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from: Steve Bennet


The basic types of automobile transmissions are:

(i) Automatic, (ii) Standard manual (iii) Four-wheel drive

Prices for an automotive transmission repair usually start out
with the least expensive, which is manual, then automatic, and
finally four-wheel drive - the most expensive. Vehicles without
four-wheel drive are usually referred to as two-wheel drive.

Most standard manual automotive transmissions are four and five
speed, the fifth gear being overdrive. Overdrive is a gear that
reduces the engine's power output without reducing its driving
speed. This is intended to reduce fuel consumption and engine

Usually you can find four-wheel drive automotive transmissions
in different configurations. Some are full-time, which means
that your vehicle operates all the time in four-wheel drive.
Another option is being able to shift from two-wheel drive to
four-wheel drive without reducing engine speed. Many newer
vehicles now have the option of all-wheel drive.


Properly maintaining your transmission fluids and filter will
prolong the life of your vehicle and save you thousands of
dollars in replacement costs down the road. Always refer to the
owner's manual that came with your vehicle to check the
maintenance schedule for the type of transmission you have.

Most automatic transmissions require changing the fluid and
filter every at regular intervals. If you drive in heavy city
traffic, in hilly or mountainous terrain or frequently pull a
trailer, distance between changes may vary.

Manual transmission fluids usually require less frequent
changing. A vehicle with an automatic transmission has a
dipstick located in the engine compartment under the
bonnet/hood. Keep the fluid filled to its proper level. If the
fluid is clean and red in color, this usually means things are
OK. If the color is slightly brown, smells burnt, has a pink
milkshake-like consistency, or is black, it is time to see your
automotive transmission specialist.


If you suspect you have a problem with your transmission, your
best bet is to take it to an automotive transmission specialist
who can perform a proper diagnostics on it. Because most
vehicles on the road today are equipped with a variety of
electronic data gathering devices, computers and sensors, a
diagnosis of your electronic system using state-of-the-art
diagnostic equipment may be needed to check all your components
to help isolate the problem.

Your service centre will be able to give you an estimate on what
this diagnostic check will cost. This is referred to as an
inspection fee. It may be necessary for your transmission
specialist to pull the transmission out before they can get a
complete understanding of the problem and what it will take to
fix it. Only then can they give you an accurate estimate of the
labour and parts needed.

Ask ahead of time what will be involved in the step-by-step


(i) Ask what, if any, their inspection fee is for looking at
your transmission. (ii) If you do have to have repair work done,
find out how long it will take to get a cost estimate of the
repairs. (iii) Once this has been determined, ask how long it
will take to get the transmission fixed. (iv) When parts need to
be replaced, check to see if they have all parts in stock and if
not, how long will it take to get them in. (v) Make sure all
parts and labour are under warranty. Warranties depend on the
type of work done or the replacement. (vi) Also, check if the
transmission specialist is a member of an industry association.

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