Finding a Reliable Transmission Repair Specialist
Are you having issues with your car’s transmission? Not scheduling the needed maintenance can cause long-term damage to your vehicle. It’s important to schedule an appointment with a professional transmission repair specialist. However, with so many shops to choose from, it can be tricky to know which one is ideal for your needs. To ensure you get the best assistance, here‘s how to pick the top transmission repair specialist in your locale.
- Ask Friends and Family for Reference
One of the best ways to find a trustworthy company for transmission repairs is to ask people you know for reference. Talk to family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. Chances are one of them recently took their car to an auto shop for transmission maintenance and can recommend the shop they used.
- Research Transmission Shops Online
The next step is to research transmission shops on the Web. Begin with a simple Google search. Try to find out as much as you can about the different local companies and the services they offer. If you need drivetrain repair, for instance, confirm it’s offered before scheduling an appointment.
- Read Testimonials
Most companies post testimonials and reviews online. Read these to get a better understanding of the transmission repair specialist in question. If you can’t find reviews, or they’re too broad and generic, ask the company directly for past customer testimonials.
Look for a Transmission Repair Shop with Certified Mechanics
For mechanics, there are often various certifications available to verify an advanced degree of specialized training. When you look for a mechanic, keep this in mind – often, a specialist will do an excellent job at a fair price because that is their prime business.
When choosing a mechanic, at least make sure that they are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. There is actually no legal requirement for certification to work as a mechanic, so finding someone who has taken the time and effort to prove their thorough knowledge is always a smart move, as it guarantees their professionalism.
The Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association (ATRA) is a national board that specifically tests transmission specialists. This is a difficult certification to obtain, requiring the mechanic to pass several specialized tests related to transmission maintenance and repair. ATRA holds its certified members to a code of ethics and offers a nationwide warranty for transmission repairs, which could save you time and money with a job done right the first time.
Ask any mechanic to see his certification prior to starting any work on your car. It should be displayed on his wall, or at the very least available upon request.
Get an Estimate
It’s certainly not a bad idea to request a written estimate from any mechanic prior to agreeing to any labor. Chances are, an experienced repair shop should be able to diagnose the problem early on, and then tell you what the estimated cost for repairs will be.
By having an estimate in writing, yo also insure yourself against any surprise fees or costs when all is said and done. It is illegal for a repair shop to charge more than a pre-quoted estimate without your approval, and so having proof of a prior agreement can protect you from spending more than you thought.
Questions to Ask Your Transmission Repair Expert During Your Next Visit
We get it – no one wants to step foot in a transmission repair shop. Usually, transmission repairs are inconvenient and expensive. However, most vehicle owners must enter a transmission repair shop at least once during the lifetime of owning their automobile for transmission repairs. This can be avoided by regular transmission fluid maintenance.
The following 3 questions provide you with a starting point. Here’s what to ask a transmission repair expert during your next visit to determine if “expert” is an appropriate title:
- How Much Will the Repair Cost? Could You Provide an Accurate Estimate?
Depending on the nature of your repair, your trip to the transmission shop could be relatively inexpensive or extremely costly. Asking this question guarantees that you will not be caught off guard with extraneous costs – and ensures that the shop you work with offers competitive straightforward pricing.
Some shops might quote transmission repair pricing over the phone. In reality, these shops are not repairing your transmission. They are replacing your damaged transmission with a used or remanufactured unit. Any credible transmission shop that repairs transmission in-house should be able to communicate their transmission rebuild strategy in detail (see question #4); a good transmission rebuild strategy should always be tailored to the specific situation and symptoms present. Unless a transmission shop has psychic capabilities, the cost of an in-house transmission rebuild is not apparent until there is a full “tear-down” and evaluation of the disassembled transmission. Obviously, at this stage, the transmission cannot be put back together without completing a repair. It is up to the service manager to provide a best and worst-case scenario to customers prior to that “tear-down” stage. Two transmissions of the same variety can potentially have a price difference beyond $2,000. Given this fact, how can an honest transmission shop provide an accurate estimate prior to inspecting the vehicle? It would be unethical to quote the lower end of the price range only to end up with an actual price tag at the higher end of the range. This is predatory to customers and shops that engage in these types of activities should be obviously avoided!
Once the “tear-down” stage is complete, a transmission rebuilder formulates a repair strategy to get your vehicle back on the road safely and a service consultant provides an accurate estimate to the customer. In order to receive an accurate estimate, an elite transmission shop needs to collect as much information as possible from each step of the repair process, starting with the initial inspection.
- Do You Have Warranties for Parts or Labor?
A bad warranty is as good as no warranty at all. One key trait of an expert transmission repair company is a comprehensive warranty on all major rebuilds or repairs. The best transmission repair shops will offer upgraded options including additional years, mileage or even nationwide coverage. These options should be customizable to the needs of the vehicle owner. If a shop is not willing to stand behind their work, are you really comfortable saving a few bucks for unreliable repairs?
- How Experienced Are Your Technicians?
We believe that technicians are the most important part of an excellent transmission repair business. It is important to ask, “how many years of experience does each technician possess?” Do the techs work with integrity and honesty, providing high-quality service? Are the technicians certified with ASE? Knowing that the transmission shop you step foot in is built around a team of highly-qualified, highly-experienced transmission specialists is reassuring and assists with achieving quality repairs and Fast Service.
Types of transmissions
The purpose of the transmission is to transfer the power generated by the engine to the drive axle and wheels by using different gears. A car’s engine rotates within a fixed range of speeds, generally from 600 to 7,000 revolutions per minute (rpm) for most passenger vehicles. The vehicle’s wheels typically spin from 0 to 1,800 rpm, so the transmission uses different gears with specific ratios to match the most efficient use of engine power for the vehicle’s speed.
For instance, when starting from a full stop, your car’s engine is spinning much faster than the wheels so a lower-ratio gear that supplies higher amounts of torque is needed. When traveling at highway speeds, the wheels may be turning much faster than the engine, meaning a higher-ratio, low-torque gear is needed.
There are a few varieties of transmission types found in most modern vehicles:
Automatic transmissions: The most common type of vehicle transmission for cars built and sold in the United States, automatic transmissions automatically select the correct gear for the driving conditions. Beyond special circumstances like towing a trailer or extremely steep inclines or declines, most drivers simply have to put the vehicle’s gear selector into “D” for drive and the automatic transmission does the rest. Up until recent times, automatic transmission vehicles were typically less fuel efficient than their manual transmission counterparts.
Manual transmissions: Also known as a standard transmission or manual gearbox or simply “stick,” manual transmission vehicles are a relative minority in modern American vehicles. Manual transmissions rely on the driver to select and switch gears constantly. Manual transmissions are typically equipped with a clutch pedal that’s required for the driver to be able to switch between gears. Although manual transmission vehicles provide greatly improved fuel economy (and typically cost less than automatic transmission vehicles), the downside is the constant need for attention on the part of the driver.
Continuously variable transmissions (CVT): Typically found on lighter passenger vehicles, CVT transmissions are relatively new features in terms of the American automobile market, but they offer a special set of advantages. Although they employ a different technology than traditional automatic transmissions, they perform in the same manner in terms of driver experience. Moreover, they deliver increased fuel efficiency when compared to traditional automatic transmissions.
COMMON SIGNS OF TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS
- Transmission Fluid Color and Condition: noticeably dirty or burnt colloquial means it’s time to drain and replace the fluid. Checking the engine fluid is a pretty simple process that can be done before bringing your vehicle into a shop.
- Low Fluid Levels: when your fluid vehicles colloquial becomes low, some basic signs can indicate you need to add fluid. You will often notice that your vehicle will shake while driving it and the engine will have a hard time shifting (even with automatic transmissions).
- Signs of Leaks: The most common places to find leaks are the seals, transmission lines, loose pans, or faulty gaskets.
- Overheating: Overheating can cause parts of the transmission to malfunction and will decrease the longevity of your transmission.
- Transmission Slipping: If you step on the gas but find that you don’t accelerate or the engine revs., it’s time to bring your vehicle to a local Atlanta transmission shop.