The winter season is almost here in the Central Valley. And though we don’t have to worry much about snow around here, it can get quite cold and wet. Colder weather generally puts more strain on your transmission system and other vehicle components. It’s a good idea to take a few extra steps to make sure your transmission is taken care of with winter driving conditions. Here are a few simple tips we recommend.
1. Get Your Transmission Inspected and Serviced
If you think something might be wrong with your transmission (strange noises, sluggish acceleration, slipping gears, grinding gears, etc.), you’ll want to get it inspected by a local transmission specialist. At Ralph’s Transmission, we’ll gladly provide an external inspection and diagnostic testing for free. If there are any concerns, we’ll let you know what maintenance or repairs are recommended. It’s always best to take care of minor problems before they turn into major transmission damage.
2. Check Your Transmission Fluid
A key part of the inspection process is checking the transmission fluid level, coloration and consistency. This is something you can also do on your own. If the level is low, there could be a leak somewhere or it may just need to be topped off (just remember to use the proper transmission fluid for your particular vehicle). If it is dirty, dark, filled with metal shavings or has a burnt smell, you may need a standard transmission service and/or repairs.
3. Let Your Car Warm Up
When the engine is running cold, it puts more strain on the transmission system. Let your engine warm up a little longer when you start it up in the morning (especially after a really cold night). This is less of a concern with newer vehicles, but still a few extra seconds of warming up will be good for your engine and transmission.
4. Smooth Driving
As a driver, you can also impact the health of your transmission. Driving fast, accelerating or decelerating too quickly, or shifting roughly in a manual transmission vehicle can all be bad for your transmission. This is true in any season, but even more of a problem when it’s cold or wet outside. Drive safer and shift smoother to protect your transmission system and its vital mechanical components.
5. Check Transmission Seals
There are several key seals associated with the transmission. The rear main engine seal and transmission pan gasket are two of the most important. You can check your seals for any leaks or have a professional transmission technician inspect your whole system (as mentioned in tip #1 above). Any weak, worn or cracked seals should be replaced as soon as possible to prevent fluid leaks and protect the integrity of the transmission.
These are just a few winter transmission care tips. If you have any questions about your transmission or want to schedule a transmission inspection, maintenance or repair service, contact Ralph’s Transmission at 209.526.1909 or book your appointment online.