Things You Should NEVER Do To Your Transmission
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- Don't drive with the fluid low. Check the fluid every month (following the manufacturer's recommended procedure for your car). Add fluid if necessary before moving the vehicle. Driving with low fluid can seriously damage your transmission. Note: needing to add fluid is a sign of a problem, since transmissions don't consume or burn fluid. Have the leak examined before a small problem becomes a big one.
- Don't shift into "Drive" or "Reverse" while the engine is still at "Fast Idle". Doing this causes abrupt engagement that leads to premature failure of internal parts.
- Don't drive until the engine is warm. For your transmission to perform properly the fluid needs to be at operating temperature. The transmission will last longer if you give it a minute or two to come up to temperature.
- Don't downshift to use engine braking at traffic lights. A forced downshift at high engine RPM causes excessive wear on transmission components, particularly clutches and bands.
- Don't put any additives in your transmission. Transmission fluid is specially designed for the application. And it's a very competitive business. If there really was a superior additive to the fluid, the transmission manufacturers or the fluid makers would be falling all over themselves to put it in there. If you're having a problem, additives like Lucas may seem like a good idea at the time, and may actually work for a while. These additives work by swelling the rubber seals in the transmission. The problem is that the rubber seals keep swelling, so after about a month or so, they lose their integrity and fail. During this time, you'll be tearing up more of the transmission, and increasing your repair cost signficantly.
- Don't rock your car to get it unstuck. The excessive heat caused by this can burn out your transmission very quickly. Dig it out or have it towed. You'll save money.
- Don't tow your vehicle with the wheels on the ground. Driven wheels must be off the ground, or serious damage may result. This applies to manuals and automatics.
- Don't stop or start suddenly. Both can damage drivetrain components like engine and transmission mounts. These can lead to internal transmission damage.
- Don't use your shift lever instead of the brake. Shifting into "Reverse" while still moving forward or into "Drive" while still moving backwards will lead to premature transmission failure. Come to a full and complete stop before shifting gears.
- Don't leave the shift lever in "Park" without the parking brake set. If another vehicle were to even bump into yours it could break the parking pawl, leaving your vehicle to roll away. The transmission would require internal service to repair the broken pawl.
- Don't play transmission "doctor". Over the counter additives that are supposed to stop leaks or make the transmission shift better often contain chemicals that cause worn seals to swell. They may work, briefly. But the damage they will cause will increase your repair bill.