Transmission Repair Frequently Asked Questions
- Do you have any transmission tips which can save me money?
- Why does it cost so much to have my automatic transmission repaired?
- Why can't you tell me what it's going to cost to fix my transmission without taking it apart first?
- How do I know I'm not getting ripped off?
- What is ATRA?
- How does ATRA take the worry out of automatic transmission repair?
Do you have any transmission tips which can save me money?
Winterize your automatic transmission!
While most people are aware that their radiators need cold weather attention, few know their vehicle's transmission can benefit from a winter "physical." First, check the area around your car's radiator for leaves, paper, or other debris that might impede the incoming flow of cool air. While checking the radiator area, inspect all the belts and hoses around the engine compartment. Rubber components are always the first to fail because they're so susceptible to temperature changes. If any are dry or cracked, have them replaced now before they break. Once the temperature drops, you may notice a shift delay in your transmission. This can also be temperature and rubber related and may indicate a hardening of the rubber seals in your transmission. Hardened seals are a serious condition and should be checked out by a qualified technician.
Be sure to pay attention to the level and condition of the transmission fluid in your automatic transmission. Check the fluid level every time you check the engine oil level. And, keep an eye on the condition of the fluid -- it should be clear not cloudy, and should have no particular odor. Like engine oil, transmission fluid should be changed at regular intervals -- check your owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommendation. The transmission is one of the hardest working components in your car, so give it the preventive attention it deserves -- you're going to be depending on it through a long winter season. See our Coupon page for St. Louis Transmission Discount Coupons.
Why does it cost so much to have my automatic transmission repaired?
It doesn't. At least, it doesn't when you understand what we need to do to repair your vehicle's transmission.
You see, repairing an automatic transmission is not as simple as changing the spark plugs or adjusting the carburetor. Todays automatic transmissions--particularly those with front wheel drive technology or computerized systems--are extremely complicated units.
There are over three thousand parts in todays average automatic transmission. And the parts for some late model imports can cost ten times as much as parts for older, larger cars.
Just getting to the transmission parts you need to see to find out what's wrong often calls for major surgery - especially in smaller cars where the manufacturer has tightly packed different mechanical systems on top of and around each other.
With such complex units, preventive maintenance is the key to keeping repair costs down. To help head off major repairs, we recommend you have your car transmission serviced at least every 12,000 miles. Get a discount coupon for St. Louis transmission fluid change and diagnosis.
Why can't you tell me what it's going to cost to fix my transmission without taking it apart first?
You'd be amazed at how many people want us to diagnose their transmission problems over the phone. Aside from the fact that a consumer might easily miss a symptom a trained mechanic would see or hear when the vehicle is brought in, can you tell the difference between a rattle, buzz, grind, whine and a slip? And do you mean the same thing by those words as we do?
The plain truth is, We simply can't be sure of what's wrong with your transmission until we take a look inside. Nobody can.
Symptoms which can be observed externally--like noises, leaks or vibrations--can signal a wide range of possible problems, not necessarily a single malfunction. Also, many malfunctions that can occur with todays transmissions may be caused by a component outside the transmission like a Throttle Position Sensor, a MAP sensor, or even a simple fuse. We've got to give your transmission a thorough checkup to really now what's causing the symptom.
If anyone ever tells you he can accurately diagnose what's wrong without a thorough transmission diagnosis (which may include looking inside), you'd better get a second opinion.
How do I know I'm not getting ripped off?
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from dishonest transmission repair shops.
First, you can ask your regular automotive mechanic to recommend a transmission shop to you. You can then check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if that shop has had any complaints filed against it. And you should always ask to see your transmission once it comes apart and insist that your old parts be returned to you.
But there's even a simpler way to protect yourself: have your automatic transmission repairs done by a member of ATRA - The Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association.
What is ATRA?
ATRA is a nonprofit professional organization for the automatic transmission repair industry. Its members comprise the worlds oldest and largest network of independent transmission rebuilding firms, with over 2000 members in the U.S. and Canada alone.
One of the major reasons ATRA exists is to protect its members and the public from dishonest or incompetent repair shops.
How does ATRA take the worry out of automatic transmission repair?
First, ATRA requires its member to employ experienced personnel whose skills have been tested and certified by the Association. To make sure they stay up to date on the latest automatic transmission models, ATRA also requires Association members to attend annual training seminars. When you take your transmission to an ATRA member's shop, you can be confident your dealing with technicians who know what they're doing.
Second, ATRA requires its members to conduct business in an ethical manner. Applicants for membership are not allowed to have unanswered Better Business Bureau complaints against them, nor may they ever have had more than five business-related suits filed against them, nor may they have been found guilty of any business related crime or violation within the previous two years. When you take your transmission to an ATRA member's shop, you can be confident your dealing with someone who treats customers fairly and honestly.
And third, when you have your automatic transmission rebuilt by an ATRA member, you can be protected by the Association's "Golden Rule Warranty Plan." This Plan is an inter-member warranty program sponsored by ATRA in which your rebuilt automatic transmission would be fixed for free by an ATRA member's shop should something go wrong with it within up to one year or 12,000 miles of the original repair. (It's important that you understand your warranty. Talk to your local ATRA member for the specific conditions of this program and how it applies to the work you need done on your automatic transmission.)
Yes, we know it's not any fun when something goes wrong with your automatic transmission. But you can be confident you will be treated fairly and competently when you take your automatic transmission to an ATRA member for auto repairs.
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