An image of a silver SUV on a sunny road.One step we generally take when inspecting vehicles at Ralph’s Transmission is to conduct a road test. This is done along with diagnostic testing and a physical inspection of the transmission and transmission fluid. All of these steps together help us determine the source of the problem and which transmission repairs need to be recommended.

We often get asked what the road test is and why it is beneficial to the inspection process. Here is what you need to know about road testing.

What is a Road Test?

As long as the vehicle is drivable, one of our transmission technicians will take it out for a brief road test as part of the initial transmission inspection process. Our primary goal is to replicate the problems that the customer is describing. If you tell us the vehicle isn’t shifting smoothly or is slipping in and out of certain gears, we want to experience that ourselves. The same goes for any unusual noises or smells you may be describing. Being able to feel what you feel will help our technicians better diagnose the issue(s) at hand.

Our technicians are expertly trained and have experienced every type of transmission problem you can imagine. They are able to pick up on slight performance issues relating to the transmission or drivetrain. Then, the physical inspection generally confirms what they suspect is wrong based on the diagnostics and road test.

How Long Does the Road Test Take?

It depends on the vehicle and its transmission issues. Sometimes a short drive around the block is all we need to determine the problem. In other cases, we need to take it out on the highway when the signs of trouble only happen at higher speeds and in higher gears. We aren’t going to put much extra mileage on your vehicle, but we do need to take it out long enough to experience the issues you are experiencing.

What if You Can’t Replicate the Problem?

Don’t worry. This does happen sometimes. A customer comes in describing a specific problem, and we are unable to replicate it during the road test. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem. Some vehicles are touchy and some symptoms can come and go. This is why road testing is just one step of the inspection process. If there is a significant transmission issue, it will be found through diagnostic testing and the physical inspection.

How Much Does the Road Test Cost?

At Ralph’s Transmission, our initial inspection process (including the road test) is free of charge. We will run diagnostics, conduct the road test and perform an external transmission inspection. We will also look at the transmission fluid, as that generally tells us a lot. This is all done for free and we will provide you with a detailed inspection report. If further internal inspection is recommended (which requires removing the transmission from the vehicle and opening it up to look at the components inside), we will walk you through that process and prices for any repairs or reinstallation.

If you suspect you might have transmission problems, turn to the Central Valley transmission experts. Call Ralph’s Transmission today at 209.526.1909 or schedule your service appointment online.