Everyone wants his or her vehicle to be in top condition so their trips are safe and comfortable, and maintaining your car’s transmission is a great way to ensure you’re getting the best possible performance from your ride. Whether you’re looking after a 2002 Ford Explorer transmission or one on a different vehicle, here’s what you need to know about keeping your gear system in good shape.
What Is an Automatic Transmission?
First things first: to take good care of your car, it helps to understand the differences between the two basic transmission types and which one your vehicle uses. While both shift the gears that control a car’s speed and rotational force, standard and automatic transmissions operate differently.
With a standard transmission, the driver shifts the gears manually with a clutch pedal and stick. The driver selects the gear he or she wants to be in depending on driving conditions.
With an automatic, the gear is selected by the transmission and isn’t directly controlled by the driver. Gear choice is based on the vehicle’s travel speed and the conditions of the road. Because they are easier to drive and more abundantly available, vehicles with automatic transmissions are more common on America’s roadways.
Change Your Oil Often
So, how do you keep your automatic transmission performing well? One of the most important things to do is to follow your vehicle’s schedule for changing your transmission fluid, or oil. Sufficient lubrication is essential for proper operation, so don’t overlook the need to get your transmission oil changed as required.
Recommendations vary from vehicle to vehicle, but transmission oil levels should be checked periodically even if your owner’s manual says yours should last a lifetime. This is because leaks can develop that can drain your oil and cause serious problems.
Other Care Factors
In addition to checking and changing your transmission oil, the way you drive can go a long way toward improving your transmission’s performance. Routinely punching the gas pedal may over stress your transmission, as can slamming on your brakes. It’s also a bad habit to shift directly between reverse and one of the driving gears; you should always fully stop between the two. Taking this extra care when operating your car can reduce unnecessary wear and tear on your transmission.
Paying attention to your car’s warning systems can also head off problems. Many modern vehicles include a transmission control system that monitors sensors and communicates any issues. Trouble codes are set off whenever a malfunction is detected; if one occurs, you’ll need to have your car checked before it can be safely operated.
If you understand and take good care of your transmission, it will take good care of you by providing top performance. When it comes to maintaining any part of your vehicle, turn to the experts. For best part matching and supply recommendations, visit an auto parts store that offers free VIN lookup. That way you’ll know you’re making smart choices to keep your car, and its transmission, in great shape.