The gearbox is one of the most complex elements of a vehicle. It is a set of sprockets or pinions (a gear) that allows converting the operation of the engine, in the movement of the wheels. It requires several calculations for its design and also, super resistant and well-lubricated parts.
Generally, a gearbox does not present problems, although many users do not make proper use of it and it is abused more than necessary. However, due to the complexity of its design and manufacture, plus the hours required for its disassembly and repair, a breakdown can be very expensive.
Detecting it can be key to the life of the car or the well-being of our current account, so it is important to follow a series of guidelines that allow us to recognize what is failing in the vehicle’s transmission.
It is possible that the fault does not come from the gearbox itself, but from some of the components that shape the transmission system, such as the clutch, the bearings, the seals, etc. If any of these parts fail or are in poor condition, it is likely that we will have problems.
If you notice any of this, go to your workshop and try not to move the car
All vehicles are equipped with a transmission system that differentiates one from another is the gearbox installed: manual or automatic. In any case, if you find these symptoms it is advisable to go to the workshop as soon as possible to check your car and solve the possible failure.
- The smell of burning oil: If you notice a smell of burning oil, it is likely that the transmission is overheating. When this happens it could be because the fluid levels are low or because it is not the right oil for that transmission.
- Noise in neutral: This behavior can be due to low transmission fluid levels or because the fluid needs to be changed. It can also be due to a mechanical problem, in which case you should go to the shop for repair.
- The changes do not come in: This usually occurs in transmissions with manual changes when the clutch pedal is operated. The cause may be due to a mismatch in the gear cables or clutch connection, or because the transmission lacks fluid or does not have the correct viscosity.
- The clutch engages: When you press the clutch pedal to engage the gearbox and you notice that the clutch engages, there may be a fault in the connecting cables or the discs.
The transmission system does not usually break down, as long as it is properly maintained
- Sharpness in the automatics: This usually occurs in parking maneuvers and is due to a failure in the electronic unit of the cash register management.
- The automatic gearbox slips in all gears or has difficulty accelerating: This may be due to the oil level being below the minimum level and would need to be replaced to see if this problem is solved.
- Gears ‘pop out’: If you happen to insert a gear and it ‘pops out’ and returns to neutral, it’s a clear sign that there’s a problem with the gearbox. It could be the guide elements, the forks, loose screws or even a low oil level.
- Fluid Spillage: If you see fluid leaks on the ground, it could be from the transmission oil. It may not be a problem and you may only need to change the seals because they are old, but don’t let it go by just in case (it could be engine oil and not gearbox oil…).
- The car shakes or squeaks: If your car squeaks when you make a change or shakes every time you change gear, are obvious indicators that something is wrong. The reasons can be many, from lack of lubrication to misalignment of the assembly or broken parts.
In spite of all these symptoms, the transmission system is usually a strong and robust system that does not usually break down, provided that proper maintenance is carried out to ensure optimal operating conditions. Transmission problems may come before the bearings than the gearbox, or the ball and socket joints. However, the passage of time and the number of kilometers cause particularly noticeable wear on moving parts.
Maintenance is the key to a good operation
In order to extend its life, we recommend a series of tips to keep in mind:
- Change the transmission oil according to the manufacturer’s maintenance book. Approximately every 50,000 kilometers.
- Never overload the vehicle and keep the tires in good condition by using similar, well-calibrated wheels.
- Be cautious of mudslides or aquaplaning if your transmission is automatic, as these can cause dangerous overheating. You should also be careful not to stand too long with the vehicle running so that the oil temperature does not rise.
- Don’t overload the clutch – in the case of a manual transmission – to avoid excessive bearing wear, but always push the clutch pedal all the way in to avoid forcing the system.
- Always check the condition of the gearbox oil by replacing it every 25,000 kilometers.
- Keep the cooling system ready to prevent the transmission from overheating.
Always keep in mind that the information provided on transmission system failures and these tips are not intended to replace the work of a professional, but to get to know your vehicle better.
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