Mainstreet Transmissions

and Auto Repair

Services:

MainStreet Transmissions is fully equipped and qualified to work on any type of transmission including:

1. All automatic transmissions, foreign and domestic

2. Standard transmissions

3. Truck, van and SUV transmissions

4. Clutches

5. Axles

6. Transfer cases

 

The best thing you can do to keep your transmission healthy is to maintain your transmission properly. We offer the full range of maintenance services.

1) GET TO KNOW YOUR AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION

The automatic transmission brings the power from the engine to the drive wheels through a series of gear sets and friction devices (known as “Clutches and Bands”). It has a brain (called the “Valve Body”) which responds to electrical and hydraulic signals that tell the transmission when and how to shift. It has a heart (known as the “Pump”) which provides the hydraulic pressure necessary to provide lubrication and apply the appropriate friction devices. Although it may sound simple it is the most complex component in any automobile. It may have as many as 1,000 parts, each having to function perfectly with the others in order to work properly.

 

Why Maintain Your Transmission?

Anything that has nearly 1,000 parts is likely to be expensive to repair. So investing periodically in replacement of the fluid and filter along with a thorough inspection can only serve to prolong the transmission’s life and might save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

 

2) TEN WAYS TO PROLONG THE LIFE OF YOUR TRANSMISSION

 

1. Check transmission fluid regularly and properly. (See Owner’s Manual for Details)

2. Check transmission fluid after running hot. Stop and go traffic, hilly terrain, hot weather, or towing can build up excess transmission heat causing fluid to be lost, damaged, or both. Check it no later than your next stop for gasoline.

3. Install an external cooler in high stress conditions. Towing a trailer, hauling heavy loads, or being stuck in traffic often creates excessive transmission heat. An external transmission cooler will help to bring the temperature down to normal operating level adding significantly to the life of the transmission.

4. Change transmission fluid more often in high stress conditions. Transmission fluid cools, cleans, and lubricates the internal transmission parts while providing the hydraulic pressure to make all of the components work together. When the fluid loses its ability to perform those tasks efficiently trouble can’t be far away. Any of the conditions in items 2 & 3 above will shorten the effective life of transmission fluid. In those cases, change the fluid a minimum of twice a year (unless otherwise specified in the owners manual).

5. Check any malfunctions promptly. Repair bills tend to rise in proportion to mileage driven after the first signs of trouble. The longer you drive with a malfunctioning transmission, the more damage you may cause, and the more money it may cost you.

6. Have the transmission linkage and other adjustments checked periodically. Especially after the vehicle has been in an accident or has had any major engine work performed.

7. Keep your engine properly tuned. A poor running engine can, at times, display symptoms similar to a transmission problem.

8. Have other drive train components that may affect transmission function checked regularly. Driveshafts and their universal joints, drive axles and their constant velocity joints, engine flywheels or flex plates, computer system and sensors, radiator and cooling lines to the transmission, engine and transmission mountings can cause problems.

9. Have your vehicle’s cooling system checked twice a year for leaks, proper coolant level and strength. Antifreeze can deteriorate over time causing it to become ineffective creating overheating or freeze-up conditions.

10. Take your vehicle for a complete physical check up at least once a year. This should include all safety components such as lights, brakes and steering. Remember that a poor running engine or certain transmission problems can be a safety hazard.

 

3) WANT YOUR TRANSMISSION TO LIVE LONGER? HERE ARE TEN THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT DO

 

1. Don’t Leave The Shift Lever In Park (P) Without The Parking Brake On. If another vehicle were to even tap yours in the front or back while parked it could cause a part inside your transmission (the parking pawl) to break leaving your vehicle to roll down the street unattended.

2. Don’t Downshift To “Brake” At Traffic Lights. A forced downshift at high engine RPM causes excessive wear on transmission friction components (clutches and bands).

3. Don’t Place Shift Lever in Drive or Reverse when engine is at “Fast Idle”. This can cause abrupt transmission engagement leading to early failure of clutches, bands, gear sets, driveline components and engine or transmission mountings.

4. Don’t Drag Race. Unless your vehicle was specifically designed for that purpose it cannot sustain that form of abuse. You run the risk of damaging all driveline components.

5. Don’t Use Your Shift Lever Instead of Your Brake. Before reversing direction your car must be at a complete stop. Using the transmission to stop the vehicle will lead to premature transmission failure.

6. Don’t Rock Your Car in Sand or Snow. Dig it out or have it towed. Both are less expensive than the damage you may cause by quick shifting between Reverse (R) and Drive (D) over and over again. The excessive heat that is caused by such action can burn out a transmission in a very short period of time.

7. Don’t Drive Until The Engine Warms Up. For your transmission to perform properly, the fluid must be at operating temperature. Give it a few minutes and it will give you better and longer service.

8. Don’t Let Anyone Tow Your Vehicle With The Drive Wheels on the Ground. Rear wheel drive vehicles must be towed with the rear wheels off the ground. Front wheel drive with the front wheels in the air. All wheel or full time four-wheel drive vehicles should be flat towed (all four wheels off the ground) Not sure? Check your owner’s manual. Improper towing can cause serious damage!

9. Don’t Stop Suddenly. Like fast starts, sudden stops can damage drivetrain components like engine and transmission mounts. These can lead to transmission damage. After any sudden emergency stop, it would be wise to have your mounts checked.

10. Don’t Play Transmission “Doctor”. Over the counter additives that are supposed to stop leaks or make the transmission shift better many times contain chemicals that may cause worn seals to swell. This can interfere with the function of these operating rubber parts and lead to severe damage.

 

4) TWENTY INDICATORS OF POSSIBLE TRANSMISSION TROUBLE

 

Transmission problems can take several forms. Each symptom may have a number of possible causes, some requiring extensive repairs while others will only need an adjustment or minor service. A systematic check up by a Professional is usually necessary to establish the cause of operating problems and their solutions, including any of the following:

 

1. Delayed Engagement in drive or reverse when the vehicle is cold. Also called “Morning Sickness”. Vehicle won’t move or shifts late during the first few minutes of operation.

2. Doesn’t Go in Drive (D) or Reverse (R). You place the shift lever in drive or reverse and nothing happens.

3. Doesn’t Go in Any Shift Lever Position. Even racing the engine won’t move the vehicle.

4. Slippage. Engine races but vehicle moves slowly or won’t accelerate as it should.

5. Fresh Fluid Stains Under the Vehicle.

6. Shifting at Improper Speed Levels. Any noticeable early or late shifting.

7. Passing Gear Won’t Engage. You get no surge of power when you press the pedal to the floor.

8. Rough Shifting, Clunking into Gear. Noise or harsh feeling when transmission is placed in gear or while shifting from one gear to another.

9. Erratic Shifting. Shifts are sometimes unexpected. Speed at which shifts occur keeps changing.

10. Vehicle Moves Forward or Backward in Neutral (N).

11. Vehicle tries to move in Park (P).

12. Vehicle Labors or Stalls on Take Off.

13. Engine Braking (a function that uses the transmission to slow the car on long down hill slopes or in snow or icy conditions) does not work in one or more shifter positions.

14. A “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light is shining on your dashboard.

15. The Shift handle is hard to move in or out of any position.

16. The Shift indicator must be slightly off (P) or (N) to start car.

17. The Shift indicator doesn’t point to the proper range.

18. Strange noises of any kind.

19. A burnt or rancid odor coming from under the hood or underneath the vehicle.

20. Excessive amounts of debris found in the transmission pan during an inspection.

 

5) TEN VEHICLE PROBLEMS SOMETIMES MISINTERPRETED BY CUSTOMERS AS TRANSMISSION TROUBLE

 

Many things can happen to your car that might make you think you have a transmission problem when you really don’t. Here are ten conditions that can affect transmission performance, but are not part of the transmission itself and can be relatively inexpensive to repair.

 

1. Poor fuel system adjustment.

2. Dirty fuel injectors or fuel filter.

3. Engine timing out of adjustment.

4. Poorly adjusted shifter cable or throttle linkage.

5. Damaged engine vacuum line.

6. Broken engine or transmission mounts.

7. Poor performing engine.

8. Collapsed exhaust pipe, muffler, or clogged catalytic converter.

9. Computer or sensor malfunction.

10. Electrical or wiring problem of any kind.

 

6) TEN SOUNDS THAT CAN GIVE EARLY INDICATION OF TRANSMISSION TROUBLE

 

Nobody knows the normal sounds your vehicle makes better than you. When something changes you’ll probably notice it right away. Any new, strange sound that doesn’t go away should get your immediate attention. Here are ten sounds that are likely to indicate some transmission malfunction.

 

1. Clicking

2. Buzzing

3. Whistling

4. Moans or Groans

5. Squealing or Screeching

6. Hum or Low Whine in Neutral (N) or Park (P)

7. Hum or Low Whine in all Drive ranges

8. Clank when engaging in Drive (D) or Reverse (R)

9. Grating or Rumbling in Gear

10. Chatter or Clunk when Starting in Drive (D) or Reverse (R)

 

7) TEN THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT DO WHEN YOU THINK YOU HAVE A TRANSMISSION PROBLEM!

 

1. Don’t Let Your Brother-In-Law (or any other unqualified person) Try To Fix It In His Driveway. He may do more harm than good and cost you more in the long run.

2. Don’t Have Anyone Install A Used Transmission From A Junkyard Or Out Of Another Vehicle That Has Not Been evaluated By A Professional. Transmission failure is partially a function of age and mileage. There is no way to tell if that used transmission has been abused or how many miles it really has on it. In addition, it may not be an exact match with yours leading to all types of control problems especially with today’s sophisticated electronic transmissions. How Many Times Would You Want To Pay Someone To Install One Of These Before Finding One That Will Last?

3. Don’t Be Misled By Terminology. Customers are many times led to believe that they are purchasing a “NEW” transmission when, in reality, it is either remanufactured, rebuilt, reconditioned, or repaired. While the transmission may be new to their vehicle it is, in most cases, not new. Brand new transmissions would cost outrageous amounts of money and are hardly ever installed by anyone, even new car dealers.

4. Don’t Go Back To The New Car Dealer unless the vehicle is under the manufacturer’s original warranty. MainStreet Transmissions can provide the service. We can usually perform necessary repairs and services more quickly and with the peace of mind in knowing the work is being done by professionals who specialize in transmissions.

5. Don’t allow anyone to install a remanufactured, rebuilt, reconditioned, or repaired transmission in your vehicle without first performing diagnostic checks to determine if such an extensive operation is even necessary.

6. Don’t Shop For Prices Over The Phone. Many customers ask “How much for a transmission?” At that point most don’t even know if they need one. Would you want to pay for a transmission you don’t need? Prices quoted over the phone may be “low ball” amounts just to get you to come in, or they may not include everything you need, leading to unhappy surprises later on.

7. Don’t Trade Your Car In Just Because It Has A Transmission Problem. If the car is in good condition having the transmission repaired can be a much more cost effective solution than committing to the long-term investment in a replacement vehicle. After all, you know what you have now; you don’t always know what you’re going to get. Even if you decide to trade it in at a later date, a car with a properly functioning transmission will bring a lot more than one that has a problem. So the investment you make to repair it can easily bring you a good return.

8. Don’t Add Store Bought Transmission Fluid Additives. In many cases they do more harm than good. Always check with a transmission Professional before adding anything.

9. Don’t Let General Repair Mechanics Experiment With Your Transmission. Only Certified Transmission Technicians will have the equipment and capability to diagnose and repair your transmission properly the first time. A good general repair mechanic will recommend that you see a transmission professional.

10. Don’t Bring Your Transmission Problem To A “Fly By Night” Repair Shop. Get references. Check with Consumer Affairs and The Better Business Bureau. If you want to be assured of accurate diagnosis and top quality service bring it to a name you know and can trust, MainStreet Transmissions.

 

8) FLUID LEAKS ARE THE MAIN CAUSE OF TRANSMISSION FAILURE!

 

An automatic transmission is a hydraulic system that operates on pressurized oil (fluid). This fluid lubricates the transmission and applies various friction devices (clutches and bands) at specific times to change gears and transfer power from the engine to the drive wheels. When the fluid drops below a safe level, lubrication and hydraulic pressure decrease, causing excessive wear to major transmission components and in some cases, immediate failure.

 

With the proliferation of self-service gas stations, drivers are not checking fluid levels of many major vehicle systems, as they should. These include motor oil, brake and power steering fluid, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, and of course, transmission fluid.

 

Learn to spot transmission leaks. If you normally park in a garage or driveway, look for fresh (still wet) oil stains under the front center of the vehicle. If you park on the street or in different spaces everyday check for oil stains before and after you’ve parked there to see if you left any new ones.

 

Check the fluid about every 500 miles or every-other time you get gasoline. If it is low add the proper type of fluid until it reaches the full mark. Do not overfill. Although overfilling will probably not do damage because the transmission will push out any excess through its venting system, that excess oil could drip onto hot engine or exhaust components possibly causing a fire.

 

Transmission fluid does not evaporate, nor does it burn like motor oil might through an engine. If transmission fluid is low it has definitely leaked out somewhere. The best course of action is to bring the vehicle to your nearest MainStreet Transmissions immediately so they can perform a diagnosis and possibly save you a lot of money by catching a small problem before it becomes a major failure.

If the level is low and you can see fluid dripping under the vehicle, do not drive it any farther. Doing so could very likely cause additional damage.

 

Answers to Commonly Asked Transmission Problem Questions

 

Having a transmission problem is not the worst thing that can happen. Chances are you may only need a minor repair.

 

Even if you need a transmission rebuild, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Is the vehicle in good condition? Is the engine strong? It's not worth anything to anyone with a broken transmission. How much is it worth to you to have a reliably running vehicle? Having your transmission rebuilt can be a very good thing. It really works out well for many and people decide to do it everyday.

 

Do I need a new transmission?

 

Answer: First of all there is no such thing as a "new" transmission, except when it's first installed at the factory. We "rebuild" all transmissions on site. Rebuilding includes a complete teardown, inspection and replacement of worn, broken and/or updated parts.

 

How much do you charge to rebuild a transmission?

 

Answer: Prices can vary between type of vehicle (year/make/model/), type of transmission (automatic, manual, 3-speed, 4-speed, 5-speed, computer controlled or not) and most importantly - what part(s) caused the problem. Quoting a price or giving an "estimate" is virtually impossible without actually being able to diagnose the problem first.

 

What exactly does a preliminary Transmission diagnosis include?

 

Answer: We will check your transmission fluid level and quality, test drive the vehicle if possible and scan the computer for transmission related trouble codes.

 

What if the Transmission diagnosis doesn't tell you anything?

 

Answer: Usually we can tell what's going on with just the preliminary check depending on the make and model of the vehicle and type of problem. If it is an intermittent, hard to reproduce problem or we simply do not know without further diagnosis, you will be informed and given the option to continue at our hourly rate.

 

What if my transmission seems to be slipping or shifting erratically?

 

Answer: That does not necessarily mean your transmission needs to be rebuilt. It may be just be an inexpensive solenoid or simply just low on fluid. We actually perform less expensive external transmission repairs more often than major rebuilds. Never assume the worst until the problem is properly diagnosed.

 

What about installing a used transmission?

 

Answer: You already have a used transmission. In other words, you have the transmission removed, you take it to your local auto recycler (junk yard) for a core charge, he gives you the used transmission he's had sitting around for a few years, you have it installed and it doesn't shift. He gladly refunds your money but only after you've paid to have the used transmission installed and removed. Someone else goes to the junkyard a few days later, buys the same transmission, same story... Sometimes buying a used transmission can actually work out. Are you willing to take the risk to save a little money?

 

How often should the fluid be changed in an automatic transmission?

 

Answer: Most manufacturers recommend every 30,000 miles under "normal" conditions. Given what the fluid in an automatic transmission does we recommend every 15,000 miles, especially for severe duty applications such as towing and/or hauling. Those who do not service their transmissions may end up being customers of ours eventually.

 

What's the difference between "servicing" and "flushing" a transmission?

 

Answer: Servicing a transmission involves pulling the pan, draining anywhere from 2/3 to 3/4 of the fluid and replacing the filter. Flushing involves hooking up a machine to the cooling lines that back-flushes most of the fluid out of the transmission and torque converter without replacing the filter. While flushing isn't necessarily bad, it does not include a filter change, which is important. Don't trust the local quick lube place or tire shop to service or flush your transmission. There are simply too many variables that only an experienced transmission shop is aware of, such as specific ATF formulations for your vehicle and filling to the proper level.