Reasons Why Your Ride is Bumpy and Rough

Why does your car feel like you’re driving on a bumpy road?image - stone paved bumpy road

Sometimes your car does not ride as smoothly as you like. If the ride gets really bumpy or rough, and you’re not on a dirt road, there are some things that could be mechanically wrong. There are a number of things that can cause a rough, bumpy ride while you’re accelerating, cruising, or coming to a stop.

Think of How You Drive

Did you run over or bump into something?

One of the first things you can do is think of anything that might have happened recently that could cause damage to your car. Did you bump into a curb or bottom out? Smashing into a curb can damage your tires or rims, and throw off your alignment. If you bottom out, your suspension can be damaged, as well as the underside of your car. If you drive in harsh conditions on a regular basis, your car will be more prone to damage and need more regular maintenance. See this infographic on severe driving habits to help you assess if you are a severe maintenance driver.

Some Things to Check if Your Ride is Bumpy and Roughimage - Stack of three tires, fourth tire leaning against stack

Tires

Tires are usually the first thing to check if your car’s ride feels strange. Rough, bumpy rides can be due to bad tire alignment, incorrect air pressure – too low, too high, different pressures in each tire – or even the tires not being mounted properly. Worst case scenario could be the rims themselves have become damaged or warped.

Take care when changing a tire.

Many times a person will change a tire and not set the tire firmly enough against the back disk. Once the lug nuts have been tightened, they may think it’s secure, only to discover that the car wobbles, vibrates, or shakes when driving, especially at high speed. Even if there is only slight vibration, it will cause excess wear and tear on the tires, brakes, and other components.

Know the signs of a bad alignment.

Sometimes an alignment problem can be difficult to detect. Usually, you can feel the car pull to one side as you accelerate, and it will drift while cruising or coasting. If the steering wheel turns to one side and feels like its fighting you, the alignment should be checked. One sure sign of bad alignment is uneven tire wear on the front tires. Excessive wear or baldness on the inside or outside of either tire is an indication that the alignment is off.

Rotate the tires to prevent uneven wear.

Regular tire rotation – about every 3,000 miles or once a season – helps to keep the treads even and makes it easier to spot or sense trouble.

Maintain the correct air pressure in the tires.

Uneven air pressure in your tires can cause all kinds of problems – especially a rough ride – and can be dangerous if left unchecked. If the pressure is too high, they might warp or become misshapen. High air pressure causes tires to wear out faster. If the pressure is excessively high or exceeds the manufacturer’s recommendations, the tire might blow out, particularly at high speed. An over-inflated tire will also cause you to feel every bump and crack in the road. If the tire pressure is too low, your car will tend to feel like it’s dragging a little, and have more of a an absorbent or muddy feel as you go over bumps.

Check your tires regularly and schedule an appointment with your local AAMCO Minnesota shop to see if the pressure in your tires is correct for the season and conditions.

Suspensionimage - 3D render of a car suspension

The suspension doesn’t just provide a smooth, comfortable ride – it helps the control and handling qualities of your vehicle. Without shocks and struts, a vehicle would bounce down the road, making driving extremely difficult, not to mention dangerous. Your suspension can affect all the other things mentioned in this article.

Shocks and struts are considered critical to the safe operation of your vehicle – they are designed to help keep your tires on the road and you in control of your vehicle. If your suspension fails, you will know it.

Know the signs of a damaged suspension.

Your car might lean to one side, almost feeling like it’s going to drag on the ground. When going over bumps, it will bounce up and down like it is on very loose springs, before finally settling. You will feel sharp jolts through the steering wheel as you drive over potholes, bumps, curbs, and other road hazards.

As with all parts and systems on your car, the suspension system and its individual parts wear out over time and must be replaced. Shocks and struts not only affect the ride and performance of your car, but can contribute to other problems, such as alignment, tire wear, steering, and braking. If your car rocks, sways, or bounces up and down a lot during normal driving, cornering, and braking it is probably time to schedule an appointment at your local AAMCO Minnesota dealership and have your suspension system checked by a certified mechanic.

TransmissionAutomotive transmission gearbox in detail.

Let AAMCO take the fear out of transmission repair.

It’s your transmission…” Those three words can mean repairs from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. It usually depends on how quickly you are able to tell your transmission needs servicing and when you actually take it in for service.

Know what transmission problems to look for.

Many people simply don’t know they have a transmission problem, even as it occurs. They might notice an occasional thump or hard shift, maybe a passing vibration. But once the transmission really starts to fail, the signs are unmistakable. Leaking fluid, hard shifts, loss of power, lots of vibrating, whining, grinding, and other noises will become regular operating features of the car.

If you know your tires and suspension are OK, then have your transmission checked.

Have the transmission inspected if you experience any problems shifting, or odd behavior like a rough, bumpy ride when you know your tires and suspension are in good condition. A brand new transmission can cost as much as a used car, so it’s better to maintain the transmission on a regular schedule. Have the fluid and filter checked, flushed if necessary or if called for by the factory schedule.

Is it the torque converter?

If your car shakes and shudders, it could mean the lockup clutch is malfunctioning. This might occur at speeds around 35-45 miles per hour. It’s a noticeable problem and feels like you’re driving on a road with lots of small bumps. A worn out lockup clutch can make the transition from acceleration to direct drive difficult, and it’s a sign that you need to have your transmission checked.

Come to AAMCO Minnesota for All Your Car Repairs & Maintenance

You need an experienced transmission specialist who can honestly tell you what needs to be done.

If you have questions about your car’s transmission, engine, repair or maintenance needs, AAMCO Minnesota can help. Stop by or call a local AAMCO Minnesota repair shop for a Multi Point Vehicle Courtesy Check for your transmission and related systems. We’ll winterize your car and get you ready for the cold, snowy winter driving months ahead. We can handle all your scheduled car maintenance and repairs, from brakes to factory recommended maintenance.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

Checklist for Preparing Your Car for Winter

Daydreaming on Your Cell Phone While Rubbernecking

 

Locally Owned & Operated AAMCO Minnesota Transmission Shops

 
AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty at AAMCO Minneapolis, MN. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.

Write a Review

AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.

Write a Review

AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Hopkins

10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

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What is a Torque Converter?

Automatic Transmission Torque Converters

Transmissions have always been complex systems, and they get more sophisticated every year. With the introduction of new technologies, such as CVT’s, dual-clutch, and semi-automatic – and transmissions with up to 10 gears – modern cars overall become more complicated. One thing that remains consistent is the torque converter. Its purpose is straightforward – transfer power, or torque, from the engine to the transmission.

Cars with automatic transmissions don’t have clutches, so they need a way to let the engine keep turning while the wheels and gears in the transmission come to a stop. Manual transmission cars use a clutch that disconnects the engine from the transmission. Automatic transmissions use a torque converter. A torque converter is a coupling that relies on a fluid hydrodynamic to allow the engine to spin independently of the transmission. When the engine is idling, such as at a stop light, the amount of torque going through the torque converter is small, but still enough to require some pressure on the brake pedal to stop the car from creeping. When you release the brake and step on the gas, the engine speeds up and pumps more fluid into the torque converter, causing more power (torque) to be transmitted to the wheels.

Getting the Power from Engine to Transmission

Impeller

Inside the torque converter are three main parts. The first part of the assembly is called the impeller, also known as the pump. It is filled with fluid and it spins with the engine crankshaft. The faster it spins, the more force is created as the fluid flows through it faster and harder.

Turbine

The impeller forces the fluid into another assembly of blades called the turbine. The turbine sits opposite the impeller and rotates as the fluid from the impeller hits its blades. As the fluid flows through the turbine, it is repeatedly transferred from the outer part to the inner part of the turbine, and returned to the impeller. This constant circulation of fluid flow from impeller into turbine, then back to impeller, creates a fluid coupling.

Stator

As the transmission fluid returns to the impeller to keep the cycle going is where the torque is created. At this point the fluid is flowing in a different direction than it was originally as it came out of the impeller. It has to be reversed, which slows the fluid and magnifies torque. This is where the stator comes in. The stator is another series of fins located between the two turbines on the transmission shaft. Its blades are angled so that when the transmission fluid flows into them, it reverses direction and gets channeled back to the impeller. When the vehicle stops, the stator’s one-way “clutch” causes it to stop spinning, which breaks the hydrodynamic circuit.image - torque converter turbine

3 Phases of Operation

Stall

The engine provides power to the impeller, but the impeller doesn’t rotate because the driver keeps pressure on the brake, such as when at a stop light. The vehicle does not move, but it does not stall.

Acceleration

Acceleration occurs when the driver releases the brake and steps on the gas pedal. The impeller rotates faster, and there is a large difference between the impeller and turbine speed. The converter produces torque multiplication, which is necessary for acceleration.

Coupling

As the vehicle approaches cruising speed, the turbine rotates at nearly the same rate as the impeller, and torque multiplication ceases. At this stage, the torque converter is a simple fluid coupling. The automatic transmission uses a lockup clutch to lock the turbine to the impeller. This eliminates power loss and keeps the car moving steadily. Because the impeller is mounted to the torque converter housing, and the converter is connected to the engine, the impeller gets its power from the engine. The turbine is connected to the output shaft, which sends power to the transmission.

Is the Problem the Torque Converter or Transmission?

Torque converter problems can be misinterpreted as symptoms of a failing transmission. Unfortunately, this might lead people to think they need expensive repairs, or even a full transmission replacement. Replacing the torque converter is cheaper. Diagnosing the cause of a transmission issue isn’t easy, but AAMCO Minnesota’s local technicians can help. It might just be a fluid leak, or something else altogether – our transmission inspection and diagnostics help us find the problems and recommend the right services.

Shaking and Shuddering

If your car shakes and shudders, it could mean the lockup clutch is malfunctioning. This might occur at speeds around 35-45 miles per hour. It’s a very noticeable problem and feels like you’re driving on a rough road with a lot of small bumps. A worn out lockup clutch can make the transition from acceleration to direct drive difficult, and it’s a sign that you need to have your transmission checked.

Overheating

I your car overheats, it could be a sign that the transmission fluid pressure is low, and there could be a problem with the torque converter. If the converter is overheating, it won’t be able to transfer power from the engine to the transmission. This results in poor acceleration and excessive wear and tear on the transmission.

Slipping

A damaged fin or bearing in the torque converter can cause hesitation in the transmission shifting, or the transmission to slip out of gear entirely. This is because the engine torque is not being efficiently converted into the hydraulic pressure needed to shift gears within the transmission. Slipping might also be caused by insufficient or too much fluid in the transmission.

Come to AAMCO Minnesota for All Your Car Repairs & Maintenanceimage - disassembled automatic transmission fluid coupling

You need an experienced transmission specialist who can honestly tell you what needs to be done.

If you have questions about your car’s transmission, engine, repair or maintenance needs, AAMCO Minnesota can help. Stop by or call a local AAMCO Minnesota repair shop for a Multi Point Vehicle Courtesy Check for your transmission and related systems. We’ll winterize your car and get you ready for the cold, snowy winter driving months ahead. We can handle all your scheduled car maintenance and repairs, from brakes to factory recommended maintenance.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

Checklist for Preparing Your Car for Winter

Daydreaming on Your Cell Phone While Rubbernecking

 

Locally Owned & Operated AAMCO Minnesota Transmission Shops

 
AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty at AAMCO Minneapolis, MN. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.

Write a Review

AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.

Write a Review

AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Hopkins

10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

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Winter Road Trip Tips

Winter Driving Preparedness Tips

Here at AAMCO Minnesota we understand the importance for winter safety and readiness. That’s why we offer and remind you of so much information on it. We also offer great winter car care specials – just print and bring to your local AAMCO Minnesota transmission and auto repair shop.image - coupon for free winter safety check at AAMCO Minnesota participating locations

Winter is a rough time for driving. Snowstorms, ice, and overall bad weather conditions make an already challenging job even more so – but it doesn’t have to be your worst nightmare. There are many ways to ensure your safety and the safety of others by practicing safe driving habits and staying on top of your car maintenance. Here are some tips to help you smarten up for driving and keeping your car up to spec this winter.

Look Up

Pay attention to the weather before and during your trip, especially if you’re going on a longer trip. If you’re planning on a long drive, let other people know where you’re going and the estimated time of arrival in case anything happens. Conditions can change quickly. Are you driving into the worst blizzard in years? Are you a snow chaser and just have to get out there? Be aware and prepare. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve got a smartphone. Use a weather app to keep track of the weather in your area and your destination. Up-to-the-minute updates will help you prepare properly for your journey into the great white north, or whatever direction you choose.

Power Up

Speaking of that smartphone, make sure it’s charged and take the car charger with you. Don’t have a car charger? Get one. Another handy gadget to have is a battery pack or mobile power station that can charge your phone in minutes and holds enough power to charge it several times over, or power several devices.

Speaking of batteries, give some thought to the big one – the battery in your car. Here’s an article on winter battery tips – what kills it, what keeps it (and your car) going. There are three primary factors that contribute to the formula for a dead car battery in the wintertime – age, cold, and load. Obviously, if the battery is five or more years old, it’s going to have a harder time putting out power and its ability to accept a charge is going to decrease. Combine that with the heavy cold of Minnesota winters, your car battery deserves some attention before you hit the frozen road. Pack some jumper cables if you don’t replace the battery.

Gear Up

Have proper clothing with you for whatever winter weather might bring. Sweaters and fleece jackets are great, but when temperatures drop below freezing, suddenly the coziest sweater from your grandmother is tissue paper. You’ll wish you had an arctic explorer’s parka. Always keep gloves or mittens (mittens keep your hands warmer) in your car (not your trunk), an extra coat, a thick knit hat, blankets, and even a scarf (scarves are warm and amazingly versatile). If you’re not already wearing them, a pair of boots might come in handy.

If you usually keep this stuff in your trunk, it’s a good idea to move it into your car if you’re venturing out into more-treacherous-than-usual conditions. The last thing you want to do, or the first thing you can’t do because you’re trapped or hurt, is get out and go digging around in your trunk as the snow and ice pile up around you and the wind takes your breath away.

Other Gear

Tire chains are optional, but can really be your best friend when driving on slick, snow-packed roads. A bag of kitty litter can help your car gain traction if you are stuck in a really icy or slick spot. Keep a pointed garden or flat edge coal shovel in your trunk – it’s good for digging in, around, and even under your car if you’re stuck. Flares are good day or night, as they call attention to your position and situation, particularly in bad weather.

Let’s just cut to the chase. That emergency kit you’ve been meaning to put together should include:

  • Ice Scraper
  • First Aid Kit
  • Blanketimage - warning sign on slick snow-packed country road in cold winter weather
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Jacket
  • Sand
  • Shovel
  • Jumper Cables/Portable Car Charger
  • Flares
  • Medication
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Phone Charger

Gas Up

Keep your gas tank full if you can. Don’t let it go below a quarter tank. If you get stuck in traffic, or become stranded, more fuel means more idling & heater time. You’ll be glad you had that extra bit of fuel to get you through the rough times and safely home.

Wake Up

Sleepy? Tired? If all you’d like to do is sleep, try to avoid driving at all when it’s snowy and icy outside. This is just a dangerous combination that could lead to an accident – or worse, you taking the proverbial dirt nap. No amount of coffee and sugar is going to make up for the lack of mental clarity and reaction speed that is needed to effectively drive in adverse weather. Add to that the darkness of night and you’re phenomenally closer to ending up somewhere other than your destination.

image - traffic in winter - slippery, snow-packed road, cars moving slowly

Buckle Up

Do we really have to mention it? Buckle your seat belt. It’s the law. And keep an 8-10 second distance from the vehicle in front of you. You’ll be thankful for that extra space as you slide uncontrollably toward their rear bumper on that patch of ice you ignored. Accelerate and brake slowly. Spinning your wheels and skidding all over the road works your transmission harder than usual and can cause an accident.

Ease Up

If you end up skidding on ice or snow, ease your foot off the gas and carefully turn into the skid until you regain control – point the car in the direction you want to go. If you can’t get up a hill, put on those chains we mentioned earlier. They don’t seem so optional, anymore, do they? It beats taking a running start and using inertia to get you up the hill – potentially messy and dangerous. Just put your car in second gear for more traction while going slower. Put it in low and take it slow around corners, too.

Clean Up

Invest in a good ice scraper and heavy duty snow brush and clean off your car thoroughly. In some states, it’s illegal to drive without having all your windows cleared – scraped, swept, and defogged.

Warm Up

In most newer cars, it’s not necessary to idle to warm up the engine; in fact, it’s more efficient to warm up your car just by driving. This gets your car’s engine and systems up to running temperature faster than sitting in the cold, and helps reduce unnecessary emissions. Plus, if you like to start your car and go back inside while it idles and warms up, you might go back out to find that someone decided to warm it up the right way – and drove off with it. Related: “Warming up your car before driving is a leftover practice from a time when carbureted engines dominated the roads.

If you are experiencing any problems, bring your car to your local AAMCO Minnesota Transmission and Total Car Care center. We’ll help you keep your car running reliably so you won’t have to worry about whether your car will start in the next cold snap, or if you’ll weather the next blizzard.

AAMCO Minnesota for Winter Car Maintenance and Repairs

If you have questions about your car’s road readiness, or about car repair and maintenance, AAMCO Minnesota can help. Come to AAMCO Minnesota for a Transmission Multi-Point Vehicle Courtesy Check for your transmission and related systems. We’ll winterize your car and get you ready for the cold, snowy winter driving months ahead. We can handle all your scheduled car maintenance and repairs, from oil changes to factory recommended maintenance.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Checklist for Preparing Your Car for Winter

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

Watch this video and learn why there is only one place to go – AAMCO. We’re the transmission experts with over 50 years of experience rebuilding and replacing transmissions, and all their 800 pieces. We’ve fixed over 40 million transmissions – way more than our competitors. And we offer a lifetime warranty. Because we have the skill to fix an 800-piece transmission, we can easily fix the rest of your car – brakes, shocks, mufflers, even your engine. Lots of things can make your engine light come on. Today it can be hard to tell what’s wrong with your car, especially if it’s your transmission. Our technicians are trained to keep up with the complex engineering of today’s cars. So, next time something goes wrong with your transmission or any other part of your car, bring it to your local AAMCO.

Daydreaming on Your Cell Phone While Rubbernecking

5 Transmission Problems You Need to Know

AAMCO Minnesota Transmission Repair

At AAMCO Minnesota we take great care to keep you informed about your car and all its systems, as well as keep your car on the road with scheduled maintenance services and repairs, including full transmission repairs and rebuilds. Here are five common transmission problems you should be aware of. If you experience any of these issues, schedule an appointment with your local AAMCO Minnesota Transmission Repair and Total Car Care center.

Slow or No Response

If your car hesitates or does not go into gear, this is a definite sign of trouble in your transmission. If there is a delay when shifting into or out of park, you should make an appointment with your local AAMCO Minnesota transmission repair center. Manual transmissions can have the same lag in response issue, but after shifting into gear the engine will rev to really high RPM’s, but the car won’t move as fast as it sound like it should be going. This could be a clutch problem, or something more serious.

Grinding, Shaking and Other Bad Vibrations

Your car is supposed to run smoothly, without any drama like shaking or jolting, or grinding sounds and vibrating. For manual transmissions, if your car is going into gear with difficulty and making grinding noises, or if it feels like it’s gears are grinding as they engage, it’s a sign that the transmission is in need of some serious attention from a certified AAMCO technician.Image of automatic transmission internals, lots of gears, cogs interlocking.

An automatic transmission is more subtle in its signals, but they are unmistakable. Transitions into gear and between gears will cause some vibration at first; but then, as the problem persists, gear changes become more jarring and cause shaking. You should take your car to an AAMCO shop to be checked and serviced.

Won’t Go Into Gear

If the car will not shift after engaging the clutch and trying to move the stick, check the transmission fluid level. Also make sure you’re using the right type, or thickness, of fluid. The source of the problem could even be the car’s computer system. If you’ve already inspected the fluid, try resetting the car’s computer by detaching the battery for thirty minutes. After you reattach the battery the system should reset itself. It might take up 30 minutes for the system to reset, so make sure you have plenty of time. If these steps don’t work, then it’s time to take it to AAMCO.

Gears Slipping

If the car slips in and out of gear or pops into neutral while you’re driving, you’re facing a serious safety issue. The transmission should stay in gear until a shift is performed (manually or automatically). When you step on the gas, you need – expect – power to be delivered to the wheels, especially while you’re in motion and facing potentially dangerous situations. If you are experience gears slipping like this, you need to go AAMCO immediately. Do not ignore this issue and hope it goes away. Call or schedule an appointment online today!Image - woman looking at engine overheated and smoking, hood up.

Burning Smell

Any smell of something burning from your car is not a good sign. Transmission fluid keeps the parts lubricated and cool so they don’t wear out prematurely and break down, potentially ruining the entire transmission. If the fluid overheats and breaks down, the transmission will run too hot and give off a burning smell. The extreme heat will result in increased friction and buildup of sludge and potential debris. Take heed, because if it goes on too long, the transmission will be damaged and possibly break down completely. Many times this is due to low fluid levels or incorrect fluid types – two other issues which should be self-evident if you are sure to regularly check the transmission fluid as recommended by your owner’s manual.

AAMCO Minnesota Transmission Repair Can Help

Come to AAMCO Minnesota for a Transmission Multi Point Vehicle Courtesy Check for your transmission and related systems. We’ll diagnose any issues with your transmission and fix it quickly and correctly to get you back on the road. We can handle all your scheduled car maintenance and repairs, from oil changes to factory recommended maintenance.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Checklist for Preparing Your Car for Winter

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

Watch this video and learn why there is only one place to go – AAMCO.
We’re the transmission experts with over 50 years of experience rebuilding and replacing transmissions, and all their 800 pieces. We’ve fixed over 40 million transmissions – way more than our competitors. And we offer a lifetime warranty. Because we have the skill to fix an 800-piece transmission, we can easily fix the rest of your car – brakes, shocks, mufflers, even your engine. Lots of things can make your engine light come on. Today it can be hard to tell what’s wrong with your car, especially if it’s your transmission. Our technicians are trained to keep up with the complex engineering of today’s cars. So, next time something goes wrong with your transmission or any other part of your car, bring it to your local AAMCO.

More Automakers Are Choosing CVT’s

Continuously Variable Transmissions Have Come a Long Way

A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is a type of automatic transmission that provides more useable power, better fuel economy, and a smoother driving experience. This is the lesser-known alternative to a conventional transmission. You operate it the same way you would a regular one, slide the gear shift from “P” to “D”, but after that, it gets a bit more complicated.

The CVT is by no means a new concept. Leonardo Da Vinci drew an example of one in the 16th century. Daimler-Benz is responsible for filing the first patent for this technology in 1886. The transmission fell out of favor for automobiles early on, but were used for over a century in industrial applications such as drilling operations, and more recently in boats and snowmobiles. The CVT made its comeback when automakers began searching for ways to make their vehicles more fuel efficient. In the 1989 model year, Subaru reintroduced this technology in the US market in the first modern automotive CVT on the subcompact Justy.

How Are CVT’s Different from Conventional Transmissions?

Traditional automatics have a set number of gears that are referred to as speeds (i.e. 6-speed transmission). Each gear is responsible for a specific speed, so as you keep accelerating, the transmissions needs to shift gears – first gear, then second, and so on. However, a continuously variable transmission doesn’t use gears at all. It is like having one magical gear that works across all driving situations. This is the reason that you don’t feel a vehicle with a CVT shift gears; you’ll only notices the change in speed or RPM.image - car speeding around a bend, with special effects colorized

We’re not done yet. The CVT serves up extremely efficient engine speed for each driving situation you may encounter, and then keeps it constant even while the vehicle is accelerating. A good example is in a passing scenario. The CVT knows that the optimal engine speed is rather high (around 5,000 RPM on the tachometer), so it shoots you up there as soon as your foot hits the pedal. But even as you increase your vehicle speed (from 50 MPH to 60 MPH), the engine speed stays the same!

Advantages and Disadvantages of a CVT

Overall, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to a continuously variable transmission. The main advantage of a CVT is that it can vary its gear ratio infinitely as vehicle speed changes. The benefit to this is that it can keep the engine at its peak power producing RPM when maximum acceleration is demanded by the driver, and it keeps the engine at lower RPM often for better efficiency when maximum acceleration is not needed. This type of transmission also improves emission control and produces less greenhouse gas emissions because of improved control of the engine’s speed range. One of the biggest advantages reported by drivers is how smooth and comfortable the ride is.

Driving a vehicle with a CVT is a very different experience than the traditional transmission owner is used to. Because you do not feel the engine accelerating, you do not feel any shifting. Instead, you feel the engine racing as it would when the transmission is failing or the clutch is slipping, but this is just the CVT adjusting itself to provide the optimal power. A CVT is more expensive than a traditional automatic. They also require special oil and other materials when they are being serviced or worked on.

The future of the CVT is very promising as it is being used in more and more vehicles on the market. You can now find them in cars produced by Jeep, Nissan, and Honda to name a few. Nearly 95% of all new vehicles manufactured has an automatic transmission, and among those more than 10% now have CVT’s. So, if you are in the market for a new vehicle, or you will be within the next few years, this is a concept you should familiarize yourself with since we will almost certainly be seeing them more and experiencing their benefits as cars evolve.

Schedule an appointment at your preferred AAMCO Minnesota location. We love all things transmission related and look forward to helping you learn how your transmission works, how to diagnose issues, and how to keep your vehicle properly maintained.

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Watch this video and learn why there is only one place to go – AAMCO. We’re the transmission experts with over 50 years of experience rebuilding and replacing transmissions, and all their 800 pieces. We’ve fixed over 40 million transmissions – way more than our competitors. And we offer a lifetime warranty. Because we have the skill to fix an 800-piece transmission, we can easily fix the rest of your car – brakes, shocks, mufflers, even your engine. Lots of things can make your engine light come on. Today it can be hard to tell what’s wrong with your car, especially if it’s your transmission. Our technicians are trained to keep up with the complex engineering of today’s cars. So, next time something goes wrong with your transmission or any other part of your car, bring it to your local AAMCO.

Why Transmission Repairs Are So Difficult

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Your transmission is a complicated, intricate, elaborate puzzle with hundreds of pieces that are all required to allow your vehicle to function. Of course, everything in your vehicle is necessary, but no other part of your vehicle is as complicated and complex as your transmission. Transmissions are responsible for shifting gears in order to dynamically change the speed-torque ratio so that the power being distributed to the wheels is appropriate based on the speed of the vehicle. Engines produce high rotational speed which cannot be used for low speeds or when starting the vehicle, so by using gear ratios a transmission is able to reduce this rotational speed and increase the power (or torque) to the wheels.AAMCO Minnesota Transmission Repairs and Rebuilds

Understanding Your Options

When dealing with a damaged transmission that needs to be repaired, or even be rebuilt, there are a few options available to you.

A Full Transmission Replacement

Replacing your transmission is an expensive procedure. An inherent issue with replacing your transmission is that there aren’t typically brand new transmissions available on the market. These are usually reserved for the production of new vehicles, so you would likely be purchasing a refurbished or remanufactured transmission. These remanufactured transmissions go through the exact same process as a rebuild, except that it is done in a controlled, factory setting. This is the best option for a quick fix since these have been prebuilt to manufacturer specifications. If you opt to take this route, ask your mechanic to confirm the year the transmission was built so that it has the most recent parts and fixes.

Repairing the Transmission

A transmission repair is the process of finding a specific damaged component and replacing that. An example would be if the input shaft has broken, or a solenoid has failed, these parts can be replaced without the transmission needing to be rebuilt. This would also include instances when the transmission is leaking fluid. Typically, with a repair, only the component that was replaced will be under warranty which can be problematic if you’ve already spent a significant amount of money on a repair and then later have something fail that is unrelated to the initial repair. This is a cost-effective option, but has some element of risk.

Rebuild the Transmission

This process has several names in the industry. Should you ever hear someone say the transmission is “refurbished, reconditioned, or overhauled” they are referring to a rebuilt transmission. Rebuilding a transmission is when the transmission is completely disassembled and inspected. All the worn or damaged parts are replaced (affectionately referred to as the “hard parts”) and then reassembled to factory specifications along with new gaskets, seals, clutches, and bands (the “soft parts”). A specialist will remove the transmission, inspect and replace each part, and then reinstall it in your car. If you are considering rebuilding your transmission, take a look at our current specials for a money saving offer.

How Long Does Transmission Work Take?Image of automatic transmission internals, lots of gears, cogs interlocking.

First thing you should do when working with a mechanic to get transmission work completed is to request a time quote. This will immediately give you some idea of how long your mechanic expects the job to take. Although it could take a little as a couple of days, it will realistically take longer. Even the most basic of transmissions are comprised of hundreds of tiny pieces that all must be present. The diagnosis process alone can take more than a day to accurately pinpoint problems areas in the transmission – if an electrical problem is found while diagnosing the transmission, this may need to be repaired before any work is done to the transmission. Even the most common transmissions are not simple and labor alone on a common unit can take a day, but when working on an exotic or European transmission, it can take days due to their complexities.

If an automatic transmission rebuild is covered under an extended warranty program, then the length of time the rebuild will take is extremely difficult to predict. These types of jobs may not even receive a time quote because when a warranty company is involved, they essentially act as a middle man in the process. These companies must approve a repair after the diagnosis has been made and then decide if the repair is covered under the warranty program. This involves a lot of back and forth discussion prior to work beginning. If the company approves this repair, they will then be involved in approving each step in the repair process. They may also opt to have a used transmission installed which may take several days to arrive at the shop.

Understanding your options is critical when deciding on the solution to your transmission troubles. Take the fear out of transmission repair and schedule an appointment today!