At Thompson Automotive we have seen just about every transmission issue you can think of. Many of these problems could have been easily avoided. If you drive a car with an automatic transmission, here are five simple things that can easily ruin your transmission.


Believe it or not, this is the most common reason that something goes wrong with your transmission. You forget about it. Automatic transmissions need to be serviced periodically so that your mechanic can replace the oxidizing fluid with fresh fluid. If you forget to service your transmission, dirt and contaminants can build up on the inside causing it to run sluggish and turning small problems into more significant problems over time. Your transmission should be serviced every 30,000 miles. Make sure you make a point to assess your transmission consistently for any issues that may arise.


As it goes with ANY fluid in your car, you have to make sure that you have the correct amount. When you run low on transmission fluid, it means that your transmission is not going to run how it is supposed to. Low transmission fluid will not only cause lack of lubrication on the moving internal parts of your transmission, it will also cause low fluid pressure which will result in overheating. Over 90% of transmission failures happen due to overheating. A good habit to get into is checking your transmission fluid level when you check your oil levels.


All transmission fluid is not the same. This is a widespread misconception and is very damaging if you do not put the recommended transmission fluid in your car. You can find the recommended fluid for your vehicle in your car’s manual, or take it to a trusted mechanic.


If you are seeing or hearing something that is not normal with your car, you never should ignore it. If you see a dark red fluid on the floor of your garage, hear strange noises while driving, or experience your car shaking/slipping/slowing down while driving, you need to get your car into the mechanic shop right away. If you continue driving for too long you could potentially do more harm and damage to your vehicle, so don’t put off getting your car into the shop.


Transmissions can overheat a variety of ways. The most common for your transmission to overheat is by letting your transmission fluid run low or not changing it when you should causing the fluid to become dirty. Another way your transmission can overheat is by towing more than your car is rated for. If you plan on towing a boat, RV, or anything else, make sure you check your owner’s manual so that you tow only the amount that is recommended.

Most transmission failures are entirely avoidable. Make sure you don’t cause more damage to your car by ignoring minor problems and resolving them before any further damage is caused.