When it comes to diagnosing a transmission problem, there are different inspections that the technicians at Ralph’s Transmission may need to perform to get to the real source of the issue. There are external inspections, which are the simplest. There are internal inspections, which are much more in depth. Then, there are also transmission diagnostic tests, which can be very helpful in identifying specific problems.

Most customers come into our shop assuming they have transmission problems. Perhaps a transmission fluid leak was noticed. Maybe the gears are grinding more than normal. The vehicle may not be shifting into gear, or it just may be unusually sluggish. These are all signs that there is something wrong with the transmission. As with any automotive repair, some repairs are simple and some are way more complex. That’s why we perform the inspections as needed.

Let’s look at the different inspection processes used at Ralph’s Transmission:

External Inspection

When you bring your car into Ralph’s Transmission, we’ll gladly perform an external inspection of your transmission for free. It can be done without having to remove the transmission from the vehicle. One of our technicians will take a detailed look at the transmission and common issues such as transmission fluid levels and viscosity. If the fluid is low or burnt, it could be a sign of a major transmission problem or the vehicle may just need a standard transmission service where we change the fluid and filter.


In most cases, we’ll perform diagnostic tests in conjunction with an external inspection. However, it is a much more technology based procedure. Your car’s computer will reveal fault codes if something wrong is detected in the engine or transmission. A diagnostic test may show any number of fault codes. Again, some may be minor and others may be major. Between the computer diagnostics and the hands-on external inspection, the Ralph’s Transmission technicians can usually get a pretty good idea what may be wrong. If it appears to be something significant, then we would recommend a deeper internal inspection.

Internal Inspection

A proper internal inspection of the transmission requires us to remove it from the vehicle, so we can actually look inside the housing and inspect specific internal components. Sometimes, the whole transmission needs to be disassembled to get to the source of the problem. However, an internal inspection will always reveal everything that is wrong with a transmission, which will allow us to accurately quote recommended repair prices. In many cases when there are major issues, we will simply recommend a full custom transmission rebuild. Our flat rate price is often less expensive than a bunch of a la carte repairs, and the rebuilt transmission will be backed completely by our 3 Year, 100,000 Mile Warranty.

Not every shop will do this, but Ralph’s Transmission will perform external inspections, diagnostic tests, internal inspections without charge to our customers. Once the transmission is removed for an internal inspection, however, it is up to you what you want to do with it. We will let you know what is wrong and what it will take to fix it. If you choose not to do the repairs at Ralph’s, there will be a small charge to reinstall the transmission in your vehicle if you wish. Or, you always have the option to take everything back as-is so you can bring the removed transmission directly to another shop for service.

Our focus at Ralph’s Transmission is to provide honest, accurate transmission repair services. Whatever type(s) of inspections are required, we are going to uncover the source of the transmission problem and we have the expertise to fix it right. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know so you can make informed repair decisions.

If you have transmission issues that need looking at, contact the Central Valley transmission specialists at 209.526.1909 or schedule your service visit online.