You probably bought your import automobile because you wanted peak performance and dependability all in one package. Owning a vehicle designed with top of the line engineering is a great investment, but you also have to do your part as the owner to ensure your car operates like it was designed.
No matter how well any car is made, there are important maintenance requirements that must be met in order to avoid car trouble and reduce the cost of repairs. Your car transmission is one of the main components of your vehicle and without proper maintenance you can experience a number of problems that can leave you stranded.
Benefits of Maintained Transmission and Drive Train System
- Long life for internal components
- Improved performance
- Increased power
- Lowered emissions
- Lower oil consumption
- Quieter operation
- Fuel efficiency
- Smooth shifting
Transmission Preventive Maintenance in Raleigh
If your import transmission is running smoothly and you want to make sure that it lasts the life of your vehicle, then scheduling a fluid flush and change is essential.
Fluid Flush and Change for Import Transmissions
The best way to keep your internal transmission parts in good condition is to flush and change your transmission fluid when necessary. You can maintain the warranty and extend the life of your transmission with optimal changes based on the manufacturers suggestion.
An import transmission fluid change requires draining all the old fluid, flushing the system to remove any debris or sludge and refilling with new fluid.
My Car Manual States I Have Lifetime Fluid
Since 2007 many import vehicles, mainly German manufactured, are considered “Lifetime” as far as fluid is concerned. Unfortunately, many consumers mistake this for the lifetime of the vehicle. Be aware that lifetime means 100,000 miles.
The Importance of Transmission Fluid
In addition to cooling and lubrication, transmission fluid helps clean the internal transmission components.
Why Do I Need to Change My Fluid?
Like the oil you place in your car engine, transmission fluid must constantly operate under hot, pressurized conditions. This causes the additives in the fluid to deplete over time and the buffer the fluid provides to your gears begins to become thin. The cleaning components no longer work and your transmission will begin to build up sludge that can damage gears. Condensation is also a common issue that builds inside the gear housing, which can deteriorate the internal components if not removed.
Signs and Symptoms that Your Import Car May Need a Transmission Fluid Change
- Burning smell surrounding your car
- Fluid leaks
- Check engine light is lit
- Gears grind or shake when shifting
- Lag in speed when accelerating
- Hard shifts or jolts
- Premature corrosion
Make sure you schedule regular service to avoid rebuilds or replacement.
Transmission Repair and Replacement Options for Your Import Auto
Transmission issues that extend beyond the scope of a fluid replacement can be the result of a number of factors.
First, how you drive your car is probably the biggest factor that contributes to premature wear. Avoid excessive hard shifts or shifting to the wrong gear to avoid gear wear.
Second, not taking proper care of the transmission can lead to problems. Issues can range from leaking gaskets to broken teeth on gears to metal on metal grinding.
If you experience issues like this, then a fluid flush is probably out of the question and a full scale repair or transmission rebuild is probably necessary. Issues like these can leave you stranded and should not be ignored.
Many times the only options for a damaged transmission are:
Purchase New – purchase of a brand new transmission for your vehicle.
Rebuild Current Transmission – our Raleigh import auto techs will clean, inspect and replace broken or worn parts. Parts will be inspected to determine if they can be used or if they should be replaced. All parts must meet the manufacturer’s accepted wear limits in order to be reused.
A transmission rebuild requires placing your car on a lift, removing your transmission, disassembling of the gear system and components, repair, then reinstall into the vehicle.
Can I Get a Used Transmission?
At Triangle Imports, we don’t believe in taking used parts from junked cars to fix your engineering masterpiece, but we do believe in rebuilding YOUR transmission. If your transmission is in poor shape, we will help guide you through the best course for your vehicle repair. Typically, we can rebuild an import transmission for less than the cost of purchasing a brand new transmission.
Why Your Car’s Transmission System is Important
The transmission is part of your import auto’s power train. This means power from the engine is transferred to the axle and wheels to move the car via the transmission. Your transmission is essentially a large case of gears and gear train that transmit speed and torque from a rotating power source to the vehicle axle or transaxle. Each gear has a ratio designed for a specific performance range.
Gears and Your Transmission
A properly functioning transmission keeps vehicle operating at specific RPM’s for the gear the vehicle is operating in. Various gear combinations are needed to prevent the vehicle’s engine from running too high but with enough force to move the car.
Transmission gears for 1st and 2nd gear are considered low gears which turn faster at low speeds in relation to drive wheels. As the gears shift to allow the vehicle to travel at high speeds, the transmission will shift to the larger gears, which turn slower to reduce friction and wear. Although your car may be moving fast, the larger gears reduce the strain placed on your engine.
Standard Gears for Most Vehicles
Park – locks wheels with a pin/bolt to latch and lock gears. Prevents car from rolling when the ignition is off
In Gear – each gear moves the vehicle forward, based on the specific ratio range the gears are manufactured to perform in
Neutral – disconnects engine from drive wheels. Car can still be moved unless braking is used
Reverse – Allows gears to rotate in opposite direction to allow car to move backward
What is the Power Train?
The power train or drive train is comprised of a number of parts, which begin with the engine. The engine is connected to the transmission. The transmission connects the crankshaft flywheel to the drive shaft which connects to the differential and axle assembly. The axle assembly essentially connects the transmission to the car’s wheels. When the car is in gear and the driver presses the gas pedal, the vehicle moves.
Types of Transmission Systems
Automatic Transmission – shifts independently from the driver. The driver can operate the vehicle without needing to use a clutch or gear shifter to accelerate into higher speed gears. Automatic transmissions use a hydraulic system to push the gears into the correct ratio allowing the driver to operate at a desired speed.
Manual Transmission – sometimes referred to as “stick shift,” requires the driver to shift into each gear by using the clutch and gear shift mechanism. The driver is forced to use a foot pedal to engage the clutch and a “stick” connected to the gear system in order to shift to the next level of gears. Failing to do so will prevent the operator from driving at higher speeds and can damage the engine if driven in too high of an RPM range without shifting.
Over the last 20 years, engineers have designed transmission systems that have changed the way drivers operate their cars. A short while ago, a car owner had to choose between a smooth operating automatic transmission or the performance and control of a manual system at the vehicle purchase.
Now, depending on the manufacturer of your auto, there are numerous transmission systems available to choose from. Each transmission provides its own benefit, but can also be a challenge for import car owners if repairs are needed. It is important to schedule regular maintenance with an import transmission repair center that understands the unique design for each transmission type.
Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) – a variable transmission that can shift through a continuous range of effective gear ratios versus standard fixed gear ratios.
Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT) – Seamless transition from automatic to manual shifting. The DCT omits a torque converter in lieu of 2 shafts, 1 to operate the even gears and the 2nd for odd gears. This is a dry transmission system.
Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG) – Both manual and automatic transmission offered by BMW, where gears are selected in a specific order. Driver cannot shift to a specific gear without operating in sequence.
Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) – Uses 2 clutches instead of torque converter. Shifting works by disengaging one clutch and engaging the second for a gear change.
Porche Doppelkupplung (PDK) – A version of the DSG transmission model with a seven-speed, automatic/manual transmission. Shifting using paddles or buttons on the steering wheel allows driver to temporarily convert from automatic to manual mode.
Tiptronic Transmission – Tiptronic is registered to Porche. Provides an option to switch from an automatic transmission to a manual override. This allows the driver to up or downshift by use of hand, operating paddles behind the steering wheel. Uses torque converter in manual, opposed to standard clutch.
S-tronic – Combines benefits of an automatic transmission with the control of a manual transmission. Driver utilized manual shifting by operating paddles behind steering wheel.
Valve body (automatic transmission)
Torque converter (automatic transmission)
Transmission pan (automatic transmission)
Throw out bearing (manual transmission)
Contact Our Raleigh Import Auto Repair Technicians for Your Transmission Service
A transmission is designed to last for a long time with regularly scheduled maintenance. But, failing to take proper care of your transmission can leave you stranded on the highway. That is why it is best to adhere to the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule. At Triangle Imports, our technicians will use state of the art diagnostic equipment to determine if the cause is electrical or the physical transmission. We will review the damage to your transmission and suggest proper course for your vehicle.