Keep Your Automatic Transmission Working for You



Herndon, Virginia - Vehicles with automatic transmissions and vehicles with manual transmissions are two very different experiences for a driver.  There is no clutch pedal or gear shifters in an automatic car.  The driver simply has to switch from park to drive, and the transmission does the rest.   While these two transmissions are different for a driver, they perform the same function in your vehicle.  


Manual vs. Automatic Transmissions

In both types of cars, gears are used to manage the engine's torque to allow the vehicle to operate at various speeds without overworking the motor.  The car's engine itself runs at a consistent speed; it's how the gears leverage that torque that accelerates and decelerates your vehicle.  Manual transmissions will unlock and lock gears to set the required gear ratios.  An automatic transmission uses the same set of gears for all ratios; therefore there is no need for manual shifting.  While it comes up short on gears, an automatic transmission does have several other required key components that you will not find in a manual transmission.  


Components of an Automatic Transmission

An automatic transmission has several elements that a manual transmission does not:

  • A hydraulic system which uses transmission fluid to control the gears.

  • A torque converter which replaces the clutch, allowing the engine to run while the gears vary in speed.  

  • A governor and a modulator which manage the speed and throttle signals for the gears.  


Automatic Transmission Maintenance

Because an automatic transmission has specialty components there are definite signs that mean your transmission needs maintenance:


  • Any red fluid leaking from underneath your car is most likely transmission fluid.  If your transmission is spilling fluid, you need to have your vehicle looked at right away.  Any delay could result in irreversible damage to your engine.  

  • If you feel that your engine is making new noises, vibration or suffering any significant strain when you are changing gears there could be an issue with the mechanics of your transmissions.


An automatic transmission can only make your life easier if it is functioning properly.  Opinions differ on how often you should flush your transmission - but most manufacturers recommend the procedure be performed at 100,000 or more miles for automatic transmissions. We recommend consulting your car owner's manual for the exact mileage for a transmission fluid flush for your particular vehicle's make and model.


At Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto, we understand the cost of vehicle maintenance and repair work on your vehicle. The team is available to educate on preventative maintenance stopping problems before they start.  Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto can check your car’s “vital” signs and provide recommendations for future service.  A proactive mindset can help you avoid future problems and ensure your vehicle is operating in a way that’ll keep you and your fellow passengers safe.  


*Always check your owner’s manual for your vehicle model’s specific instructions before attempting any type of repair. Copyright 2017 - Published February 1st, 2017 Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto