Sell Car with bad transmission

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Shifter in D? Check. Right foot down? Check. But why aren’t I going anywhere

Most people know their car has this thing called a transmission. And that’s often where it ends. Where is it in the car? What does it look like? WHAT is it transmitting? These are questions that can sound all too familiar and scary when suddenly your daily driver starts making all kinds of sounds, smells, and erratic movements like it’s got a mind of its’ own. Fear not, road warrior, we’re going to shed some light on some common transmission issues and procedures and make sure we can hang with all the car lingo the next time we go in for service.

What is a transmission?

The modern automatic transmission is a highly complex piece of machinery. Manuals? Not so much. They have pretty simple guts and even the newer ones (and that’s IF you can find a new car with a manual) can trace their function to technology developed in the 1960s. Manual transmissions, they don’t make ‘em like they used to…. well, actually, they do.

With manuals becoming a dying breed, the automatic is the transmission you’ll find in the majority of cars on the road today. The automatic transmission has a lot more going on inside than a manual, and with more stuff in there, more issues can arise. We’re talking mechanical parts, hydraulic parts, and even electronic parts with software. All those parts work in concert with each other to take the power made by the engine and ultimately direct it towards the wheels to make the car go.

Sounds like a pretty important component. And it is.

Diamonds are Forever

The unfortunate reality is that every part of the car has to play by those pesky laws of physics; no exceptions. And that means the transmission is subject to twisting, pulling, pushing, heat, vibrations…. the list goes on. Eventually, it’s not unrealistic for some part in the transmission to wear to the point of not being able to do its’ job anymore.

So what do you do if your transmission stops transmitting? Get it repaired, of course! But is not that easy. Remember all those different kinds of parts inside a transmission? Each one causes its own issues and is handled in a different way.

What is my transmission going to do to me?

One of the most common issues a transmission can have is what is called slipping. What is slipping, you ask?

An automatic transmission has a bunch of clutches inside. Wait, automatics have clutches? I thought that was only for cars with a third pedal.

Automatics DO have clutches. In fact, they have many more clutches than a manual. Each clutch pack is relatively small, made up of several flat discs in a row, and is only responsible for one component. There are several clutch packs inside the transmission and allowing each one to turn on or off its own component changes which gear, or speed, the transmission is in. So, your clutches are going to be in a different arrangement pulling out of the driveway than they would be at the highway’s speed limit. (You DO follow the speed limit, right?)

Ok, technical jargon aside, you told me my transmission would slip, what do these clutches have to do with my transmission slipping? Well, slipping is what happens when those clutches don’t work. Think about walking down the sidewalk:

You step on the concrete and your foot plants firmly on the ground, allowing you to push forward and keep walking. Now, stick a banana peel between your shoe and the sidewalk. It gets slippery and your shoe can’t push off the concrete this time to keep you going forward. You tried to take a step, but it didn’t get you anywhere.

Like Driving on Banana Peels

Just like a slippery step on the sidewalk won’t get you moving, neither will a slipping transmission. When the little discs that make up a clutch pack start moving against each other when they shouldn’t, your transmission is slipping. The engine is putting power into the transmission, but it can’t get out to make the wheels turn.

Slipping is a common transmission concern and is normally based on the wear and tear a vehicle receives from everyday driving. Each time your transmission shifts gears, those little discs in the clutch pack wear a little bit. Eventually, they wear out enough to the point of not being able to ‘grab on’ to each other and you get slipping.

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