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NAPA Auto Care: Transmission Service & Repair

NAPA Auto Care: Transmission Service & Repair

Whether it is your prized standard pickup, that trusty family van or your showcase sportscar, a bad transmission can quickly go from a loud, smelly nuisance to a dangerous operation that may result in a crash. It is never a good time to lose control of your vehicle. Transmission problems can prevent you from accelerating quickly—leaving you potentially stranded in an intersection with oncoming traffic and at risk of a serious accident. For instance, the popular Hyundai Tucson with a dual-clutch transmission was the focus of a recall due to slipping transmissions. Hyundai drivers reported that their compact SUV failed to accelerate from a full stop and lost power at low speeds.

What is a Transmission in a Car?

A car transmission generates movement between gear sets to either increase or decrease the force (called torque), which spins your tires. In automatic vehicles, pressurized transmission fluid in the hydraulic gear system creates the force to shift gears. This fluid is also critical in both automatic and manual transmissions because it cools and lubricates the interlocking gears for seamless shifting. 

As time passes, the additives in transmission fluid that keep your gears clean dissipate, which allows fine metal shavings (from mechanical components rubbing together) to flake off and cause damage to costly transmission parts. In order to keep your transmission cool and collected, you must drain the dirty, used transmission oil and replace it with new, clean fluid. If your automatic transmission fluid is dark, cloudy, brown and smells burnt, it is time to drain and add bright, clear, sweet-smelling, red fluid.

Signs of a Bad TransmissionNAPA Premium Performance ATF+4 Automatic Transmission Fluid - 1 qt

If you can, check your transmission fluid level using a handy dipstick once a year. Recently, vehicle manufacturers have embraced ‘lifetime fill’ fluids, which includes transmission fluid. These newer models often contain sealed transmission fluid systems, which require you to pull a fill plug or drain plug to get a sample. If you have a sealed system, it is possibly best to take your modern vehicle to your local NAPA Auto Care center—ideally before your warranty expires. 

If you are experiencing transmission slipping (sudden loss of speed or inability to accelerate quickly), immediately schedule an appointment at your local NAPA Auto Care center. Otherwise, pay attention to these signs of a bad transmission in need of repair:

  • Is fluid leaking from underneath your vehicle? 
  • Do you notice a burning smell from under your hood?
  • Is your car, truck, minivan or SUV shaking or shuddering while in motion?
  • Do you hear grinding, screeching or clunking when accelerating or decelerating? 
  • Has your manual transmission gear shifter become harder to move into gear?
  • Does your vehicle delay between shifting gears (is there a pause before moving when shifting from park to drive or park to reverse)?

What is a Transmission Service?

Typically, transmission inspections and fluid exchanges need done every 24,000 to 36,000 miles or approximately every two to three years. With NAPA Auto Care, a standard transmission fluid service includes a:

  • Transmission fluid drain and fill
  • Transmission oil filter replacement (certain models)
  • Transmission oil pan gasket replacement (if needed)

A fluid drain and fill typically replaces less than half of the transmission oil, which is generally more than enough for routine maintenance. However, if you are experiencing transmission problems, a full flush—which requires using a powerful machine to pump out at least 80% of the used oil—is possibly necessary. A flush also requires pouring more transmission fluid (up to 16 quarts) into the vehicle, increasing the cost of labor and parts. 

Your transmission is always moving, which means it is constantly generating heat and friction. Fortunately, NAPA Auto Care provides a range of transmission services from a transmission leak inspection to total transmission replacement. After any inspection, the NAPA technician will thoroughly explain your vehicle’s condition. This includes documenting what problems are urgent and what repairs you can delay. If the damaged part no longer performs as designed, the repair is considered necessary.

How Much Does Transmission Service Cost?

Transmission service cost can vary depending on your make and model, as well as how extensive the damage is to your vehicle. For a Ford F-150, the cost of a transmission service can range from $650 to $750, whereas a routine transmission service on a Honda Accord can cost as little as $150 to $200.

Transmission Service With NAPA Auto Care

NAPA Auto Care centers are known for reliable service performed by ASE-certified technicians and specialist mechanics. More than 17,000 NAPA Auto Care centers nationwide are committed to diagnosing automotive problems and fixing them right the first time. Check out NAPA’s free nationwide 24-Month/24,000 Mile Peace-of-Mind Warranty, which covers parts and labor on qualifying repairs and services across The NAPA Network.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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More than 90 years ago, the National Automotive Parts Association ("NAPA") was created to meet America’s growing need for an effective auto parts distribution system. Today, 91% of do-it-yourself customers recognize the NAPA brand name. We have over 6,000 NAPA Auto Parts Stores nationwide serving all 50 states with a unique inventory control system that helps you find the exact part that you need.

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