Transmission overhaul

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Updated: 3/28/2003 1:53 pm
Repairing a failed transmission is an expensive and time-consuming job. It requires the removal of one of the heaviest and largest of your car's mechanical parts by separating it from the engine. It also requires the replacement of many very intricate, small precision parts--the parts that keep your engine shifting smoothly from one gear to the next. Although overhauling an automatic transmission is not a project for the weekend mechanic, most car owners can give the transmission a longer life by taking a few simple steps. For example, regularly check the fluid level. If necessary, drain and replace the transmission fluid. Old or damaged fluid is brown or smells burnt. Also replace the transmission filter or screen. Check your owner's manual for recommended replacement guidelines. If you're stuck in snow or mud, don't try to rock the car loose by spinning the wheels forward, then backward again and again. Although this may get you out, the damage due to overheating the transmission will already have been done. A tow truck is a much cheaper alternative in the long run. Also be sure your car can handle the load before towing other vehicles or trailers. See your owner's manual for specific service requirements.

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