Transmission problems are often blamed on the vehicle's manufacturer. However, in many cases, the blame should actually be assigned to the automobile's owner. Without the right know-how, vehicle owners can easily cause the premature failure of an automatic transmission.

Here are few common avoidable reasons for transmission problems.

Irregular Maintenance

Your vehicle's transmission is a vital component of your car or truck and will require periodic maintenance to keep it functioning properly. Without regular maintenance, contaminating debris may begin to accumulate within the unit and could progressively cause issues that may lead to transmission failure.

Each time your car accumulates another 30,000 to 60,000 miles on its odometer reading, the manual transmission should be serviced. Automatic transmissions should be serviced between 60,000 and 100,000 miles, but more frequent maintenance is fine. Depending on the length of your regular commutes, this equates to every few years for most people.

Routine maintenance services include transmission flushes and transmission fluid changes. Each of these services ensures the transmission remains lubricated and free of contaminants. During transmission maintenance services, the filter of the device is also replaced.

Low Fluid Levels

Transmissions require adequate amounts of transmission fluid to sustain proper pressure, lubricate its components and avoid overheating. When your transmission fluid levels are too low, the transmission works harder than it should to compensate, leading to burnout.

To ensure that your fluid level is sufficient, check it regularly. A deficit could indicate a leak that needs immediate attention.

Wrong Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is not a universal liquid. Transmissions of different car makes and models have specific fluid requirements. By adding transmission fluid with the wrong viscosity and additives to your vehicle, you can cause erratic changes in the transmission's hydraulic pressure and lubrication.

There are several varieties of transmission fluid that are used in vehicles that are still on the road today. They include Mercon, Dexron and synthetic fluids.

Automobile manufacturers recommend variations of available transmission fluids for specific car and truck models. Thus, the fluids are not interchangeable, and different vehicles from the same manufacturer may have differing transmission fluid recommendations.

If you are unsure of the type of transmission fluid that should be used for your vehicle, check your owner's manual. You can also ask a transmission specialist. 


If a problem arises with your transmission, it needs to be addressed promptly. Indications that the transmission needs servicing are often present before a transmission fails. Here are a few signs that should not be ignored:

  • Accelerations with stalling or slipping
  • Gear changes that are loud
  • Gears that you can’t go into
  • Red fluid leaking from a vehicle

Transmissions that are functioning properly do not typically present any evidence of a problem. Once an issue does present, prompt attention can prevent the damage from worsening. If you choose to drive a vehicle that is showing signs of a transmission malfunction, the transmission damage will eventually be irreparable, necessitating a transmission replacement or rebuild.

High Transmission Temperatures

The life of a transmission may be cut short by high temperatures. The regulation of the internal transmission temperatures is largely dependent on the transmission fluid. If the fluid appears dirty or contaminated, you should make an appointment to have a technician change the fluid.

Additional reasons for high transmission temperatures include elevated outdoor temperatures, heavy-load towing, lengthy commutes in stop-and-go traffic and a failing solenoid valve. Each of these factors can place a strain on your transmission.

If you have concerns about your transmission, contact Huntington Beach Transmissions & Auto Repair. We can assess your vehicle's transmission and ensure that it receives the maintenance or repairs needed to keep it running smoothly.