Your vehicle’s automatic or manual transmission is one of the most important components in your automobile. Most of us have a tendency to overlook this fact and don’t pay attention to this crucial part.

Automotive transmission gearbox with lots of details

If you are also one of those who don’t know what your transmission needs to run better and last longer, then its time to be familiar with it. You can reduce the maintenance cost and at the same time enhance the life of your vehicle with the information given below. After all, your car works hard for you and it deserves this much attention at least.


Transmission is the power train that converts the engine’s force into a controlled source of power. A basic automotive transmission system or auto transmission system comprises of various transmission components such as gears, shafts and other parts, which function together to enable the movement of an automobile.


The transmission is a group of parts that transmits power from a vehicle’s engine to the drive axle, which in turn makes the wheels go around. If you do not use a clutch to switch gears, your vehicle has an automatic transmission. If you use a clutch, your transmission is manual.


There is no need to know about all the small and big parts working inside. But being familiar with some of the basic ones is must. Following are the four main components of transmission that are must to be understood.


Gear sets: In a manual transmission, gears slide along shafts as you move the shift lever from one position to another, engaging various sized gears as required in order to provide the correct gear ratio.


Bell housing: It can be viewed as a cone shaped metal case under the vehicle. Bell housing is the bell shaped housing which covers the clutch and the flywheel in an automobile engine. In simple words it is metal covering around the flywheel and clutch. Sometimes it is also called clutch housing.


Filter: The transmission fluid has to be clean for your car to shift gears at the right time. Filters are required to catch any gunk inside the transmission system. Your transmission’s filter has a vital role to play in your car’s performance. If you haven’t replaced your filter recently, be sure to do this before you start thinking about rebuilds or replacements.


Transmission fluid: Transmission fluid is very important to an automatic transmission. All of the magic happens in the fluid. Most cars come with red transmission fluid, good to know if you are looking for a leak.


Most of the components of a transmission are constantly lubricated in fluid including the clutch packs and bands. The friction surfaces on these parts are designed to operate properly only when they are coated in oil. The hydraulic system is a complex maze of passages and tubes that sends transmission fluid under pressure to all parts of the transmission and torque converter.


Transmission is a complicated assembly and many different things may go wrong with it. Your best bet is to invest in inexpensive routine maintenance and get at least two written estimates if repairs are recommended.


The transmission can be in problem in case when you encounter

  • Loss of transmission fluid.
  • Discoloration of fluid.
  • Fluid has a “burnt” smell.
  • Sticky dipstick, with a “varnish” buildup.
  • Leaking fluid.  Spots on the ground under the car may indicate bad seals.
  • Car won’t shift during the first few minutes of operation.
  • Slipping.  The engine races, but the car doesn’t respond.
  • Shifting too soon or shifting too late.
  • No power when you depress the gas pedal.
  • Noise when transmission shifts gears.
  • Gears won’t hold firm.  Car backs up or goes forward in Park; or won’t hold in Park.
  • Absence of normal braking effect of being in gear: “neutral feeling” in driving gear.


There are certain problems which you can solve at your own level also. It makes you save your money, as well as time. Following points are a guide to what is to be done and when. These will provide you with all the necessary actions that you can perform.


After an overview about the most important parts, it will now be easier to understand what common transmission problems can occur and what kind of response is required for each one of them. Here are a few hurdles and effective solutions for them.


Transmission leakage

Leaking transmission is a very serious problem as it can cause the car to shift gears awkwardly or to refuse to go into gear at all. If the problem is related to transmission slipping, a fix can fairly easy be taken care of by a good mechanic.


Burning smell

Most burning smells from cars result from the transmission fluid severely overheating. So if you detect a burning smell from your car, have it inspected immediately to see if you can have the transmission fluid replaced.


Transmission filter replacement and cleaning

Transmission specialists will usually check it from their side only, but to make sure they do, you should request it at your next tune-up.  Mechanics will clean and seal the individual components of the transmission.


Dragging clutch

This is when the clutch fails to disengage the flywheel after the clutch pedal has been pressed. The best course of action in such cases is to visit a transmission repair shop as soon as realize that you have a problem.


Grinding transmission

If your car experiences any shaking or grinding while it is being driven, then it probably means that something is wrong with the transmission, specifically the gears inside the box.

You need to take care of your vehicle. There is no other way out to enhance its life and make it run smoother. Here is a list of things that you can handle on your own by just paying a bit more attention.

Transmission fluids


  • Know everything about the fluids. You should know how to check all the fluids in your car and what type of replacement fluids you need to purchase. This includes oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, antifreeze, and windshield wiper fluid.
  • All transmission fluids are not the same. Manufacturers blend different fluids to address specific demands of variety of designs. So treating them all the same may not be right for your vehicle.
  • Regularly check for proper levels. You should continuously check for the fluid level in the transmission. Always make sure your transmission has enough transmission fluid, and that that fluid isn’t dirty or burnt smelling.
  • Make sure you never overfill the system; it can also be equally harmful. It’s important to check your transmission fluid at least twice a year. Not only can a low fluid level cause your car to shift poorly, it can eventually lead to transmission damage, and a costly repair. If your car seems to be losing fluid on a regular basis, you may have a leak.


Service and owners manual


  • A proper service means more than simply draining the oil. Service time is when little problems are supposed to be found and fixed, before they become big problems. An experienced transmission technician knows how to identify problems that show up during a road test.
  • The owner should know everything about his car by reading the owner’s manual. All brands and models are a little different, so it’s important you know what your car needs and when it needs it. Doing so will keep your car running and help it last longer.
  • Don’t just go with the cheapest or the shop closest to you. Ask your friends and relatives for suggestions or you can read online reviews. Don’t do a blunder of choosing any mechanic at random. Your car is an expensive investment, so be cautious before handling it to someone just like that.


Regular to-do’s


  • Remember to change your air filter every six months or as recommended in your car’s owner’s manual. This will help increase your fuel efficiency.
  • Remember to check your headlights and tail lights regularly and replace them about once a year. They gradually become dimmer without you even noticing it.
  • Most gas stations have free air pressures where you can check and adjust the air pressure of your car. One should have a fair idea of when to add or release excess of air.
  • You should replace them every six months or so. You can find the correct type of windshield wipers in your owner’s manual.
  • You should be able to change the spark plug and other small cables in your car whenever you feel is necessary.
  • Don’t forget to put a roadside emergency kit in your car’s trunk so you have everything you need if your car breaks down and you can’t immediately find help.


You don’t have to be a mechanic in order to do this favor to your car. Much of the day-to-day driving maintenance for your vehicle must occur with the hood opened and up.