A Word about Slipping Transmissions

Fall and winter are the times of the year that all drivers strive to make sure that their cars are working at maximum efficiency in order to reduce the chance of a cold weather breakdown. Many drivers prepare by stocking up on anti-freeze, getting new tires and chains, etc. However, while you are making your pre-cold weather check, now is a good time to make sure that your transmission is working at peak efficiency and one of the most common and vexing problems a transmission can have is when it “slips.” There are many reasons that a transmission can begin to slip. Whatever is behind your transmission slipping, it can mean some serious troubles ahead and may even lead to having to buy a rebuilt transmission. Let’s talk a little bit about what it means for a transmission to slip.

What is a slipping transmission?

Whether you have an automatic or a manual transmission you may, at some times, have experienced these signs when driving: Your car unexpectedly switching gears while you are driving, your gears do not shift smoothly, or when shifting from park to drive there is a delay. All of these are potential signs of a transmission that is slipping. So what does it mean to have transmission slip? A slipping transmission unusually means that the clutch bands that grip your gears don’t have the force to grip on them tightly enough. Eventually the bands may not move the gears at all.

What causes transmissions to slip?

The causes of a slipping transmission vary. They are not all dire in nature but none of them should be ignored for too long. Some common causes of a slipping transmission are:

  • Low fluid levels
  • Burnt transmission fluid
  • Transmission fluid leak
  • Worn or broken transmission bands
  • Worn out gears
  • Solenoid problems

What can be done about a slipping transmission?

Many of the causes of a slipping transmission, as stated earlier, are in and of themselves not serous However, if you procrastinate and do not have the problem addressed promptly it could potentially lead to you having to have your entire transmission replaced or rebuilt. Whatever causes your transmission to slip, it is not recommended that you continue to drive while it is doing so. If you are driving this may lead to your car shifting into different gears without warning causing damage to your vehicle and endangering your safety. You should contact us at Mr. Transmissions, if you experience the signs of a slipping transmission as our experts are skilled at diagnosing the causes and at suggesting solutions.

Top Reasons to Consider Owning a Manual Transmission Car

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For many people manual transmission cars are dinosaurs, a thing of the past that refuses to completely go away.  In fact, according to a 2012 CNN report, only 4% of cars manufactured in America were equipped with a manual transmission.  However, for those who own a manual transmission car they are a thing of class and beauty.  These are diehard fans would not even consider buying a car with an automatic transmission.  These owners swear by the many advantages they see to owning this vanishing breed of vehicle.  Owners often cite the following advantages to owning and operating manual transmission vehicles.

  • Ability to drive when abroad: Although the manual transmission vehicle is dying out in the US, they are quite common still in many parts of Europe.  In fact, many Europeans consider it abnormal for a grown person not to know how to handle a stick shift.
  • Better fuel economy: Some studies show that there can be as much as a 19% saving on fuel when using a manual transmission vehicle vs. an automatic transmission car.
  • Easier to Maintain: All that is involved in changing fluid in a manual transmission car is pulling a plug and draining it.  In contrast, for automatic transmission vehicles there are many bolts that must be loosened.
  • Less vehicle theft: Since manual transmission vehicles are no longer common in North America, they often cause car thieves confusion.  Young thieves in particular are more likely to abandon these types of vehicles and move on to easier prey (a car with an automatic transmission).
  • Longer Life: Generally, manual transmissions last significantly longer than automatic transmissions. 

Despite the fact that manual transmission vehicle production has been on the steady decline in the last few decades, there are still some great manual transmission vehicles that are currently being produced:  Some of the best include:

  • 2016 Mazda Miata
  • 2016 Subaru BRZ (and Scion FR-S)
  • 2016 Dodge Viper
  • 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
  • 2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
  • 2016 BMW M5
  • 2016 Jeep Wrangler Willys
  • 2016 Cadillac ATS-V
  • 2016 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
  • 2016 Ford Focus ST

Of course, we at Houston Transmission Repair can repair and rebuild both manual and automatic transmissions.  We keep up to date on all the latest tools and techniques to diagnose, repair and if necessary replace your transmission.  Our service personnel are highly qualified, professional and will work on your car and have it up and running in no time.  We also have many warranty options so that you can feel secure in your decision to use our services.  So, whether you are a manual transmission devotee or not, our professionals look forward to working with you.

Ways to Extend the Life of Your Rebuilt Transmission

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All over the Internet there are various estimates on how long a rebuilt transmission can be expected to last.  Some sites claim that they are expected to last no longer than 90 days while others use mileage as the metric to a car’s life.  These sites claim that transmissions are expected to extend the mileage of your car to anywhere between 50k to 100k miles.  Actually, the question of how long you can expect a quality transmission to last is a little more complex.  The best answer to this question depends on how the owner treats the rebuilt transmission. Car-Breakdown For owners who dread the prospect of having to repeat the process of getting a rebuilt transmission here are some tips for extending the life of this investment in your car.

  • Have the rebuilt transmission serviced regularly: There is nothing benign about neglect.  Change the oil and filter every 20k miles, have a transmission flush every 40k miles and have your mechanic adjust the bands every 60k miles.  By doing these things (or having a mechanic you trust do these things) you will help extend the life of your rebuilt transmission significantly and put it on the high end of those estimates regarding transmission duration.
  • Use synthetic transmission fluid: Although it tends to be expensive, synthetic transmission fluid holds up better to heat than petroleum based fluids.  Excessive heat can greatly damage a rebuilt transmission and shorten its life significantly.  The one caveat to this tip is that you should consult with your mechanic before you change your transmission fluid.
  • Buy a transmission cooler: We’ve talked about them before on this blog but an excellent buffer against transmission overheating is a good, quality cooler.  Temperatures in excess of 200 degrees can shorten the life of your transmission and affect performance.  To remedy this, buy a cooler that has a fan and mount the cooler in the line coming out of the factory cooler.

At Houston Transmission Repair we want to make sure that you have accurate and complete information about one of the most important parts of any car.  We know that how long a transmission last depends on the above factors.  We also know that transmission repair/replacement is a costly procedure that our customers are not likely to want to repeat.  While many sites and mechanics may ball park how long a rebuilt transmission, we make sure you get the complete picture.  We also make sure that your investment pays off in a transmission that will have all the vitality of a re manufactured transmission.  Of course, that is provided you treat your investment with care.  In the end, the best answer to the question of how long you can expect a transmission to last is that it depends on how the owner treats the rebuilt transmission and the expertise of the people performing the rebuild.

 

What you Need to Know About Replacing Your Transmission

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Replacing your car’s transmission is probably the most important decision you’ll make after the decision you made when you first purchased your vehicle.  Just as when you bought your car, you’ll want to do some research about transmissions especially if you are going to buy a used transmission.  Just as when you bought your car you’ll want to consider more than price when making the right selection. Questions to ask Your Mechanic Here are a few tips to making the right choice in choosing a good used transmission plus some questions you should ask yourself and your mechanic.

Tips to Choosing a Good Transmission

  • Don’t be too cheap: Everyone has a budget in mind when getting major work done on their car.  However, it’s important to be realistic and to not obsess over trying to save money when buying a new or used transmission.  After all, your safety is paramount in such a decision.  To this end, you should avoid buying a used transmission from a junkyard.  The warranty on junkyard transmissions is usually very short and it is difficult to determine just how old the transmission is.
  • Check compatibility: Make sure the transmission will be a match for your engine’s needs.  If you have any questions about this ask a qualified mechanic before making the decision to purchase a used transmission.
  • Know the warranty: Make sure the transmission you buy has a good, long-lasting warranty.

Questions to ask Your Mechanic

Of course the decision about which transmission to buy is just one step to replacing your current transmission.  You will also need to some ask the person who installs it some questions to make sure you are choosing the right professional for the job.  At Mr. Transmission in Houston, we welcome your questions of our professionals and feel confident we can answer all of them to your satisfaction.  Some of the questions customers may wish to ask include:

  • How much experience do you have? This is probably the single most important thing to know about your mechanic regardless of the automotive component he or she will be working on.  At Mr. Transmission, we have over thirty years of experience servicing transmissions.  We can handle an automatic transmission as easily as we can handle a manual transmission.
  • Is your technology up to date? Transmission and car components in general are very complex these days.  We use state of the art diagnostic equipment to diagnose your transmission’s performance.
  • Do you guarantee your work? We stand by the work of our mechanics and can guarantee their work.

Yes, with these tips and these questions in mind a difficult decision can be made a lot easier.  You chose the car you drive carefully.  You should make the decision about which transmission to buy carefully as well.  Choose professionals who are experienced and who guarantee their work.  Saving money is always desirable and making the right decision when it comes to a replacement or rebuilt transmission can save money in the long run and ensure the safety of you and your family.

 

The Pluses and Minuses of Owning a Manual Transmission Car

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A friend of mine once told me that the main allure of his Porsche 911 is that since it has a manual transmission and relatively people know how to drive them, friends rarely ask to borrow it.  Despite my frienstick shiftd’s jaundiced views on lending his things out, having a manual transmission vehicle has its pluses and minuses.  It’s more complicated than he or other people – who are either deathly afraid of them or who sing their praises -believe.  With all due respect to my friend, here are some reasons that owning a manual transmission vehicle is sort of a mixed bag.

Manual Transmission Pluses

  • Easier maintenance:  Generally, stick shift vehicles are simpler and therefore easier to keep up.  Sometimes, problems can arise with the clutch but for the most part serious problems can take many thousands of miles to develop.
  • Better fuel savings:  Even in this time of relatively low gas prices no one wants a car that wastes fuel.  Cars with a manual transmission can increase their fuel economy by as much as 15%.  This is because the torque converter and hydraulic pump in automatic transmission vehicles can rob cars of their fuel efficiency.
  • Better control:  Braking is easier in manual transmission vehicles than in cars with an automatic transmission.
  • Less expensive:  Finally, with a few notable exceptions – such as my friend’s Porsche 911 or the 2016 BMW M5 – manual transmission cars tend to be cheaper.

Manual Transmission Minuses

  • Difficulty climbing hills:  Rolling backwards into traffic is a real possibility with manual transmission cars as the driver ascends hills.  This can be frustrating as well as dangerous.
  • Steeper learning curve:  This gets back to my friend’s main reason for loving his Porsche 911.  (I’m sure there are other reasons.)  People who transition over from driving an automatic to a manual transmission vehicle usually complain about how difficult it is to adjust to using a clutch and to shift timing.
  • Poor Availability:  According to the site Edmunds, fewer than 2% of all of Toyota’s car sales are automobiles with manual transmissions.  This is because technology has advanced to the point where some automatic transmission vehicles are comparable in fuel efficiency to manual transmission vehicles.

At Mr. Transmission of Houston, whether you need a rebuilt transmission of a manual or automatic drive vehicle we can guarantee you a fast, reliable rebuild.  We provide rebuilt transmissions in Houston not only to those in our city, but also to surrounding communities such as Channelview, Clear Lake, Pasadena, Deer Park, Baytown and others.  Bring in your manual or automatic drive vehicle and we assure you that with 50 years of experience we can have it performing at peak efficiency.

 

 

Tips for Finding a Great Car Mechanic

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honest mechanicThe Greek philosopher Diogenes was thought to be insane when he declared that he was searching for an honest man with a lantern.  He did this in broad daylight sure that he would not be able to find one.  Well the search for an honest, well qualified mechanic can seem to be an equally daunting one but doing so is absolutely critical.  It is a search whose outcome will help determine how long your car last and how well it will run.  Finding the right mechanic can also mean saving you money in the long term by reducing the number of times the same repair has to be redone.

At Houston Transmission Repair, where we install rebuilt transmissions in Houston, we want to make sure that our customers are selective about who they entrust their car to.  We feel that when it comes to transmission service we will be the clear choice.  Nevertheless, here are some pointers for choosing a great mechanic.

  • Know their qualifications:  Well trained mechanics will have various automotive certifications such as ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification.  This will indicate the mechanic’s area of proficiency.
  • Check references:  Friends, neighbors and even onsite testimonials can be valuable in finding a good mechanic and evaluating a mechanic once you have found on.
  • Meet the Mechanics:  Talk to the mechanics at the shop to get a sense of how they are with people and how much experience they have.  It is important that you can build a level of trust with your mechanic who you will be interacting with on an interpersonal level as well as a professional one.
  • Go with experience:  There is no substitute for experience.  At Mr. Transmission we have over 50 years of experience servicing customers in the Houston area.
  • Skip the dealership:  If your car is under warranty go with the dealership; if not go to an independent auto shop.
  • Go to specialist:  Make sure to pick a shop where the mechanics specialize in the part, system or type of car you want serviced.  You’ll get better service from a shop that specializes in transmission service than one that does not.

When it’s time to have a rebuilt transmission installed, it’s best to find someone you can trust and who has the experience to do the job right the first time.  With careful research it doesn’t have to be as difficult as Diogenes’ quest for an honest man.  Making this decision carefully will result in a car that lasts many thousands of miles.

What You Should Know About Transmission Coolers

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Are you someone who does a lot of towing with your vehicle? Do you live in a particularly hot climate? Do you do a lot of steep hill climbing in your truck, car or van? If the answer to any of these questions is yes then it may be a good idea to have a transmission cooler installed into your vehicle. After all, transmission heat is one of the main reasons for transmission failure and driving habits directly affect the temperature of many of your car’s systems. The transmission is no exception. So what does a transmission cooler do? First some facts: The perfect temperature for a transmission is less than 170°. Every 20° increase in fluid temperature can cut the lifespan of your transmission by up to half. For people with unique driving habits – such as those stated – the heat damage caused by this increase can be even more significant.

Transmission coolers work by sending heated fluid from the transmission to the radiator then to the cooler. Air moving over the fins of the cooler lowers the fluid’s temperature. This cooler fluid is then sent back to the transmission lowering its temperature. There are basically three kinds of cooler which includes tube and fin, plate and fin, and stacked plate types. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Tube and fin coolers are generally inexpensive and ideal for older cars but are not recommended for overdrive transmissions. Plate and fin coolers are smaller and more efficient than tube and fin coolers but are more expensive. Finally, stacked plate coolers are smaller and more efficient than either tube or plate and fin types but are also more expensive than either. However, the expense can be offset by the fact that all three can extend the life of your transmission significantly. Each qu28268_800does so by making your transmission run cooler which decreases costs and increases fuel economy. The result of your transmission running cooler is that the fluid you put into it can better protect transmission components. The decreased costs come with reducing the probability that your transmission will need to be repaired or replaced. Lastly, coolers increase your vehicle’s fuel economy since it makes the transmission and the engine work more efficiently.

Thus, if you are someone who feels that you may need a transmission cooler installed to accommodate your driving habits, Mr. Transmission has the professionals who can help. We excel in installing used transmissions in Houston and surrounding areas and can give you tips on how to extend the life of your current unit. We are also experienced with rebuilt transmissions in Houston and can help you when the time comes where you may have to decide that a rebuild is the best solution to your car problems.

Tips for Keeping your Car’s Transmission in Tip-Top Shape

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Of all the of a car’s components and systems, the transmission is one of the things – along with the engine – that makes people recoil when problems are pointed out to it by a mechanic. Without even knowing how they work exactly, most people know that any repair done to it can potentially be expensive. Additionally, the news of a faulty transmission is often followed by car owners wondering what could have been done to have avoided the problem. The good news is that if you have not experienced major problems with your transmission there are things you can do to decrease the chance that you will be having “that” conversation with your mechanic.e56a49fe-082c-102e-8f1f-678b82e8086br

Get Your Transmission Serviced Regularly: Whether your vehicle has a manual or automatic transmission, scheduling regular maintenance for your vehicle may help to prevent a serious problem from developing in the future. The frequency of these checkups depends somewhat on how tough you are on your transmission and your driving habits. You should probably have the transmission checked by qualified professionals at least every 15,000 miles or so.

Check Fluid Levels Constantly: Transmission fluid lubricates the components parts of your transmission and in an automatic transmission it also serves as coolant. This is why you should routinely check your transmission’s fluid levels. Park the car for a time after driving it and use the transmission dip stick to check how much fluid is left as well as the color of the fluid. If the fluid level is below the “warm” line, it may be time for a refill. Transmission fluid that is nearly black in color may indicate a problem, as transmission fluid tends to be reddish in color. At our transmission shop in Houston we can help determine if the color indicates a serious problem and whether or not a flush is needed.

Put in an Auxiliary Cooler: An excellent way to insure that your transmission does not overheat is to have an auxiliary cooler installed. Excessive heat can damage your transmission and most cars do not come with one already built in.

Stop before changing gears: Some people are in the habit of shifting into drive before coming to a full stop. This habit can damage your transmission over time.

Don’t ride the break: Keeping your foot on the gas and break simultaneously can hurt your transmission. By doing so you are forcing your transmission to work twice as hard and thus creating more wear and tear to it.

Finally, extending the life of your transmission is something that should be a high priority for all drivers especially those wishing to avoid repair or replacement cost. If a serious problem should develop, cultivating a relationship with trustworthy professionals such as those at Mr. Transmission in Houston could prove highly beneficial.

 

 

Transmission Problems: To Repair or Replace?

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Cars can be frustrating, your car’s transmission in particular. Recently, a comedian on TV joked that his car always seemed to know when he had extra money because it would always need to be repaired on those occasions. People with older cars – more so than people with newer cars – can closely identify with this problem. What isn’t funny is the cost benefit analysis people with older or problem transmissions in particular end up making. Many people end up wondering if they would be better off having their transmission repaired or having it replaced when they encounter problems with them.

If the transmission has failed altogether th"transmission repair Houston"en the decision about whether to repair or replace it has already been made for you. While it is an expense that most people dread, replacing a transmission is usually less costly than replacing an entire engine and certainly less expensive than buying a new vehicle. The other thing to consider is if the entire car is worth it. If your car has quite a few miles left on it, then it may be worth it to replace a transmission whose problems are becoming more and more expensive to repair. For faulty transmission components in which removal of the entire transmission is required, a rebuild of the transmission may also be indicated.

If, on the other hand, problems with your transmission have been infrequent and repairing it does not require the removal of entire components, then repair might be a better option than rebuilding or replacing it. If, upon inspecting your vehicle we determine that the parts are within manufacturer specifications then repair might be recommended over a replacement or rebuild.

Ultimately, no transmission will be totally new since manufacturers reserve new transmission for new cars.  After consulting with you, we can make the determination about which is the best option for your situation and your car. What it all boils down to is this: are the trips back and forth to the local mechanic costing you more than it would to simply have another transmission installed? If so then consider a rebuild or replacement (after consulting with one of our professionals).

Whether you are having minor problems with your transmission or major ones, we are a transmission shop in Houston that can help you by providing you with expert advice, professional service and an iron clad guarantee of our services, our personnel, our labor and our parts. When your transmission is growing faultier by the day it is no laughing matter and we treat your car and you with the utmost care and respect.

Signs it’s Time to Replace your Transmission

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Signs it’s Time to Replace your Transmission

Believe it or not, transmissions don’t just fail out of the blue. They usually take time to stop working completely. For weeks or perhaps months, our cars send 12297713messages to us warning us that if something is not done soon they may fail us. The problem is, most people are so fearful of the idea of needing a new transmission that they try to ignore the warning signs. While, other people simply don’t recognize those signs. Here are some indications that your transmission may need to be replaced altogether.

  • Bitter or burnt smelling oil: Check the smell and levels of your transmission fluid. Automatic transmission fluid should be sweet smelling and reddish in color. If your fluid levels are low when they been refilled recently your transmission could be burned out and need an overhaul.
  • Rumbling, grinding or whining sounds: Normally if a transmission is grinding loudly it is time for an overhaul.
  • Car shakes when shifting gears: Transmissions that are functioning correctly should ride smoothly during gear shifts. When the gears in manual transmission shift hard, jerk or shake during a shift change, it may mean your transmission fluid needs changing or your fluid level is low but it could indicate it is time for a replacement.
  • Debris in Fluid: Debris in your transmission pan is a very serious symptom. If the fluid glitters like glass then what you are seeing is most likely metal shavings.
  • Other signs: Other signs that your transmission may need to be replaced include hesitation when putting the car into gear, falling out of gear while driving and shifting gears for no apparent reason.

Right away even people who don’t know much else about cars know that the transmission is one of the most important parts of a car. Worse still is when a mechanic mentions “replace” in the same breath with the word transmission. Yet, as frightening as the mention of those two words in a sentence is, sometimes it is time to part with an old transmission. If your car has been experiencing any of the above signs, it may be “speaking” to you and telling you of an impending problem that can only be fixed by a new transmission. When you need transmission repair in Houston you can rely on Mr. Transmission.