If you notice that your vehicle's transmission slips, see a transmission specialist right now. A slipping transmission could mean that your car has a bad solenoid. If you put off the repairs, your car won't make it through the upcoming summer. Here's one critical transmission problem you need to repair before summer arrives.
What's a Transmission Solenoid?
Your car's transmission is a complex system of parts that work together to change gears. When small parts are damaged, such as the transmission solenoid, the car overheats or stops changing gears properly. Combined with the summer's excessive heat, hot transmission fluids can shut the car down at any time.
A transmission solenoid controls the way transmission fluids circulate through the car's brake system and clutch. It opens and closes as you shift gears, as well as when you come to a stop.
Your car has one or more solenoids, depending on the type of car you purchased. For example, if you bought a compact car with a four-speed transmission, it probably has two solenoids. Your transmission mechanic can tell you how many solenoids you have when you bring the car to the shop.
How Does the Solenoid Work?
Your car's engine activates the transmission solenoid when you shift into gear. The engine sends signals to the solenoid through a network of wires or sensors that tell it to open or close. If the solenoid doesn't receive these messages, it doesn't open and close on time and your transmission will:
- Take time moving from one gear to the next
- Get stuck in one gear and not move at all
- Change gears without warning
If the transmission solenoid does any of the above things all the time, the transmission slips. The solenoid doesn't push enough transmission fluid through the brake system. Eventually, the brake system and gears overheat from the lack of lubrication.
In addition, the brake plates of the brake system rub together and create friction. The friction turns into heat and your car breaks down. The issue becomes critical in the summer when temperatures sore outdoors. The high temperatures make the engine and transmission run hotter, which places the entire car at risk for failure when it overheats.
Your car may lurch or jump to the next gear when you drive it. If the problem becomes worse, the gears will change on their own, which creates a dangerous situation on the road for you and other drivers.
How Can You Keep the Car Going Until You Repair the Solenoid?
You can do a few things at home to reduce the stress on your transmission until you see the mechanic. For instance, only drive your car during cool weather to keep it from overheating too much. Check the transmission fluid reservoir to see if it has enough fluids inside it. If not, fill the reservoir with new fluid but don't overfill it. Overfilling makes the problem worse. The fluid may leak out into the engine and mix with other fluids, or the fluid can get hot and cause a fire if it touches a hot surface.
Your transmission repair technician can do a detailed diagnostic test on your car to make sure it's the solenoid or something else. If you have questions, contact the technician for answers.