Transmission Repair is THE MOST COMPLICATED! : KC Martin Transmissions OFFICIAL Blog

Transmission Repair is THE MOST COMPLICATED!

by KC Martin Transmissions on 02/11/13

We have no problem telling you that what we do here at KC Martin Transmissions is important for the folks of Lynnwood, Edmonds, Mill Creek, etc. But, then again, who doesn't feel that their work is important? We DO handle general automotive at this shop, but of course the real expertise in Transmission repair work is why we have a location dedicated to handling this important component of your vehicle.

I found a nice, educational article that explains some of the basics of automatic transmissions, as an example (Read about Automatic Transmissions here--thank you to This way, you don't have to take our word for it.  The article begins with a statement that, "The modern automatic transmission is by far, the most complicated mechanical component in today's automobile. Automatic transmissions contain mechanical systems, hydraulic systems, electrical systems, and computer controls, all working together in perfect harmony, which goes virtually unnoticed until there is a problem." Exactly!

[In need of Transmission Repair Bothell WA? Yes, we have customers who come from all over to use our transmission and auto services!]

We've written about this in articles before, but it just bears repeating.  The reason we can have a shop dedicated to ONE section of a car is due to the fact that it requires a specialist touch. It's so valuable for us to have technicians with over 30 years of experience taking transmissions apart, putting them back together, and feeling or hearing and then seeing every different kind of malfunction these parts can have.  As we said before, this is an art AND a science. 

If you were to continue to read that article, you could see all of the different "systems within systems" that make this one section, the automatic transmission, work smoothely. It's no wonder why we ask that you bring the vehicle by for an accurate diagnosis and estimate. SO many things can possibly be the culprit of a malfunctioning transmission. Many times, you can't be 100% sure what is going wrong until you can take the transmission apart (as many as 200 pieces) to pinpoint the issue.

There are a few general tips that COULD help you make sure to get the transmission looked at when something may be going wrong.  Like many medical issues, with transmissions "early detection" is important.  A section of this article gives some valuable tips for spotting problems before they get worse. Make sure to heed their advice, and thank you for taking the time to understand a bit more about how to care for this COMPLICATED part of your vehicle.

Watch for leaks or stains under the car

If there is a persistent red oil leak that you are sure is coming from your car, you should have your shop check to see if it is coming from your transmission or possibly from your power steering system (most power steering systems also use transmission fluid and leaks can appear on the ground in roughly the same areas as transmission leaks.) If all you see is a few drops on the ground, you may be able to postpone repairs as long as you check your fluid level often (but check with your technician to be sure.) If transmission fluid levels go down below minimum levels serious transmission damage can occur (the same advice goes for power steering leaks as well.)

Check fluid for color and odor

Most manufacturers require that you check transmission fluid levels when the vehicle is running and on level ground. Pull the transmission dipstick out and check the fluid for color and odor. Transmission fluid is a transparent red oil that looks something like cherry cough syrup. If the fluid is cloudy or muddy, or it has a burned odor, you should have it checked by your technician who will most likely advise you to have a transmission drain and refill or transmission tune-up.

Be sensitive to new noises, vibrations and shift behavior

A modern transmission should shift smoothly and quietly under light acceleration. Heavier acceleration should produce firmer shifts at higher speeds. If shift points are erratic or you hear noises when shifting, you should have it checked out immediately. Whining noises coming from the floorboard are also a cause for concern. If caught early, many problems can be resolved without costly transmission overhauls. Even if you feel that you can't afford repairs at this time, you should at least have it checked. The technician may be able to give you some hints on what to do and not do to prolong the transmission life until you can afford the repair.

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