When you’re looking for a new car, there are lots of different things to take into consideration. From the size of the vehicle and its power levels right through to how much room is in the boot, finding the right car to meet your individual needs is a big task.

If you’re trying to work out whether to go for an automatic or manual transmission, we’ve got you covered. Both transmissions are complex and handle uniquely; however, there are differences between the two. In this article, we focus on automatic transmissions and repairs. Each transmission has their own set of advantages and disadvantages, some of which may sway your decision when deciding whether to opt for an automatic or manual car.

Below, we take a look at how automatic transmissions are more complex than manual ones, and why automatic gearbox repairs require more specialised skills.

Manual transmissions

So, what are the main differences between automatic and manual transmissions? Before we dive into the ins and outs of automatic transmissions, let’s take a brief look at the surface differences.

Manual transmissions give drivers more control over shifting and power. Also known as the “stick-shift”, the driver uses a stick to shift gears. Generally, learning how to drive a stick-shift takes more time than learning to drive an automatic car, but motorists who can operate a manual transmission can drive virtually any type of car, anywhere in the world.

Vehicles with manual transmissions have a third pedal which is mounted to the left of the break. This pedal, called the ‘clutch’, releases a clutch disk between the engine and transmission. Once the clutch is released, the driver must then manually switch gears using the stick-shift.

Automatic transmissions

Automatic transmissions, on the other hand, require less driver interaction and can feel easier to drive. Automatic gearboxes select the gears on their own depending on the revs of the engine; drivers don’t need to do anything except simply ‘drive’, ‘park’ or ‘reverse’. A transmission that shifts gears on its own was once considered a luxury; however, today, they’re widely available to all vehicle owners. The entire system is more complex and therefore requires specialist skills to repair.

In a nutshell, there are two types of automatic transmissions: traditional automatic and dual-clutch automatic. A traditional automatic is connected to the engine via a hydraulic torque converter, whereas a dual-clutch relies on a pair of clutches.

When you drive an automatic car, you don’t need to change gear which, of course, offers a whole host of benefits. With only two pedals, an automatic generally tends to be more comfortable to drive than a manual and it is virtually impossible to stall the engine. An automatic also generally requires less maintenance than a manual and offers greater performance and efficiency.

Why do automatic repairs require the skills of auto gearbox specialists?

Automatic cars are more expensive to purchase and repair than manual transmissions and this is because automatic transmissions are inherently more complex than manual ones. As they have more moving parts and unique computers and components, it’s not really a surprise that they’re far more complex – and therefore they’re generally more expensive to repair than manual gearboxes. They also require more replacement parts and more labour, along with more specialised skills.

Common automatic transmission repairs and problems

Your automatic transmission is a critical system in your vehicle and therefore, when things do go wrong, it’s important to get in touch with a skilled specialist. You may be surprised to find that the automatic transmission can cost more to replace than the engine and therefore it’s crucial to pay attention and ensure your gearbox is always in top working condition. Below are some common automatic transmission problems:

Car won’t respond when in gear

If you put your car into ‘drive’ or ‘reverse’ and there is a delay or the car doesn’t engage at all, there may be an issue with your fluid. It’s possible that the protective properties in the fluid have degraded and become thick. Alternatively, it may be a computer system problem. Either way, it’s best to get in touch with an automatic transmission specialist to take a look for you.

Grinding or shaking sensation when in gear

Your automatic transmission should operate smoothly and seamlessly when shifting from gear to gear. If you experience grinding, shaking or slipping sensations when changing gear, you have a problem on your hands. Your gears may be damaged and the problem will become worse over time. To ensure your car is safe to drive, seek the help of a professional transmission specialist.

Your transmission is making odd noises

If you’ve suddenly noticed strange noises coming from underneath your car, this is an indication that you’re having some transmission trouble. Whining, clunking and humming noises all indicate different issues. Clunking noises are a sign there may be an internal part in your transmission giving out. If this is the case, it’s crucial to have a qualified specialist look at it right away. Other noises may indicate issues with your transmission fluid.

You can smell burning

If you can smell a burning when driving, this is a definite cause for concern. One of the most common causes of a burning smell coming from your transmission is overheated fluid. This may be because friction is causing the parts to break down and leading to a buildup of debris and sludge. Combined, these issues can cause your transmission to break down completely.

If you smell burning, make sure you get it checked out by a professional. Sometimes the cause is simply low transmission fluid level; however, this is also an indication that you have a leak.

If your automatic gearbox is in need of repair or you need it inspected, you needn’t look further than the experienced and professional team at Automatic Transmissions. We offer a range of automatic gearbox services in Huddersfield and surrounding areas, including automatic transmission repair and rebuild.