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Frequently Asked Transmission Repair and Service Questions

Sun West Transmissions and Radiators Glendale, AZ 623-842-0806

Q. Why does my check engine light come on?

A. There are many reasons why your check engine light will come on. It could be as simple as a loose gas cap or a dirty air filter. The check engine light has come on when a registered trouble code has been recorded to your car's internal computer.



Q. Can I drive with a transmission leak?

A. It depends on the rate of fluid loss. A minor or slow leak will allow you to drive, as long as you maintain the level in the normal range, but it's always good practice to bring your vehicle in and get the small problem fixed before the small problem turns into a big one! A transmission will operate "normally" until the fluid loss is a quart or more, but watch out for fluid leaking on hot exhaust or the catalytic converter. Many newer vehicles, the transmission fluid can only be checked by raising the vehicle.



Q. How much will it cost me to fix a transmission?

A. Estimating the accurate cost of a transmission repair without an inspection can be difficult. The cost to fix any transmission varies depending upon the make, model, and what has to be repaired. At Sun West we are happy to road test, scan, and diagnose your vehicle.



Q. How often should I service my transmission?

A. For a complete service, manufacturers recommend different intervals. Typically, service is recommended every 30,000-50,000 miles. Check your owner's manual to find out what your vehicle manufacturer recommends, or give Greg a call and he’d be glad to help you!



Q.What does a transmission cooler do and do I need one?

A.If you tow a trailer or overload your vehicle, you may require cooler. Many options are available depending your needs.



Q.How often should you change your oil?

A.Most car manufacturers recommend getting an oil change at 7,500 or 10,000 miles depending on the car. Some models can even go 15,000 miles before the oil needs to be swapped. That’s five times longer than the 3,000 range that has come standard even on windshield reminder stickers. So if this is the case, you may be wondering where that 3,000 mile number is coming from. It actually used to be the standard, way back in the day. Now oil quality has improved, allowing it to go much further before being changed. Many service and repair centers haven’t changed that number because it allows them to keep the cars coming in.
How often should I have my transmission fluid changed?

It is recommended that you change your fluid every 30,000 to 40,000 kilometres.



Q.How do I know if I have a transmission problem?

A.The following symptoms may indicate that your vehicle's transmission requires service:

Check engine light is on
Low or leaking transmission fluid
Noise coming from the transmission
Transmission is slipping (engine speed not correlation with road speed)
Transmission failure
The vehicle does not move (does not move or in a particular direction)
Does not shift or change gears



Q.How often should I have my transmission checked?

A.For preventative maintenance it is recommended that you visit your local Sun West annually for a FREE Multi-Check Inspection.


Q.What's being done to my vehicle?

A.At Sun West we specialize in transmissions, service all automatics, standards/manuals, clutches and differentials for all vehicles including; domestic, imports, 4x4's and front wheel drive. Our list of services includes:

1. Diagnostic service - check the level and condition of your transmission fluid – scan to diagnose.

2. Road test - consists of two segments, a stationary test and driving test which together test for slipping noises, harsh, soft or erratic shifting as well as late or early shift problems.

3. Lift Inspection - to check your neutral switch, engine rpm, throttle linkage, manual linkage, modulator vacuum, modulator, transmission mounts, U-Joints, fluid retention and electronic controls.

4. Pan Examination - allows our specialists and you to look inside your transmission to determine if there is evidence of internal damage(if there is a pan).



Q.What does it cost to have my transmission checked?

A.At Sun West both the Road Test and Multi-Check Inspection are absolutely free.


Q.How long will it take to fix my vehicle?

A.That depends on what is involved in the repair. For routine check ups and minor repairs you may have your vehicle the same day. If your transmission needs to be rebuilt you may have to leave it. Most transmission repairs if caught early are minor so bring your car in for a free Road Test and Multi-Check Inspection.


Q.My car shudders when I shift and I really have to work to change gears.

A.Visit your nearest Sun West for a FREE Road Test and Multi-Check Inspection.


Q.What if there is a pink or reddish puddle under my car?

A.You may have leaking transmission fluid. It is important to contact a repair technician to determine if the vehicle should be driven or towed in for service.


Q.What's my car's transmission fluid supposed to look like?

A.It should be a bright cherry red to clear color.



Q.How can driving conditions affect my vehicle's transmission?

A.Extreme hot or cold weather and poor driving conditions may affect the life expectancy of your transmission. Vehicles that are rarely driven or driven mostly short distances are in many cases subjected to unusual wear and strain. For example, cars that are driven short distances consistently never have the opportunity for the engine to warm up to the normal heat range. This can cause excessive engine wear.



Q.What does "scanning" a transmission do?

A.This procedure involves attaching a diagnostic computer to a terminal in your vehicle. This device is used to communicate with your computer to determine if any trouble codes are present and to "read" the output from numerous electrical sensors that feed information to the computer. All of this information is useful in determining the integrity of the electrical control system for the transmission. Scanners have become very important in the diagnostic process.



Q.Should I drive in overdrive or normal drive?

A.Your transmission is controlled electronically by the onboard computer and is intended to be driven in overdrive unless conditions indicate otherwise.



Q.My older vehicle's transmission shifts into reverse OK, but has a delay going into drive when cold.

A.Our recommendation is a Sun West free Road Test and Multi-Check Inspection.



Q.What does the term "slipping" really mean?

A.Simply put it means the engine speed is not equal to the vehicle speed.



Q.I have been told by my service technician that I should have my transmission fluid flushed. What does this mean?

A.Sun West does not recommend transmission flushes since they don't allow for replacement of the transmission filter or inspection of the transmission which is vital. Bring your vehicle into a Sun West dealer for a transmission service.