Signs Your Car is About to Die

Hello, my name is Roy. For many years, I drove a 1976 Ford estate car around Sydney. The car had belonged to my grandpa. It was passed down to me when I had just passed my driving test at the age of 18. That was in 1986 and the car was already in a pretty bad condition then. Fast forward to 2006 and I was now aged 38 and still driving the same car around. Sometimes the car wouldn't start, white smoke came out of the exhaust and the gearbox made a terrible sound. I did my best to patch it up, but eventually, I had to scrap the car and buy a new one. I decided to start a blog to encourage others to service their cars.

Why Attention to This Process Can Save You Maintenance Money in the Long-Term


Many thousands of parts go into the make-up of a typical car. They're all precisely engineered and supposed to work together in harmony, to help you get from point a to point b. However, manufacturers do not make these parts so that they can last for an interminable amount of time. It's fair to say that they make quite a lot of money from aftermarket parts, so a certain amount of redundancy is built in. However, you can slow down the process if you pay attention to good maintenance. In particular, you can focus on your car's transmission, as this is one of the most vulnerable areas.

Crucial Components

Inside your vehicle's transmission is a very complicated array of components, all trying to change energy into motion. The pieces inside are well made and designed for the job, but they rely on transmission fluid for the process and to alleviate wear and tear.

Focus on the Fluid

This transmission fluid should be the holy grail as far as you're concerned, when looking after your transmission. You must ensure that you check not only its level, but also its condition on a very regular basis. Most owners do not do this.

Have a look in the owner's manual if you're not sure where the dipstick is, but it's usually in a fairly accessible place. If you don't have an owner's manual to hand, you should be able to find the information by doing a regular search online.

What to Look for

Just as you check the oil in your engine, ensure that the level of the transmission fluid reaches the designated position on the dipstick, but have a look at its colour at the same time. Transmission fluid is a very bright orange colour when it is new, but don't expect to see that colour after it's been in your system. You should be looking for something that is a darker red to lighter brown, however. This means that all is generally okay. However, if you notice a much darker colour, trending towards dark brown or even worse, pay attention. If you also notice a slight burning smell when you pull the dipstick out, it's definitely time to take action.

What to Do

You need to have a word with your mechanic, to schedule a visit for an oil change. If you also happen to notice some unusual noises when you change gear (such as grinding or whining), then this could indicate that some damage has already been done internally.

Look to the Future

Hopefully, you will commit to checking up on your transmission fluid regularly, so that you don't come across any of these significant issues. Always make sure that you do get the fluid changed at the recommended intervals, however, to help you with your vehicle's long-term health.

For more information, talk to a professional like Precision Automatic Transmissions.


10 February 2017