This booklet is produced by the Lee Myles TRANSMISSIONS & AutoCare Professionals. Taking a few minutes to read it will better acquaint you with the services we provide and allow you to learn more about the proper care of the automatic transmission in your vehicle. For more information please visit www.leemyles.com
A TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE
Lee Myles is the most experienced name brand in the transmission repair industry. Our first Service Center opened in 1947, not long after General Motors’ Oldsmobile Plant rolled the first automatic transmission off the production line. Several years ago Popular Science Magazine referred to Lee Myles as “The Most Trusted Name In Transmissions” and the description has stuck with us ever since. Over more than a half-century our experts have passed along their cumulative experience through a system of training developed by Lee Myles. This technical expertise is your assurance that your vehicle’s transmission will be serviced, repaired, or replaced properly and economically the first time. It will also ensure that service at a Lee Myles TRANSMISSIONS & AutoCare Center will get you back on the road quickly and confidently. If you have any questions or concerns, just call Lee Myles National Customer Relations at 1-800-LEEMYLES. We are here to help you.
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 drivetrain components that may affect transmission function checked regularly. Driveshafts and their universal joints, driveaxles and their constant velocity joints, engine flywheels or flexplates, 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.
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. Lee Myles TRANSMISSIONS & AutoCare can provide service under most “Extended Warranty Plans”. They 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, Lee Myles TRANSMISSIONS & AutoCare.
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 Lee Myles TRANSMISSIONS & AutoCare Center immediately so they can perform a free CHECK 11 pROCEDURE (WHICH INCLUDES A leak check) 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. Call the nearest Lee Myles TRANSMISSIONS & AutoCare Center by dialing 1-800-LEE MYLES. They will make arrangements to have your vehicle towed in to avoid any further damage.
9) WHY CHOOSE LEE MYLES?
Experience. Lee Myles is the oldest transmission chain in the United States. It was started in 1947 to provide expert transmission diagnosis and repair to the motoring public.
Capability. Lee Myles technicians are up to date on all of the hundreds of transmission types on the road today. They have the equipment and the know-how to diagnose and repair transmission problems in the most economical way possible.
A Procedure You Can Understand. The Lee Myles Center Manager will take you through every step in the diagnostic and, if necessary, the repair procedure. He or she will make sure that you understand and are comfortable with the entire process.
Empathy And Concern. Lee Myles Center Managers are people just like you. They understand how traumatic it can be when you first discover or suspect a transmission malfunction. So they treat their customers the way they would want to be treated.
Full Disclosure. Although a transmission is perceived by many to be a “Black Box” that they will never understand, at Lee Myles we don’t think having it repaired should be a mystery. That’s why you will always receive a written estimate upon request and a repair order that will detail parts and labor required. You will be invited to inspect any and all parts to be replaced.
Accountability. Lee Myles is a franchise, a group of independently owned and operated centers that must conform to the high standards set by the franchisor. Unlike dealing with a small local transmission shop where the owner has the last word, Lee Myles maintains a full time Customer Relations Department designed to keep its customers happy. It can be reached at any time by simply dialing 1-800-LEEMYLES.
Peace Of Mind. When your transmission has been serviced or repaired at a Lee Myles Center you don’t have to give it another thought. You’ll know you’ve been treated to the highest quality service or repair and customer care standards in the transmission industry.
10) TEN STEPS TO THE LEE MYLES DIAGNOSTIC AND REPAIR PROCEDURE
You Always Feel Safer And More Comfortable When You Know What To Expect.
When You Suspect A Transmission Problem….
1. Dial 1-800-LEEMYLES. Your call will be automatically routed to the Lee Myles Transmission Center nearest you.
2. The Lee Myles Center Manager will ask a few questions to determine whether the vehicle can be driven to the center or, if it is safer, to dispatch a tow truck to have it brought in.
3. When the vehicle arrives at the center, a Free Lee Myles Check 11 Procedure will be performed to determine whether the problem is inside the transmission or is external to it, or, for that matter, if there is any problem at all.
*Note: On occasion, because of electrical or electronic problems indicated, further diagnosis will be necessary to determine the cause and possible cure for the malfunction. In such situations the Center Manager will ask for approval to go ahead with a more in depth study of the problem. This may include the use of an electronic scanning device or other equipment designed for the purpose. There may be a charge for this diagnostic service, in which case the Center Manager will explain it in detail and ask for your authorization to continue.
4. If it is determined that the problem is external of the transmission, the Center Manager will recommend an appropriate course of action to resolve the problem. It may involve a repair to another part of the vehicle that either controls or has some influence on the function of the transmission.
5. If the transmission itself is found to be at fault the Center Manager may ask for authorization to remove it from the vehicle and disassemble it to determine the cause and the extent of the damage. There may be a charge for this service. If so, this charge will become part of the cost of the repairs when you decide which corrective service best suits your needs.
6. When the transmission has been fully disassembled the Technician will present the Center Manager with a “Worn and Damaged Parts Report” along with a “Breakdown of Labor Operations” which will be used to help calculate the actual cost to repair the transmission.
7. You will be informed as to exactly what caused the transmission failure and the steps that will be taken to once again make the transmission road-worthy. Several repair options with various warranties will be offered.
8. Once you have chosen the option that best suits your requirements, the repair, reconditioning, replacement, or rebuilding of the transmission will be completed. After the transmission has been reinstalled in the vehicle it will be road tested to confirm that the process has indeed solved the problem. You will then be informed that the vehicle is ready.
9. When you come to pick up your vehicle the Center Manager will once again go over, in detail, the procedure that was performed, the itemized invoice, and a complete explanation of the warranty and how you would go about getting service under it. Only when you understand all of the details and have no further questions will the process be considered complete.
10. You will be invited to bring the vehicle in for a re-check within the next two weeks to confirm that the transmission is functioning normally and that all questions and concerns have been addressed.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Does Lee Myles have financing available?
Financing is available in most cases to qualified buyers through several lending institutions. Your Center Manager will be happy to help with the details.
Aren’t professionals like Lee Myles more expensive?
No. Lee Myles can save you money by diagnosing your problem correctly and fixing your transmission right the first time. All of our dealers offer the free Check 11 procedure to determine the extent of necessary repairs and many offer free towing to the center with a major repair. They will only sell you the repair you need to put your vehicle back in tip-top shape, nothing more and nothing less.
How long will it take to repair my transmission?
Minor repairs, services, and adjustments can many times be done immediately, while you wait. More major services involving the removal and repair of the transmission can take one or more days depending on parts availability and complexity.
What types of warranties are available on major repairs?
The standard limited warranty is 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. But there are extended warranties available depending on the level of service chosen. Your Center Manager will explain all the details.
About the Author: This booklet is produced by the Lee Myles TRANSMISSIONS & AutoCare Professionals. For more information please visit www.leemyles.com. You are welcome to reproduce this article provided you leave it as is and keep the author’s information and all links active and intact.
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