Cordova Auto Centers Tech Question:
My name is Suzanne. We were taking a camping trip at our favorite TX state park over a three day weekend. About half way to our campsite, the transmission went out on our family car. It took all weekend to get towed out and get back home.
What can I do to prevent transmission problems in the future?
Cordova Auto Centers Answer:
Transmission repairs can be expensive at San Antonio auto service centers. On top of that poor Suzanne was in the TX backcountry. Her vacation weekend turned into three days of car repairs.
Look, family car transmissions are tough and durable. All you have to do to maintain them is replace the fluid on schedule. The fluid gets contaminated with bits of clutch plates and metal. Dirty transmission fluid under pressure acts like liquid sandpaper, eating away at important gaskets and seals. Then your transmission doesn’t shift as well. It can start to leak and overheat. And then you could end up like Suzanne.
Another thing: if you carry heavy loads or tow a trailer on San Antonio highways, your transmission is working much harder and running hotter than under normal conditions. Your transmission fluid may need to be changed sooner. Check your family car owner’s manual for your severe service schedule or talk with your friendly Cordova Auto Centers service specialist about when you should have your transmission serviced.
San Antonio car owners who do a lot of towing may want to consider adding an external transmission cooler to reduce transmission operating temperatures and extend its life.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed that TX vehicles are getting more and more powerful and at the same time are getting better and better fuel economy. Much of that’s because of better transmissions. To get a understanding of why that is, let’s turn to gear experts – San Antonio bicyclists.
A cyclist’s cadence is the number of times per minute he or she pedals. Their ideal pedal speed is the zone where they can most efficiently generate power over a sustained period of time. The experienced cyclist uses his gears to keep his pedal speed in the ideal zone whether he’s climbing a steep Converse hill, cruising on a flat stretch or killing a downhill.
Look at how it works: if you have a 1-speed bike, you really have to pump hard to get up to speed. And your top speed is limited by how fast as you can pedal. And if you’ve got a hill to climb – forget about it.
Now let’s add a couple of gears: one lower and another one higher. With the lower first gear, you can get up to your ideal pedal speed quicker. When you shift to second, your pedal speed drops below ideal for a while as you work to get back to peak efficiency. Same thing happens when you shift to third, but now you can go much faster than you could with a 1-speed bike using the same effort.
Add more gears and you can see that it’s much easier to maintain ideal pedal speed. The result, quicker starts, better hill climbing, higher top speed and, most of all, a lot less fatigue for the rider.
Like a cyclist, every family car engine has an ideal engine speed called its power band. When an engine is running in that zone, it can make power very efficiently. It’s the transmission’s job to keep the engine in the power band over a wide range of operating conditions. Today 5 or 6 speed automatic transmissions are pretty much the minimum in TX, and 7 and 8 speeds are fairly common.
Obviously these sophisticated family car transmissions are very costly. In fact, next to your engine, your transmission is the most expensive component in your vehicle, so it pays to take good care of it. Modern transmissions can adversely affect family car engine performance when they aren’t working right.
All auto makers have a recommended service interval for changing your old, contaminated transmission fluid. Getting transmission service on schedule at Cordova Auto Centers in San Antonio keeps it operating at its best and can prevent costly damage. Ask your friendly Cordova Auto Centers service advisor if it’s time for an automotive analysis of your transmission.
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Cordova Auto Centers
12715 Nacogdocher Road
San Antonio, TX 78217