Transmission Repair & Replacement

What Happens When Your Transmission Goes Out?

Transmission problems may put you and your passengers at risk if you do not know what to expect when your transmission goes out. The transmission controls the transfer of engine power to the drive wheels and allows the driver to change gears and control speed. When a transmission goes out, vehicle handling and performance may be affected. Learn how to identify transmission problems, the steps you can take for your vehicle now and how to prevent transmission problems in the future.


Overheating is one of the most common causes of transmission failure, which may occur because of a car pulling a heavy load (such as a trailer), driving in snowy conditions or stop-and-go traffic in excessive heat. When the transmission temperature rises, the fluid burns and begins to lose its lubricating qualities. When this happens, the transmission hardens and becomes prone to leaks, which cause transmission failure. Your transmission may also stop working because of poor automotive design, poor maintenance, wrong fluid type or harsh driving.


If your transmission stops working, you may notice leaking under the car. Transmission fluid is a reddish transparent color, which makes it easy to spot. A faulty transmission may leak fluid that is cloudy, brown or has a burnt odor. To prevent further damage to your transmission, check your fluid level often until you are able to visit your local auto repair shop or transmission facility. Read your car’s manual to be sure on how to [check transmission fluid] levels. Typically, it will involve pulling out the transmission dipstick to get a reading on fluid levels. Make sure to have your transmission looked at before the fluid levels dip too low, or you risk further damage to your transmission.


When your transmission goes out, your car’s handling will be affected. You may experience vibrations, slippage (engine revs but vehicle does not accelerate as it should) or different shift patterns in your vehicle. The gear shift on your car will stop working when the transmission dies. This may be caused by a bad fluid pump in the transmission, which can lead to total gear breakdown. Typically, an automatic car should shift smoothly and soundlessly; if your car makes noises while shifting or you begin to feel a vibration, this indicates a transmission problem. Bring your car to your local mechanic or auto repair shop to have your transmission checked out or repaired.


Prevent transmission failure by regularly checking your transmission for leaks. If you catch a problem in time you will be able to prevent complete transmission failure. Manually check or bring your car to a mechanic to have him check your transmission levels so your fluid levels are always maintained. Bring your car in for regular repairs to have the fluid changed when it becomes dark or cloudy in color. Make sure you are using the proper transmission fluid for your car, as specified in your vehicle owner’s manual. When driving, avoid frequent stopping and starting. Make sure the car has come to a full stop before shifting to the parking gear.


Transmission Maintenance

Before diagnosing a broken transmission, a Meineke certified technician will perform a computer diagnostic to find out if there is a problem in the control system. This can also help identify an electrical component that might need replacing.

The malfunction might be due to a sensor, instead of a mechanical problem. However, if you have a fluid leak, you may need to replace the pan bolts, drain plugs, seals, gasket and fluid lines. In other instances, the transmission fluid might need to be changed and flushed.

Fluid Flush

If necessary, having your transmission flushed can help get your car back to running as intended. A fluid flush is essentially a process that helps push out grime and sludge that has accumulated over time. First, the old oil is removed. Then, new oil and sometimes cleaning solutions are run through it to help remove the unwanted debris. Finally, the transmission is filled back up with new oil.

Fluid Replacement

Technicians will follow the guidelines recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer when performing the transmission fluid exchange, and if necessary, change the filter as well. The worst case scenario is that the transmission will need to be replaced or totally rebuilt. You should always have a technician change the fluid at regular intervals and avoid overheating.


Most Common Transmission Problems

Your car’s transmission is one of the most important parts of your vehicle, and transmission problems with your vehicle can result in rendering your vehicle completely undrivable. The transmission in your vehicle is the part of the car that directs the power from your engine to the driveshaft which in turn helps to turn the wheels on your vehicle. Following good preventive maintenance procedures for your transmission will always help your transmission perform better, last longer and require fewer repairs. However, in the event that your transmission does have problems, knowing what some of the more common types of transmission problems are can help you quickly diagnose and repair them. So, here is a list of the most common type of transmission problems.

Low Fluid Levels or Leaks

Low levels of transmission fluid or transmission fluid leaks are by far the most common type of transmission problem. Low levels of transmission fluid are usually caused by leaks in the transmission system itself. The seals in the transmission or driveshaft may become faulty and leak fluid. Occasionally, transmission gasket seals may need to be replaced to seal the leaks in the transmission. On some occasions, transmission fluid may be contaminated from coolant in the radiator. This is called cross-contamination and does occur on occasion.

Generally speaking, symptoms of low fluid levels or fluid leaks will include gear slippage or slow shifting. In the event fluid is very old or contaminated, the fluid will need to be changed or the transmission completely flushed and refilled.

Torque Converter Problems

Torque converters and transmission can be the source of several types of problems that can result in transmission damage or failure. One of the most common problems associated with the torque converter is worn or damaged needle bearings. If the needle bearings become warm, you will generally hear strange noises coming from the transmission while in driving gears. When the vehicle is in neutral, the transmission will probably not make any strange sounds, but when in a driving gear will make grinding or brushing sounds.

Solenoid Problems

The solenoid controls the flow of fluid throughout the transmission. Many times, the solenoid can become damaged because of insufficient fluid levels or other electronic problems with the solenoid. Problems with the solenoid are usually similar to those of inadequate fluid levels or fluid leaks. If your vehicle’s transmission is slipping and there are no leaks, the solenoid is the next item that you should check.

Clutch Problems

The clutch is located within the torque converter and can occasionally become jammed. When the clutch jams, the solenoid may become locked and the amount of transmission fluid in the torque converter may not be correctly calculated. These type clutch problems in the torque converter also appear very similar to low fluid levels. Clutch problems will also normally cause violent shaking underneath the vehicle and may produce very high heat levels in the transmission. You will normally also notice a very sharp drop in the power output of your engine.


Transmission Slipping

Transmission slipping is quite common, and can be caused by a variety of transmission issues such as low fluid levels, fluid leaks, worn out gears, or solenoid problems. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to identify transmission slipping, especially in an automatic car. Your engine will suddenly change in pitch – it may go from a low rumble to a high-pitched whine, and your RPMs will increase dramatically, even though you’re going the same speed. This happens if your transmission slips and downshifts at a high speed.

Conversely, you may find that your car is performing sluggishly and feels underpowered – this can happen when the transmission upshifts at a low speed. You’ll notice poor acceleration, and engine noise that’s more lower-pitched than usual. Transmission slipping can be dangerous, and can easily lead to accidents, or further damage to your transmission. Get your car check out by a mechanic right away if you’re experiencing this issue.

Rough Shifts

When your car shifts into another gear, it should be relatively smooth and easy – there should be no “clunking” or “thudding” noises when your transmission shifts.

If you do start to hear these noises when shifting gears, they are certainly a cause for concern. Low transmission fluid and worn-out gears can be the culprit – and computerized sensors and solenoids can cause clunking if they send the wrong information to your car’s gearbox.

It’s usually impossible to determine the cause of rough shifting until you take your car in to be repaired, so get your vehicle serviced as soon as you notice these issues.


Check Engine Light Is On

Don’t be fooled by its name. The “Check Engine” light in your vehicle’s dashboard can be turned on for a wide variety of reasons, including problems that have nothing to do with the engine itself. Problems in the electronics, brakes and transmission can all be indicated by a check engine light. If your check engine light has turned on, you’ll want to visit Archer Volkswagen. One of our technicians can connect a sophisticated code reader to the OBD-II port on your vehicle. We’ll take the data we get and use it to begin diagnosing your problem. If it’s a transmission fault that’s caused the light to come on, we’ll know as soon as we get the diagnostic data from your vehicle’s computer.

Shuddering, Surging Or Stalling When Changing Gears

Picture it: You’re sailing down the highway in overdrive, when suddenly you begin to head up an incline. You can feel the car shuddering beneath you, as if you were traveling down a bumpy gravel road. This can be a sign of a bad transmission. You might also experience a similar shuddering when changing from reverse into drive, or from park into reverse. Sometimes, a brief shudder will be followed by a sudden surge as the fluid pressure returns to normal. This is often caused by contaminated transmission fluid, but can be due to other problems as well. The proper fluid pressure must be maintained, or the transmission could slip and you’ll lose power.

Beware Of These Car Dealer Tricks When Buying A New Car

How do you outsmart a car dealer?

Buying a car is a huge occasional purchase that can, when considering all the available choices while weighing needs versus wants, can seem overwhelming. As with buying any big-ticket purchase, consumers can largely avoid bad deals and financial stress by arming themselves with the right information. There are distinct considerations for used and new car purchases, but these tips can be applied to both.

How to save money at the dealership.

Forget Payments, Talk Price. Dealers will try selling you to a payment per month rather than the price of a car. And when you go that route, nothing in the transaction is as transparent as it should be. Extending your loan period for a more expensive car will give you a lower monthly payment, but will probably mean you’re making car payments once your new car is no longer a ‘new’ car. It’s better to buy what you can afford in 48 or 60 monthly payments. In short, get your new car paid off while it’s still a new car.

Control Your Loan. For many dealers, the car or truck sale is simply the mechanism for the financing. And even with today’s low interest rates, dealers can make real money off interest alone, a disincentive to giving you a truly competitive interest rate. Getting pre-approved for a loan before you walk in the dealership door will let you know exactly how much you can afford, often at a better APR then the dealership can offer.

Avoid Advertised Car Deals. Dealerships will list their very best deal in the paper or online with little or no intention of keeping that specific deal in stock. Don’t be enticed by a car or truck you won’t be able to buy. Instead, do the research on the car you want and what it should cost. Starting out armed with information, via sites such as Autoblog’s Best Deal Program makes you a savvy consumer and, ultimately, provides a better, more credible transaction.


Preparation is half the battle

The most common lies are “This is a good price for the car” and “We’ll give you top dollar on your trade”. These use the principle of reciprocity to reduce your desire to learn more or ask for further discounts. The logic goes like this: “I already did you a favour, so you won’t ask for more, will you?” Many buyers don’t dare to ask for more as they succumb to reciprocity. That said, one would expect that with the wealth of information available online these days, salespeople would have dropped these tricks by now. The fact that they haven’t suggests that many buyers don’t do their research.

If you do your homework, you will be less bound by reciprocity if a car dealer quotes you a high price, as it will be obvious that the salesperson didn’t do you any favours or may even have tried to trick you. Sellers who see that you are well prepared will be less inclined to try to charge you more without adding value in some way. You may ask: “How do I know that this is indeed a good price?” or “Can you show me some information that proves that point?” or “Interesting you should say this is a good price, because my research indicates otherwise. Am I missing something that justifies your price?”

Playing on the principle of scarcity, another common lie is: “This is the last one in the area”, suggesting you better hurry up and buy it before it is too late. Again, this is information you can easily verify online or by calling a few dealerships in the vicinity. Better still, as you do your price research, use the opportunity to assess scarcity and figure out your next best alternative should negotiations fail. If stock is not a real issue, the dealer had better give you another reason why you should buy on the spot. Perhaps, you can turn around and reply: “While this may be your last piece, my research indicates that it is not the last piece on the market. However, it seems to me that you would like a quick sale. If so, I may be open to the idea if you give me a good discount. What do you say?”


Keep your trade-in to yourself

Dealers like to move money around to confuse car buyers about how much they are really getting in the deal. If you mention you want to trade in a car up front, you are opening the door to a shell game. The salesperson will focus on what you want to get for your trade and may artificially inflate the ‘trade allowance’ to get you to say yes. This leaves no room to negotiate on the price of the new car. Furthermore, the salesperson may ask to appraise your trade, taking your keys and literally holding your car hostage until you agree to a deal.

Don’t try to haggle

Salespeople spend their days selling. Chances are you won’t be as good at getting them to give you a great deal as they are at getting you to buy. So focus on what you can do: Force dealers to compete against each other by sending you their best offers.


Dealers want you to be more careful when you do a test drive

In a lot of cases, car buyers ask to test drive a car to be able to determine if the vehicle is the right one for them. So long as you hand over the proper ID and you sign the required documents, a car dealer would be more than happy to hand you the keys to the test vehicle. However, s/he would also like to exercise more caution when you drive. After all, there are a lot of cases of car theft that occur while a car is being test-driven.

During your test drive, be sure that you are aware of any suspicious person or object in your immediate area. And if something does not feel right, proceed to return the car to the dealership as soon as possible.


The 10-Second Trick to Saving Thousands on Your Used Car Purchase

Now that you know the dealer charges a premium, use this knowledge for your benefit! It’s not hard to guess that a lot of new car dealers don’t really like a lot of used cars sitting on their lots. So why not lowball them?

Start by picking out a good-condition used car of your choice. If you are looking for the most bang for your buck, going for a lightly used, two- to three-year-old car is the way to go.

If the car seems to hold up well in a leisurely road test, then take it to your trusted mechanic. They’ll charge you around $150 to go over the vehicle in very close detail. If the mechanic does spot problems, you can go back to the dealer and ask for a discount or simply walk away from the deal altogether. (If the used car seller balks at a request to have the car inspected, say adios.)

Assuming things go smoothly there, look up the car’s trade-in value on a site like, and use that as your basis for how much they paid for the car. For example, you find that the Toyota Camry you’re looking at has a trade-in value of $6,000, but they’re selling it for $9,000.

Now, it’s time to deploy your money-saving strategy. Here’s a sample pitch that only takes 10 seconds of your time: “I realize that you only paid $6,000 for that $9,000 Toyota Camry on your lot, and I’d like to give you a tidy $1,500 profit by paying $7,500.”

You’d be surprised at how often this works! Give it a try and see next time you’re on the lot.

Use this trick to shave a grand or two off the purchase price, then follow up by applying for an affordable auto loan to pay hundreds of dollars less than what the dealer would charge over the life of the loan.