January days and nights in the Phoenix area can get rather chilly, and like most of us struggle to move as well in the brisk chilly air, so may parts of your vehicle. Does the colder weather have any effect on one of your vehicle’s most critical components, your transmission? If so, how is your transmission impacted by the cold? Let’s review.
What is Your Vehicle’s Transmission?
Before we can review how your transmission is impacted by the cold, we wanted to provide a quick refresher as to what your vehicle’s transmission is and why it is key to your car, truck, or SUV.
As mentioned above, a car’s transmission is one of the most critical components of a vehicle. It’s what moves the power from the engine to the wheels, which in turn, rotates the wheels. To keep it simple, your transmission is what makes your wheels move and enables the gear ratio between the drive wheels and engine to adjust as the car slows down and speeds up.
There are different types of car transmissions: automatic and manual. The exact way your transmission works is based on the on the type of transmission. We aren’t trying to make you an expert on transmissions today, we just wanted to give a general idea of how important they are to your vehicle’s operations, and why, if they are impacted by the cold, you could face issues.
How is Your Transmission Impacted by the Cold?
Let’s start with the first question: Is your transmission effected by cold weather? The answer is rather straightforward; yes. Cold weather can take a toll on many different components of your vehicle, including the transmission. Some transmission issues are unique to colder weather, while others get worse than they normally would any other time of the year when the temperatures drop.
Your transmission can be impacted by the cold in several different ways. Below we review a few of the most common.
Transmission fluid may thicken. While we rarely drop below freezing in our area during this time of the year, there are times that it may happen, and when it does, it can cause your transmission fluid to thicken. Your transmission relies on transmission fluid to lubricate the moving parts inside your transmission. Thick transmission fluid cannot protect the vehicle parts, so it’s recommended to let your engine warm up to heat and thin out the fluid a bit before hitting the road.
Loosening of components due to contraction. When things get cold, they contract (get smaller), and the same is true with the transmission components. This can lead to the loosening of components, leaks developing, and parts wearing faster.
Shifting becomes more difficult. When the temperatures decrease, the chance of you having shifting issues increase. Vehicles should effortlessly shift from one gear to the next, almost without the driver noticing. A vehicle should shift gears quietly and unnoticeably, but in the winter, you may notice more resistance or delays when shifting. These “hard shifts” create increased pressure on numerous parts, increasing the risk of failure at a later point.
You may experience delayed overdrive. Delayed overdrive refers to a delay in the response of your vehicle when moving from gear to gear. When your vehicle delays the use of overdrive, the driver’s comfort and experience is reduced and it places excessive strain and pressure on the transmission’s gears, which could lead to future issues. By allowing your engine to warm up, you should be able to avoid delayed overdrive and the problems that come with it.
While we may not be able to escape the cold, there are things you can do to control how your transmission is impacted by the cold. When the weather outside is chilly, warm up your vehicle before driving it, drive slowly until your car, truck, or SUV is fully warmed up, try not to sit with your engine idling (it stops the flow of transmission fluid), and park in a garage or some type of shelter to keep your vehicle from getting as cold as it would outdoors.
Advanced Transmissions & Emissions specializes in transmission repair, rebuilding, and remanufacturing, and all of your other automotive repair needs from clutches, air conditioning, steering, suspension, and more. We are a Phoenix full-service auto mechanic repair shop.
Advanced Transmissions & Emissions aims to make transmission repair services more accessible and cheaper for our customers. Transmissions are expensive and vital components in any vehicle. A failing transmission is never a good thing. We have years of experience repairing transmissions at cheaper rates than you will find elsewhere. Transmissions are complicated, but we understand them. Our expertise allows us to locate the source of the problem to make only the needed repairs. That’s how we save our customers so much money. Visit our Phoenix, AZ shop for transmission repair.