Could Old Fluid Be a Threat to Your Automatic Transmission?

If you own a car fitted with an automatic transmission, you may know that mechanical forces take care of gear changes, so you don't need to bother with a clutch pedal. Yet did you know that the transmission fluid is more than simply a lubricant but is also primarily responsible for changing gears? It's important to understand how this works, as it can be a critical point when it comes to automatic transmission service. So, what do you need to know?

Automatic Transmission in Action

Much of the magic takes place within a part known as a torque converter. This is connected directly to the engine flywheel and will spin at the same speed as the crankshaft. Attached to the torque converter is a centrifugal pump that turns at high speed. As it does so, it will fling the transmission fluid from one part of the torque converter towards the turbine. This motion will effectively transmit power from the engine to the clutch mechanisms and onward into the transmission.

Dealing with Residue

While this is a very simplistic explanation of the process, the transmission fluid is forced under pressure from one part of the system to the next. As this happens, some of it will stick to the outer casing of the torque converter, where it can sometimes harden in place. This can happen when the driver turns off the ignition switch bringing the internal components to a standstill. As the entire casing begins to cool, some of the lubricant can begin to harden.

The Danger of Inattention

Eventually, the hardened lubricant will build up to such an extent that some of it may break away and be carried through the system. There is a danger that it could cause damage to critical parts of the transmission, and it's always best to clean this residue away whenever you get the vehicle serviced.

Special Equipment Required

However, it's not enough to drain the old lubricant and replace it with new, as this will not be able to loosen and remove that hardened residue. In this case, it's important to take the vehicle to a skilled mechanic who has the right equipment. They will attach a machine that can introduce a special cleaning agent to loosen the residue and swill it out. Once this has been achieved, the machine can then introduce some new lubricant, and the vehicle will be ready for action.

The Best Approach

So, don't be tempted to change the lubricant yourself at home, as this will not complete the job. Instead, you should schedule a visit to a mechanic. For more information on automatic transmission services, contact a professional near you.

About Me

Barbara's Big Blog of Auto Service Info, Tips and More

Welcome. I hope you stick around and learn something new. My name is Barbara, and ever since I was a little girl, I have been working on cars. I used to follow my papa around our farm, always ready to hand him a tool or help him work on our equipment. Now, I still love to work with cars but enjoy writing about it even more. I recently turned 50 and made a promise to try several new things -- one, being writing a blog. I am married with two fabulous children, both away at uni studying, and I love to spend time at the beach and in nature. This year, I plan to take my first surf lesson as well. Enjoy, and remember, as the kids say, YOLO (you only live once)!