Transmission Service and Repair in Mooresville, NC
At STR Automotive, our technicians are trained and have experience in servicing the transmission system in all makes and models. Second only to an engine failure, a transmission failure is the most expensive repair to a vehicle. The typical transmission replacement costs between $3,000 - and $5,000. So keeping it in good working order is in your best financial interests. We’ve put together this FAQ to help our customers avoid costly transmission repairs.
Types of Transmissions
Automatic Transmission: This is the most common transmission installed in vehicles today. It uses transmission fluid pressure, solenoids, and a computer to determine when to change between gears for the best performance and fuel economy. Some automatic transmissions in modern vehicles have up to 9 gears!
Manual Transmission: This is the simplest of all transmissions. It requires the driver to select the gear they want to be in, and the driver has to use the clutch pedal to engage a clutch which “activates” the transmission.
CVT Transmission: This is the new kid on the block in the transmission world. CVT stands for continuously variable transmission. As the name implies, it doesn’t have standard gears and instead uses a belt on cone system that is constantly changing the “gear” ratio.
What is Transmission Fluid?
There are many different types of transmission fluids, and depending on what type of transmission your vehicle is equipped with determines which one your vehicle uses. Manual transmissions use a type of fluid very similar to the oil used in the engine. It serves to lubricate the gears inside the transmission.
An automatic transmission uses automatic transmission fluid (surprise surprise huh?). The fluid in an automatic transmission serves multiple purposes. In addition to lubricating the moving parts, it also serves to cool the transmission, clean and protect metal surfaces, condition seals and hoses, and provide the correct pressure so that the internal parts, responsible for shifting, can work as intended. As you can see, the fluid in an automatic transmission is a very important part of the system. In fact, having too much or not enough can drastically affect the way the transmission operates.
A CVT transmission uses a special type of fluid. This fluid is used to lubricate, but also provide grip. Confusing huh? There are parts that need to be lubricated inside the transmission, but the main operating parts, the belt on cone system, needs friction so that the belt can grip on the cone to provide the needed gear ratio. So a special fluid was developed that would react differently depending on what type of surface the fluid is in contact with at that time. This fluid tends to break down faster than traditional ATF, so it’ll need to be serviced more frequently. We recommend 30K intervals for all CVT transmissions.
Where’s My Dipstick?
Short answer is that you probably don’t have one. Most modern transmissions do not have a dipstick to check your fluid level. They instead have a drain and a fill plug on the side of the transmission. In order to check the level properly, a factory level scan tool is needed. No need to worry though, if you don’t have any leaks then your level is not likely low. If you do develop a leak, we at STR Automotive can repair your leak and properly fill your transmission to the proper level.
Does My Transmission Have a Filter?
Maybe, some trucks and larger SUVs have a serviceable filter, but the majority of vehicles on the road today do not have a filter that can be serviced. They instead utilize a mesh screen that gets cleaned through the process of a transmission fluid exchange. If your vehicle does have a serviceable filter, we recommend servicing it instead of doing a fluid exchange.
How Long Does a Transmission Service Take?
The typical service takes about 45 mins - 1 hour. FIlter services typically take 1 - 2 hours.
How Often Should I be Servicing my Transmission?
The service interval for transmissions varies greatly between manufacturers and models. Some even claim that their transmission fluid is a “lifetime” fluid. Considering the price of replacement of the transmission, we tend to air on the side of caution. Therefore, we recommend replacing the transmission fluid of your vehicle every 30k - 50k miles depending on how you use your vehicle. If you do a lot of stop and go driving and/or towing, you should be on the 30K side of the spectrum. If you do all highway driving, closer to the 50k. If you’re like most and fall somewhere in between, then adjust accordingly. We like to remind our customers that nobody ever blew their transmission up by changing the fluid too often.
My Transmission is Slipping, Will a Flush Help?
Unfortunately, probably not. Fluid exchanges are maintenance designed to prevent problems from forming. If a problem is already occurring, changing the fluid is probably not going to help.