With our New Location in Puyallup, Meridian Transmission is becoming popular throughout the Puyallup area for transmission maintenance and services. Improve the performance of your vehicle with transmission repair and replacement services from our qualified staff in the Puyallup area. Our family-owned and operated business is proud to feature a knowledgeable, dependable and honest transmission mechanic staff backed by more than 60 years of combined transmission replacement and repair experience.
From a basic Puyallup area transmission flush to a complete rebuild of your system, our mechanics are well-versed in all the nuances of automobile transmission service. For your peace of mind, our business offers nationwide warranties for 3 years or 36,000 miles with extended options available.
Other Mechanical Services
In addition to our Puyallup area transmission repair services, our expert mechanics also provide a wide range of other automobile maintenance and repair services. Visit our Mechanical Services Page for a comprehensive list of our services.
How often to change transmission fluid
How to use the overdrive
How not to damage the transmission
Note, the information contained in this guide is for educational purposes only and cannot substitute for the advice of professional mechanic or authorized dealer. Different cars have different requirements; for information specific to your car consult your owner's manual or call your local dealer.
The automatic transmission is one of the most complicated and thus one of the less reliable parts of the vehicle. The repair of an automatic transmission is complex and tends to be quite expensive. More than that, automatic transmission problem can make your car unsafe - some transmission defects may cause, for example, that the car can roll with the shifter in Park or drive forward with shifter in Neutral. On the other hand, if taking a good care of, your transmission can last you really long with no significant problems.
In this article you may find some simple tips how to prevent your automatic transmission from damage and keep it in a good shape. It doesn't require too much of your efforts - just periodical checking and regular maintenance.
Tip: Have you looked in your vehicle owner's manual? Try, it's a best source of information on your vehicle maintenance. You will be amazed how many useful info you may find in this book! Having more questions? Don't know what type of fluid to use? - just call Meridian Transmission and ask them, they have all the information and they will be pleased to help you.
What can damage your transmission
How to prevent automatic transmission from damage
How to use overdrive
Servicing your transmission
When it's time to visit the transmission shop
Where to find repair information, diagrams, specification, etc.
What can damage your automatic transmission
Most of the transmission troubles start from overheating. Under heavy load, such as towing a heavy trailer, rocking the vehicle from the snow, having continuous stop and go traffic in hot weather, racing, etc. the transmission overheats. At higher temperatures the transmission fluid burns, losing its lubricating qualities and becomes oxidized leaving deposits all over inside the transmission. Exposed to the heat the rubber seals and gaskets inside the transmission become hardened causing leaks. The metal parts warp and lose their strength. All this, sooner or later, results in transmission failure. For example, a friend of mine burned the transmission when he was spinning the wheels too hard trying to free his shiny Audi from the snow on the next day after he bought it!
However, overheating is not the only reason - sometimes transmission breaks down because of poor design, due to lack of maintenance or after being rebuilt by inexperienced technician. Few other reasons: harsh driving, too low or too high transmission fluid level or wrong transmission fluid type - a person I know added gear oil into the automatic transmission... guess, what happen? - the transmission died after 40 minutes of driving!
How to prevent the transmission from damage
- Regularly check your parking space for leaks. Doesn't matter, is it the engine oil leak, power steering fluid or transmission fluid; if you discover any, get it fixed before it caused something serious.
- Once in a while check the transmission fluid level and condition. Not all cars however have the automatic transmission dipstick, in some cars, for example, in late Volkswagen models, the transmission fluid can only be checked by the dealer. Consult with your owner's manual for details. If the transmission fluid level is too low, there is a leak somewhere that needs to be fixed.
- Change the fluid as often as it said in your owner's manual or when it becomes too dark (rather brown than red) or dirty.
Also, keep in mind that an automatic transmission can not be drained completely - there is always some transmission fluid left inside the transmission (the torque converter, in the valve body, etc.) which means you only can change about %60 of the fluid at once. This is one more reason to change it more often.
- Use only the same type of the transmission fluid as specified in the owner's manual or on the dipstick. Some vehicles (e.g Dodge Caravan) are very sensitive to fluid type
- Never shift to the Reverse or Parking until the car comes to a complete stop.
- Never shift from the Parking mode when engine rpm is higher than normal idle.
- Always hold a brakes down when shifting from Parking.
- The automatic transmission can be damaged if towing with the drive wheels on the road. Always use a dolly or place powered wheels on the towing platform (if the vehicle is front wheel drive - tow it from the front leaving rear wheels on the road.
How to use overdrive
Generally speaking, overdrive (O/D) is the highest gear in the transmission. On most cars the automatic transmission has 3 speeds and Overdrive (forth speed). Overdrive allows the engine to have less rpm with higher speed in order to have better fuel efficiency. When you switch it on, you allow the transmission to shift into overdrive mode after the certain speed is reached (usually 30 - 40 mph depending on the load). When it's off, you limit transmission shifting by third speed. In normal driving condition the overdrive should be always on.
You may need to switch it off when driving in mountainous area or towing a trailer. [The automatic transmission automatically shifts from OD to the 3-th gear when it feel more load. When it feels less load it shifts back to the O/D, but under certain conditions, e.g: driving uphill or towing a trailer, the transmission can not decide to stay in OD or to shift into 3-th speed and it starts to shift back and forth. That's the time you may switch it off and help the transmission to decide.] .
You also may need to switch it off when you want to slowdown using the engine braking, for example, driving downhill. [For more details, check your owner's manual]
Servicing your transmission
I'd recommend bringing you car to our shop - we have original parts, we know exactly what type of the fluid to use and our technicians are highly trained to service your car. Even if you go to the dealer, always ask to use original parts - sometimes, they give you generic parts which not the same quality as original.
When it's time to go to the transmission shop
If you experience any problems with your transmission such as leaks, noises, problems with shifting, etc. (Follow this link to learn more: How to check an automatic transmission) - don't wait until the problem will become worse and car will finally stop somewhere on a highway, visit your trusted local transmission shop. Automatic transmission problems never disappear by themselves. Also, when going for the repair, try to explain to service person more detailed - what exactly problem you experience, when it happens, what does it look like. It will be easier for them to repair the transmission. Before going to the transmission shop for the repair ask them about the warranty - the longer warranty they will give you, the better will be the repair.