Most motorists are aware of the fact that cold weather can be hard on a vehicle. However, many are under the assumption that cold weather affects mainly the engine.
In fact, low temperatures can also have a negative impact on the operation of a vehicle's transmission. The following are four potential wintertime transmission problems to look out for and avoid in the coming months:
The thickening of transmission fluid
Cold weather can make transmission fluid get thicker so that it flows through the radiator, cooling circuit and flow directional valve more slowly.
This makes it so that the transmission is more likely to both overheat after being in use for an extended period of time and respond slowly initially when the vehicle is still cold.
Transmission fluid functions to lubricate parts, so using your vehicle when the transmission fluid is abnormally thick can lead to premature wear due to inadequate lubrication.
The shrinking of transmission components
Cold weather causes materials to contract. If components of your transmission contract due to cold weather, it can make it more difficult for your vehicle to shift between gears.
The contraction of components can cause premature wear. It can also cause tight tolerances to become loose and seals to shrink. These factors can make the leaking of fluids in your transmission more likely.
Delays in computer-controlled functions
If your transmission is hooked up to a computer overdrive control, you should be aware of the fact that this control may respond more slowly in cold weather. In some vehicles, it might even be impossible to shift to overdrive if your vehicle is operating at or below a certain temperature.
An inability to operate in overdrive can detract from your vehicle's fuel efficiency while also increasing wear on transmission system components.
The presence of frozen water in the transmission
In the wintertime, water in your transmission can freeze and damage the valve body. Sometimes, cracks caused in the transmission by frozen water can be so harmful that they require a completely new transmission. It's not easy to avoid the hazards of water in your transmission during the winter months, but you might prevent permanent damage with a bit of vigilance.
If you have to drive through deep puddles or high snow cover during the winter time, you might want to bring your car in for service immediately afterwards. A mechanic can check your transmission for built-up water and drain the transmission if necessary before frozen water causes damage. For more information, contact a company like Northgate Transmission LLC.