When an automatic transmission starts to show symptoms of malfunctioning, an automotive technician or local mechanic can diagnose the problem. In some cases, a relatively inexpensive auto repair job will do the trick. In other instances, the transmission is on its last legs, so to speak. You may have trouble deciding whether to keep the car and have the transmission rebuilt or whether to junk the vehicle. Regardless of your financial situation, this is a tough decision.
Formulating a Plan
A failing transmission often can function for hundreds of miles. Although not recommended, you might decide to continue driving this car until it no longer works and then make the big decision about transmission repair or vehicle replacement. In the meantime, formulating a plan for dealing with a breakdown is essential, because the equipment could stop working altogether at any time. That means having a plan for getting the vehicle towed and finding a ride home.
To continue coaxing along a car with a failing transmission, you must be gentle with this major component. One effective strategy is to only drive on relatively flat surfaces. When traveling up steep inclines, the equipment must abruptly downshift. That can be difficult for a faulty transmission to manage.
Whenever possible, refrain from accelerating rapidly and slamming on the brakes to stop. Instead, increase speed gradually and slow to a stop. Usually, drivers only have to accelerate quickly when entering a busy highway. Driving on busy highways is inadvisable at this point since the car is always at risk of breaking down.
Be Aware of your Driving Conditions
If the transmission often lags when attempting to move forward from a stopped position, you are likely to hear some horn-honking from cars behind you. The problem will be worse when heading uphill. This is another reason to avoid hills, and it's also a reason to avoid driving in congested traffic.
If the reverse gear is the main problem, don't park anywhere that requires backing up to get out. This tends to be fairly easy, but it requires remembering not to pull into a parking space without the ability to leave the space by moving forward.
Making the decision about whether to schedule an auto repair or get rid of the vehicle is a big one. Buying a different car will cost significantly more than having the transmission rebuilt unless the choice is a relatively old one with high mileage. If you bought this car new and have taken very good care of it, scheduling a major repair can be a reasonable choice. That's especially true if the body is in excellent condition and you really like this car. Contact a repair shop for an estimate when you are ready. We NEVER recommend driving with a faulty transmission however, if you must do so for a short period of time, these are some basic tips.