4 Things You Do That Can Cause Your Automatic Transmission to Overheat
Most automatic transmission failures are caused by overheating. These systems, unlike manual transmissions, have lots of moving parts that work together in unison, and the friction created can easily overwhelm them if they aren't allowed to cool properly. Unfortunately, many people don't understand that the way they treat their vehicle has a direct impact on how likely the transmission is to overheat.
Here are just four issues that you should watch out for.
1. Not Checking Transmission Fluid Levels
Your engine has its own personal cooling system that is used to circulate coolant through the radiator and maintain an efficient temperature. However, your transmission has no such system; the only thing that it can use to cool itself is transmission fluid. If you start running low on transmission fluid, your transmission is going to start to overheat. Make sure you have your transmission fluid checked at regular intervals. It should also be changed to remove the impurities that will have built up.
2. Towing Excess Loads
When you tow a heavy load, the transmission system has to work harder in order to keep the vehicle running properly. This is why you'll often find automatic transmissions slipping between gears as if hunting for the right one when you are pulling something heavy behind you. This generates more heat, which will make it harder for your transmission to cool itself. Trucks and vans that were meant to haul heavy loads will have been engineered to compensate, but normal cars won't have been.
3. Powering Out of Mud
If your car becomes stuck in mud, sand or snow, resist the urge to gun the engine to power the vehicle out of the sticky situation it has landed itself in. This will force the engine to run at a high RPM (revolutions per minute) rate, all while the transmission is kept in a low gear. The transmission just isn't mean to work under such conditions, so it will very quickly create an excessive level of heat. If your car does get bogged down, either dig it out or call a towing service.
4. Conducting Improper Stop-Start Driving
Stop-and-go traffic is never ideal for your vehicle, and the transmission is often seriously affected by it. After all, having to start and then stop at frequent intervals means that the transmission system is having to make shifts more often than normal, so it won't be able to cool down as easily. This type of driving might be tough to avoid, particularly if you have to commute, but you can change your driving style to avoid overheating the transmission. Just avoid starting quickly and stopping abruptly.