Getting Into Gear

Getting Into Gear

DIESEL 101

TRANSMISSIONS

Automatic transmissions have become very popular in the truck market today. Why are they so popular?

The days of pushing the clutch and shifting gears is a thing of the past. Why choose an automatic over the standard stick shift transmission? Automatic transmissions have made a lot of progress in the last 15 years. Back then, if you wanted a beast for towing that would produce enough power, your only option was a stick shift transmission.

Today, trucks with automatic transmissions are taking over the road. Manufacturers are building better and stronger transmissions that will take the power and abuse of the new diesel trucks. These
automatic transmissions allow you to focus on the road and keep you moving at whatever speed you want with out worrying about shifting into the next gear. Your transmission takes a lot of abuse as it shifts up and down depending on your driving needs. There are a couple of things that you need to do to keep your transmission doing its job.


Let’s start with basic maintenance. If you refer to your owner’s manual it will give you the recommended maintenance for your specific transmission.


1. FLUID LEVEL


The first thing you want to do is keep the oil at the proper level. In order to do this, the transmission needs to be at operating temperature and the vehicle must be running at idle and in neutral. The dip stick is usually back against the firewall of the truck. When you pull the dipstick out, you should wipe it off and then reinstall it and pull it out again. When you look at the stick, it will have a cold level and a hot level. Make sure it is in between the hot level marks.


Now you’re probably wondering why you need the truck running and transmission up to operating temperature if there is a cold level. This cold level is there to make sure that the transmission actually has oil before starting and for when doing oil changes. It is a good starting point, but the hot level is what needs to be checked to verify proper fluid level. Once this is verified then you are good to go. If you have to add transmission fluid you will need to make sure to review your owner’s manual to confirm that you use the right fluid as there are a number of transmission fluids on the market today.


2. ROUTINE SERVICE CHECKS


You should service your transmission as per your manufacturer's recommendations which will be found in your owner’s manual. Most are around 30,000 miles or 60,000 miles depending on what fluid is being used. If you want to get the most protection and longest interval, then choose a synthetic fluid. These fluids have been designed to perform the best under tough conditions, but you will also pay more for the fluid. Your transmission service center can help you with your fluid change and fluid options.


Follow these simple steps and it will keep your truck cruising in high gear.