Should I Repair or Replace My Transmission?

Transmission troubles can be both frustrating and costly.

Your transmission is one of your car’s most complex and essential engine components.

Your car’s transmission carries the engine’s power to the drive axels by using different gears. This allows your engine to rotate at various speeds.

Automotive transmission gearbox with lots of detailsOnce you have determined that it is your car’s transmission that needs to be fixed you will need to decide if you want to have your transmission repaired, replaced, or rebuilt. It can be hard to decide if you can have your transmission repaired, need to have your transmission rebuilt, or if you need to replace your transmission altogether. However, knowing the difference between these options doesn’t have to be a source of frustration.

Related: 5 Transmission Problems You Need to Know

Many car owners will bring their car to any transmission repair shop that is able to complete the job quickly and cheaply. However, it is important to make sure you select a reputable shop that is able to correctly diagnose what has failed with your transmission. Come into your local AAMCO Minnesota location to have your transmission diagnosed properly by our transmission repair experts.

 

Options for Transmission Fixes

 

Transmission Repairs

When repairing a transmission you are replacing the bare minimum amount of parts to bring your transmission back into working order.

Often with a transmission repair, you are only fixing one specific part of the transmission. This repair can take place without having to rebuild the entire transmission. This option typically costs less than a rebuild or a replacement. However, this option is often not available as there may be too much damage done to your transmission.

 

Transmission Rebuilds

A transmission rebuild is where the entire transmission is taken apart and inspected.

Any worn, failed, or damaged parts are then replaced and the transmission is reassembled and replaced into your car. Transmission rebuilds are custom processes for each individual car and require a transmission specialist.

 

Transmission Replacements

A transmission replacement means that you are replacing your entire transmission.

Sometimes this option is called having your transmission “re-manufactured”. Often there are not brand new transmissions available on the market, so you will be purchasing a refurbished transmission.

When you replace your transmission, all of the parts of your transmission are replaced not just the parts that have failed or worn out. This is an option for transmissions that cannot be rebuilt because they are too damaged.

Transmission replacements are done in a controlled, factory setting. When you replace your transmission your transmission will be updated to the pre-built factory settings. This is often the most expensive transmission fix.

 

Factors That Affect Transmission Fix Cost

It’s no secret that transmission fixes can be costly. Often, they are the most expensive repairs you will ever have to make to your vehicle. If your transmission needs to be rebuilt or replaced you can expect to pay more for parts and the skilled labor needed to complete the fix.

The cost of transmission repairs can vary widely based on a number of factors such as:

Extent of Damage

What parts are damaged and to what extent they are damaged is the main factor in transmission repair costs. A newer, well-maintained car is going to cost less to repair than an older car that has been used heavily.

Manual vs. Automatic

Manual transmission typically cost less to repair than automatic transmissions.

Make and Model

The make and model of your vehicle can impact the cost of your transmission fix. A domestic model is going to usually cost less than a higher-end or imported car such as a Volkswagen, Audi, BMW or Mercedes.

Older or Rare Cars

Older or rare cars are going to cost more in repairs as parts are going to be harder to find.

Location and Transmission Repair Shop

The location where you live will affect the cost of your repair. Locations with higher costs of living, or higher demands in services will typically see higher repair costs. This is also true for the transmission repair shop you choose, each shop will have different prices for different services. Your local AAMCO Minnesota transmission experts can diagnose any transmission problems and recommend the repairs that are right for your vehicle. We won’t recommend costly fixes until we know exactly what is causing the problem.

Related: Why Transmission Repairs Are So Difficult

 

Need to Repair, Replace or Rebuild Your Transmission?

As with any purchase, you want to get the best value for your dollar. When deciding whether to repair, rebuild, or replace a transmission it’s important to know which option is going to be the most cost-effective while getting the job done correctly the first time.

Detail of a mechanic using electronic diagnostic equipment on a carDue to the complexity of transmission fixes, choosing the right mechanic to handle your transmission makes all the difference. When you are looking for an expert to repair your transmission, trust in AAMCO Minnesota. At all of our AAMCO locations, we take the time to diagnose and suggest the best path to fix your transmission the right way. Our AAMCO transmission technicians use only the highest quality parts to make sure you are back on the road in no time.

 

 

Schedule an appointment with your neighborhood AAMCO Minnesota to have your transmission diagnosed or repaired today.

5 Transmission Problems You Need to Know

How do you know if you have transmission problems?

Here are five ways you can tell if your transmission needs to checked.

Some simple warning signs that the transmission is having problems:

  • Transmission is slow to respond when shifting
  • Grinding, shaking, vibrating
  • Won’t go into gear
  • Slipping between gears
  • Burning smell and transmission overheating

These are symptoms of problems that could cost you a lot of money if you don’t get to a mechanic and have them checked out.

Slow Response or Delay in Shifting

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.

Transmission 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 – Hot Transmission

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

image of smiling AAMCO mechanic, symbol of trust, quality.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. 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.

See our specials, grab a coupon, and give us a call.

image of transmission in 800 Pieces in midair cool special effects of all the pieces of an engine.Related: 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.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Checklist for Preparing Your Car for Winter

As winter descends it’s not too late to think about preparing your car if you haven’t already. At AAMCO Minnesota we know the importance of thinking and planning ahead for winter. There are many things you should consider before the first big freeze or snowfall, and we’ve compiled an easy checklist. Come to AAMCO Minnesota for a Courtesy Vehicle Check to make sure your car is in good shape for the coming cold. Read more…

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

Get to know some transmission basics. If you’re like many drivers, you know some basics about your car’s transmission. Maybe you’ve done some research online for some information on how they work, or what that noise is your car is making. You know that a transmission works with the engine to make the tires rotate (and the car go). You know it’s the system that shifts the car’s gears. You probably even know that a transmission has fluid that needs to be checked and changed regularly. You definitely understand that a transmission is a complex system in their car that costs a lot of money to fix. Read more…

When to Get a Transmission Fluid Flush

Preventative maintenance can prevent costly repairs. It’s a lot cheaper to do some regular maintenance to keep your car running smoothly. Part of your maintenance schedule should include a transmission fluid check and, if needed, a fluid flush. Here’s a handy infographic that tells you what you need to know. Read more…

When to Get a Transmission Fluid Flush – Infographic

How often should you flush your transmission fluid?

Burning Smell and Overheating Transmission

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.

Preventative maintenance can prevent costly repairs.

It’s a lot cheaper to do some regular maintenance to keep your car running smoothly. Part of your maintenance schedule should include a transmission fluid check and, if needed, a fluid flush. Here’s a handy infographic that tells you what to know.

image - AAMCO Minnesota Infographic of when to get a Transmission Fluid Flush

Tips for Affordable Car Maintenance

Save Money & Time With These Easy Tips

Maintaining your car so it is safe and reliable doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

image of car speeding around bend on country road with sun shining through trees.

But it can cost a lot of money if you don’t run a regular maintenance schedule.

Having a car can be fun, and it definitely makes life easier, but when it starts to malfunction or break down, it can be a costly hassle and a safety issue.  Making sure that maintenance is affordable and easy is important in our go-go-go world. Luckily, there are some things you can do to ensure your car is running smoothly and safely, without breaking the bank. Here are some handy tips and information on some simple, affordable things you can do to help your car run better and last longer.

RelatedGrab a coupon and save some money with these local Minnesota AAMCO specials.

Get to Know Your Car

Read the owner’s manual and keep it handy in the glove box.

Read and pay attention to the owner’s manual for your car. Don’t have one? Check with your local dealership or go online – there might be a PDF version you can grab, load to your phone and have with you at all times. No matter what car you drive, the regular maintenance schedule should be spelled out in the manual. Old myths like “Change your oil every 3,000 miles,” will go right out the driver’s side window. Of course, if the manual says you should change the oil every 3,000 miles, then do it – but we bet it doesn’t say that.

Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.

You’ll discover how often your manufacturer recommends to change the oil for best performance and reliability, as well as even what kind of oil to use. Your owner’s manual will also enlighten you on many other aspects of your car and the things that should be regularly maintained – such as the all-important transmission fluid, filters, timing belts, hoses, battery, lights, and fuel types. All of this information is available in the car’s owner’s manual.

Knowing more about your car makes it less likely you’ll be taken advantage of by a mechanic.

If you’re part of the TLDR crowd, then just consider this: you’re throwing away good money by not taking care of your car, and to do things right you have to educate yourself. Most car owners know how important it is to know at least a little about their cars, but even if you’re not interested in how your car works you should know a little about it, otherwise you run the risk of being taken for a ride with some shady mechanic (more on that later).

Knowing the basics, like what kind of gas to put in and what kind of oil the engine takes will save you money.

Knowing some simple things, like the right kind of oil to use, for example, can save you trouble in the long run. Even knowing what kind of fuel is best for your car is really important and can save you a lot of headaches – and money – if you just know. Doing the wrong thing or treating your car poorly might run the risk of voiding your warranty or even worse – causing damage that requires expensive repairs.

Sure, these days we can just pick up our smart phones and holler questions at it and get quick answers. Good, solid answers that provide you useful information that helps you make good decisions can be hard to come by, though – even in this day of information access (and overload). If you want to know more about your car or are concerned about its performance, why it’s making weird noises, or is bumpy even on smooth roads, or if you know you need repairs, call your local Minnesota AAMCO auto maintenance and repair center.

Check and Change Your Oil

It’s a good habit that will save you money in the long run.

Old story, been handed down from campfire to Facebook – but oil is vital to the successful operation and long life of your car’s engine. Checking the oil is a good habit to get into. Even if you think everything is fine, it’s a good idea to check it when you stop to get gas. It’s easier than it sounds. Pop the hood (you do know where the hood release lever in your car is, right?), grab some paper towels (usually found with the windshield squeegee around the gas pump), pull the dipstick, wipe it, put it back in, pull it back out, and see where the oil meets the fill line. If it doesn’t meet the fill line, it’s low. Repeat the steps and check again, but if it’s still low you should take your car in for a checkup to find any potential leaks or areas that might be eating or burning oil.image-hand-of-mechanic-holding-white-rag-with-oil-dipstick

Also pay attention to the color of the oil. It should be golden and clear. If it’s dark brown, a change is in the near future. If it’s black and/or thick and gooey, it should be changed as soon possible – don’t wait! Modern cars will tell you with an electronic warning light when it’s time for that regularly scheduled oil change you read about in the owner’s manual. Keep in mind that checking the oil after the car has been running might not give you the most accurate read on level. You’ll want to double check once the car has had a chance to cool down and sit a while. This gives the oil a chance to recollect in the oil reservoir, which will give you a more accurate read on its level – and you can get a better read on the color, too.

Related: What happens if you skip an oil change?

Go beyond oil and learn how to check other important fluids in your car.

Even if you don’t know how to change your antifreeze, power steering, transmission, or even your wiper fluid, you should learn how to check them and which ones to top off, which ones to have changed by a mechanic. Wiper fluid – don’t let someone charge you for this, unless it’s part of a larger package deal. That is so simple, it’s painful to think of paying to have it done.

For many fluids you can see the tank level directly, but most have gauges or dipsticks that help you check the levels. Even if your owner’s manual doesn’t provide much information or guidance about checking things such as your transmission fluid or coolant, don’t be afraid to educate yourself. Go online and find answers, or just open the hood and look around. See if you can find the right tank, cap, or dipstick (they’re usually labeled to some extent). If you’re running low, add more fi you can, or schedule a maintenance appointment with your trusted mechanic. If you notice a leak of some sort, definitely take your car in for diagnosis and repair.

Check the Battery

The battery is a relatively inexpensive part that gives you so much peace of mind, but gives little warning before it fails.

Check the battery for signs of corrosion, and generally keep it clean and clear of debris. Make sure any terminal convers are secure and clean, and clean the terminals if necessary. Most batteries these days don’t require much manual maintenance, but you should know where the batter is and check it from time to time, usually along with the oil. This will help you ensure it’s not leaking and there is no corrosion or crud building up on the contacts. If there is, clean them with a battery cleaning brush. The brush doesn’t cost much and it’s a quick, easy thing to do. Also consider getting a simple battery tester or jump starter. Using these, you can monitor your battery and know when it needs to be replaced before it leaves you stranded. You’ll never have to call or wait for roadside assistance.

Check Timing Belts and Chains

Replace your timing and serpentine belts when necessary.

image of engine with serpentine belt

The engine timing belt is usually replaced every 60,000 miles or so, and the serpentine belt about every 40,000 miles. Again, your owner’s manual is the authority on this. If your car has a chain, instead of a rubber belt, the maintenance recommendations will be vastly different – but chains do require maintenance.

Timing belts and chains are really important parts that can make or break the engine. If you don’t have the owner’s manual, look online to get this important information, or call your local Minnesota AAMCO. If you’re just not sure, or know that it’s been a long time (or never) since you last even thought about that serpent timey belt or whatever it’s called, schedule an appointment and ask your mechanic to inspect all belts and hoses and replace them if necessary. You just don’t want to let them fail. It is not only a matter of having a safe and reliable car, but if you wait and those belts do fail, your car will break down, possibly leave you stranded or in an unsafe place – and leave you with costly towing (if your mechanic doesn’t do it for free within a certain mile radius). It can also damage other engine parts and systems, making repairs even more expensive.

Rotate and balance your tires, check the alignment.

Bad alignment destroys tires. Uneven and extreme tire wear can cause dangerous blowouts.

Tire rotation and balancing is often overlooked by drivers. It does take time, you always have to battle a long line, and it’s just never convenient (when is any car-related maintenance or repair convenient?). Once again, your trusty owner’s manual will tell you how often to rotate the tires. It’s important to make sure your tires wear evenly and your car drives smoothly, not only because your fuel efficiency is directly affected by these factors, but your safety is, too. The saying that you’ve got a lot riding on your tires is true! You can make your tires last a lot longer by having them rotated and balanced. Along with that, your alignment is just as important. If you’re fighting to keep your car driving straight or having trouble safely navigating curves and turns, it’s time for an alignment. Alignment also affects the wear of your tires. Bad alignment will cause serious wear and tear on your tires, risking flats and, even worse, blow outs which can be dangerous or deadly high speed.

Change the Spark Plugs

Make sure the engine timing is right and it’s firing on all cylinders.

Spark plugs that are dirty or worn out will not fire properly, and this means they’re not correctly igniting the fuel in each of the piston cylinders. This causes the engine to misfire, which is commonly known as “not firing on all cylinders” and basically means your engine is not running efficiently. This alone can cost you a lot of money in fuel, and it can lead to a breakdown. This might be a little more technical than you’re comfortable with, but in many cases checking and replacing the spark plugs is not that difficult. If it’s something you just don’t want to do – especially if it’s complicated for your vehicle, just follow the recommendation in the owner’s guide. Take your car to your trusted mechanic and get those spark plugs changed on time – usually around 30,000 miles for standard copper spark plugs, but it can vary.

A Good Tune-Up Will Cover Many of the Items in This Article

Find a reputable repair shop with certified mechanics.

Finding a mechanic you trust is important, and sometimes not easy. It can take time, and might involve some trial and error, as well as, unfortunately, some money in the process. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a mechanic who is honest, trustworthy, tells you like it is, and doesn’t do any repair work that is unnecessary – and definitely not until you give the OK.image of smiling AAMCO mechanic tipping his hat.

AAMCO Minnesota is your one-stop shop for affordable local auto maintenance and repair.

AAMCO represents a national family of trust and expertise with over 50 years of transmission repair and automotive repair and maintenance experience. At AAMCO Minnesota, our mission is to provide the best auto repair and maintenance in Minnesota. With several locations to serve you, including the Twin Cities, we are your go-to locally owned and operated automotive repair shops. Our certified mechanics have years of knowledge and experience to provide expert diagnosis, repairs and maintenance on nearly all makes and models of cars. With nearly 50 years in business, you can count on your local Minnesota AAMCO center to provide expert transmission repair, brake service, tune-ups, oil and filter changes, electrical system repair, battery service, fluid services and much more for your car, truck, or SUV.

Find Your Locally Owned & Operated AAMCO Minnesota Auto Repair Center

 
AAMCO Hopkins

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

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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.

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AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

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Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO Minneapolis Transmission Repair and Auto Services. 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.

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AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

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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.

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AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

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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.

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AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

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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.

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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.

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 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 Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

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Call Now Set Appointment

Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO Minneapolis Transmission Repair and Auto Services. 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.

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AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

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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.

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AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

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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 Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

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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.

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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 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 Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO Minneapolis Transmission Repair and Auto Services. 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 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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