in your vehicle:

1. Check ATF Level Regularly

As previously mentioned, the amount of fluid present in the crankcase will determine the service life and performance of your automatic transmission. The correct amount of ATF should be maintained at all times, because inadequate fluid will increase friction among the moving parts inside the transmission. Pull out the ATF dipstick and check for proper fluid level and replenish if necessary. Check for leaks or oil droppings in your garage if the fluid level is consistently low. Have the problem checked and corrected immediately by a mechanic or transmission specialist.

2. Check Fluid Condition

The ATF should be reddish in color and emit a sweet smell. A brownish or blackish fluid with a burnt smell indicates a malfunction in the automatic transmission and should be repaired immediately to prevent further damage. Any signs or noticeable changes in the ATF should be consulted with a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

3. Shift Properly

Proper care should be taken when moving the transmission lever through the set of gears. Wait for the vehicle to come to a full stop before engaging Park or Reverse to prevent transmission damage. It would also be advised to shift to Neutral or Park whenever the vehicle is stationary for extended periods of time. Do not engage Reverse or Park when the vehicle is in motion or when in Drive. These simple preventive measures will help prolong the life of your transmission and prevent transmission slip in the future. Consult your owner's manual for additional information regarding the use and engagement of the different gears in your automatic transmission.

Neglect will play a big part on automatic transmission performance. Pay attention to the common maintenance procedures of your car to prevent the incidence of transmission slip in the future.

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