? What are the warning signs of a faulty transmission?

If you notice any of the following you may have something wrong with your transmission
-If the transmission "feels" like it is operating differently to normal.
-The engine revs fast but the car is slow in moving off or does not move at all.
-Harsh or rough gear changes.
-Gear changes seem to be missed.
-Very slow or extended gear changes.
-Engine revs during gear changes.
-Unusual noises or shuddering during gear changes or while driving.
-Oil Leaks or Transmission oil smells burnt or looks black in colour.

Transmission goes into Failsafe mode.  Failsafe mode is a feature on modern transmissions where, if your transmission develops a problem, it locks itself into one gear (failsafe gear) to enable you to continue to drive your car for a limited time. Please immediately take your car to the nearest automatic transmission pro if it goes into 'failsafe'.
Sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint a problem. If you think there is something wrong then bring your car to us. We can check your transmission and give you an obligation free assessment. Remember that early diagnosis and rectification of a fault can often avoid the cost of major repairs.

? Why should I take my Automatic Transmission to a Specialist?

Automatic Transmissions are extremely complex and have many moving parts. An automatic transmission specialist is trained to pick up even minor clues that indicate that there could be major problems developing within the transmission. These are clues that could be overlooked by an untrained person and failure to pick them up could lead to major and expensive problems.

Specialists provide you with a guaranteed level of workmanship. All the work is carried out to the highest standards using specialist tools and equipment. The technicians are trained to handle even the most complex electronic based transmission systems. A lack of expertise in diagnosis, service and repairs can inadvertently lead to costly mistakes.

A parallel can be drawn between a transmission specialist and a medical specialist. If you have a specific health problem you go to an expert who specializes in that area. The same should apply to your car and particularly your automatic transmission.

Want to know more about how an automatic tranmission works?  Click here.  (Please note: Clicking here takes you to a different web site that provides detailed information on the various transmission components and how they work)

? What is involved in an Automatic Transmission Service and how often should it be done?

Modern transmissions are complex systems that operate under extremes of load, heat, pressure and friction. Under normal operation, over a period of time, your transmission produces millions of tiny abrasive metal particles that are carried through your transmission by the oil. As a result the transmission, if not regularly serviced, incurs wear that could lead to parts failure, overheating or a complete breakdown.

An Automatic Transmission service should, at minimum, include the following: 
-Old fluid must be drained out.
-The transmission oil pan should be removed and cleaned.
-The specialist will inspect the old oil and residue in the transmission oil pan for signs of metal filings or debris from the clutches which will indicate any internal damage or impending transmission problems.
-The filter should be removed and cleaned. (Some transmissions have a "throw-away" filter in which case a new filter should be fitted).
-The bands and controls (where applicable) must be checked and adjusted.
-The filter must be refitted.
-The transmission oil pan must be refitted using a new gasket.
-The transmission must be filled with new transmission fluid.
-The transmission should be checked for fluid leaks.
-The car should be road tested to check the transmission operation.

Please note that if your transmission oil is extremely degraded or contaminated, the technician might recommend a transmission flush to remove any contaminated oil that remains trapped in the cooler pipes or the torque converter.

We have found that to help prolong the life of your transmission, especially as the vehicle gets older, the transmission should be serviced every 12 months or 20,000 km (whichever occurs first). This is especially important if you use your vehicle for towing or do a lot of driving in heavy stop/start traffic.

Regular servicing not only ensures efficient running of your transmission but is good insurance against costly repairs.

 What will happen if my Transmission needs a complete overhaul?

Sometimes the wear and tear on a transmission may be so extensive that it requires a complete overhaul to repair it. In this case, if available, an exchange reconditioned (rebuilt) unit may be fitted to your vehicle, to allow the job to be completed quickly and efficiently.

Alternatively your faulty transmission may be removed and reconditioned. No matter what the solution, Automaatti-Mike only supply transmissions that have been rebuilt to comply with manufacturers Standards. These Standards govern the minimum levels for the quality reconditioning, removing and refitting of automatic transmissions.

On all modern motor vehicles the engine and transmission functions are controlled by computers. After an overhaul, some vehicles need to have the powertrain control module (the computer that controls the transmission) reprogrammed (or reflashed) and this might incur additional charges.

? Why can't you give me a firm price for my transmission?

A transmission is a very complex system composed of many moving parts. Because all the parts for a transmission are completely enclosed in the transmission case, any broken or damaged bits can be continually circulated through the system and cause additional damage. This means it is sometimes impossible to give an accurate estimate until we remove the transmission from the car and fully inspect all the internal parts to assess the damage.

 For a lot of transmissions we have a very good idea of what can go wrong and we can, based on our experience, give a price range.

 There are a number of transmissions though, where the availability of Hard Parts is scarce or which are prone to possible Hard Parts failure. With these transmissions, it is impossible to give an accurate quote until we strip the transmissions down and see what is wrong.

? Can you do the job cheaper?

There are always ways to do a cheap job. We could cut corners on replacement parts; or not supply a reconditioned torque converter; or re-use old clutch plates; or recycle oil or any other number of ways to reduce the price. Unfortunately, any of these methods cheat the customer as, for a saving of a few dollars, they mean that you are not getting a properly repaired transmission.

 Having a reliable motorcar is a priority for most of us. The few euros saved on paying for a cheap repair may not look like such a good idea if it leaves you stranded on some lonely, wet road or if you can’t get any warranty backup.

 Remember the wisdom of the old saying- ‘You can get a good job or you can get a cheap job. You can’t get a good cheap job’.

? Am I getting a new Transmission?

No. Generally it is not possible to buy a new transmission for most cars (even those only a few years old) and, even if they were available, they would cost many times as much as a reconditioned unit.

This means that all moving parts, seals, gaskets, the torque converter and all parts that are worn, broken or damaged will be replaced and the transmission will be rebuilt to manufacturer's specifications.

? Will towing affect my Automatic Transmission?

Always check your owners manual to ensure you do not exceed the maximum towing capacity for your vehicle. Exceeding the maximum towing capacity will lead to transmission failure and will also void any warranty.

Towing a trailer, boat or caravan, particularly in hilly country, places extra load on the transmission and will cause the transmission to labour and build up excessive heat. This heat will affect the transmission fluid causing deterioration and eventually a transmission failure.

If towing regularly, it is wise to have an additional transmission oil cooler fitted to prevent this excessive overheating.

A Transmission oil cooler is also recommended where the vehicle is used in slow moving stop/start traffic or subjected to prolonged periods of idling.

? How can I start my "Automatic" car if it has a Flat Battery?


Firstly, ascertain whether your car has a computerised engine management system. If you are unsure consult your service manual or ring the manufacturer.

If you have a non-computer based system you can either jump-start the car or replace the battery.

In the case of a computer-based system, do not use jumper leads to start the car. This can lead to a power surge and subsequent breakdown of the computer system. You may need to replace the battery and should consult your service centre.

If you are unsure about the type of automatic transmission you have and what to do, contact Automaatti-Mike, who will be more than happy to advise you.

? What should I do if my car requires Towing?

Towing procedures for automatic cars will vary according to the make and type of transmission fitted. If your car has broken down with a transmission problem, towing the vehicle with any wheels on the ground could lead to major transmission damage. You should contact a towing company to transport the vehicle on a flat bed truck.

In the event of a breakdown or mechanical failure other than the transmission, contact a towing company who will have experience with your particular make of car. For example, rear wheel drive cars require different towing procedures to front wheel drive cars and All-Wheel-Drive cars should only be transported on a flat bed truck.

In an emergency, provided the transmission is not the breakdown problem, rear wheel drive cars can be towed, in neutral, behind another car for a short distance at very low speed but it is not recommended that front wheel drive or All-Wheel-Drive vehicles be towed for any distance.