• Are you an Automatic Gearbox Wrecker?

    Posted on: December 9th, 2014 by admin No Comments

    In reality who will really want to wreck his or her gearbox? I guess no one, unless you plan running an expensive experiment with some bizarre targets or objectives in mind. With that said, automatic gearboxes are more sensitive than the less heavier, stick driven manual gearboxes which give more room for internal part replacements. If your automatic gearbox gets bad, there is every likelihood that you may require a total unit swap as opposed to a less expensive conventional fix. The reason behind this is the more complex design of automatic gearboxes with more internal gears which are subjected to significantly higher operating temperatures. Other reasons for this complexity is the profound use sensors and actuators which communicate with the E.C.U(electronic control unit).

    So basically to avoid and totally forestall high expenses on a gearbox swap, below are a few gearbox wreckers you should have in mind. Worth mentioning also is the fact that over here in Nigeria there are very few technicians with the competency to correctly rebuild gearboxes- which is more like trying to fix it rather than have it replaced.



    Excessive heat:

    Generation of excessive heat by this unit is one of the major culprits behind its speedy damage. There are permissible levels of heat this enclosed unit can tolerate. The common cause of the gearbox’s overheating is stunted cooling which can be induced by low transmission oil level, transmission oil contamination-either by debris from worn out gearbox components/ fibre or aged oil that might have lost some useful properties and is overdue for servicing. Other likely causes of immense heat generation are; towing vehicles with your automatic transmission car (towing trucks with automatic transmission systems are specially designed to withstand and manage resulting heat inevitably generated) and going up against a high gradient with too much engine load.

    However, extended idling can cause speedy wear of some inner gearbox components. Hence during traffic, try as much as you can not to keep your vehicle idling for an extended time frame. Also, just leaving the engine functional whilst the vehicle is idle just to facilitate the use of air-conditioners is a bad move, which affects both the engine and the gearbox.

    Low suspension/ground clearance

    Apart from ensuring the ride comfort of occupants and dynamic stability of a typical car, active suspension components help maintain substantial ground clearance in line with the manufacturer’s specifications. So if for any reason, adequate ground clearance isn’t maintained, the resulting effect amongst others is the closeness of a typical car’s gearbox to the ground(depending on the way the gearbox is mounted). This makes it prone to different kinds of impacts owing to uneven road surfaces which are very common here in Nigeria. These impacts can seriously affect the input and output shaft seals and other joints around the entire gearbox. This will eventually induce oil leakages over time and when there isn’t enough oil in the gearbox, the days of the gearbox are literally numbered.

    Wrong transmission oil

    Servicing your automatic gearbox in due time is well recommended. But it’s even more imperative to use the recommended transmission oil as stipulated by your car’s manufacturer, not just your mechanic! SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) ratings differ for a wide range of oil products, including transmission oil products. Some oil products with viscosity levels and properties close to some manufacturer-specified products for some cars might be tolerable. But the resulting negative effects play out overtime and you might just be caught off-guard.

    Bad engine

    Engines are permanently mechanically linked with gearboxes and in recent times, even electronically linked as well. So the chances of a complete malfunction of either one of these independently functioning units not affecting the other are very slim or even non-existent. The real issue is always how badly either the gearbox or engine gets as a result of either of these units stalling abruptly. So as much as you pay close attention to your gearbox, do same to your engine which equally plays a vital role, as either units not working well can indeed render your vehicle almost useless.

    Wrong driving practices

    Wrong towing- There are certain precautionary measures which must be taken before towing, and these vary according to different live-axle positioning of the vehicle to be towed. So if in very dire cases you have to tow, take precautionary measures seriously in an adaptive sense and drive as slowly as possible. Also don’t do the ridiculous by towing a vehicle whose weight is higher than your car’s weight/towing rating- its plain ridiculous.

    Not using parking brakes when needed-Like accelerating against gradient to stabilize your car or using just your brake in tight traffic situations.

    Shifting levers with vehicle in motion-Not quite an issue in more recent cars with design-incorporated restraints to ensure shifting only when the vehicle is idle or safely close to idle.

     Depressing your gas pedal too much whilst the vehicle is idling-It’s simply uncalled for. What ensues is intense wear in both engine and gearbox, especially when the vehicle is barely warmed up.


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