How to assess the condition of an automatic transmission?

Buying a used car is an activity that requires maximum attention. The buyer needs to observe many nuances, ranging from checking the legal purity of the car, and ending with an assessment of its technical condition.

Of particular difficulty are the diagnostic measures of automatic transmissions. Many drivers have never used them, which means they don’t know the nuances of their work. Today we will talk about how to conduct an initial diagnosis of the state of the “machine” during the purchase of a car in the secondary market. How to correctly assess the condition of the box “machine”?

  1. Transmission oil. The first thing to pay attention to is the amount and appearance of the gear oil. To do this, you need to get the probe and inspect its surface. The level of the poured lubricant must exactly match the required indicators. If you notice that there is little gear oil, then there is a high probability that the box will operate in constant overheating mode. This will also be indicated by the presence of a burning smell and the presence of traces of soot in the lubricant. It is even worse when you see characteristic metal chips on the dipstick. Remember, any extraneous inclusions are a clear sign of problems. Ideally, the oil should be either clear or have a slight pinkish tint.
  2. Checking the automatic box on site. Further actions are related to the direct operation of the “machine”. First of all, you need to see how the car starts at idle. We start the car, set the transmission lever to the “Drive” (D) position and smoothly release the brake. If everything is normal, the machine will begin to move forward uniformly. In extreme cases, she can be helped a little by slightly pressing the accelerator. Qualitatively working automatic boxes will cope with the tasks without much difficulty. If, when starting from a standstill, the transmission works with noticeable jerks or slippage, and the car could only start moving at high speeds of the power unit, most likely it is an inoperable vehicle, and you can safely lower the price.
  3. Checking the automatic box on the go. The next stage of diagnostic measures will be the assessment of the operation of the “machine” on the go. Get out on a country road and accelerate to about 90 km / h. While maintaining a straight line, step on the gas sharply, simulating overtaking. A properly functioning box will immediately lower the gear to accelerate and only after an additional set of speed will it switch to an increased step. Such an algorithm of work will be qualitatively performed only by a fully serviceable transmission. “Automatic machines” with a high degree of wear accelerate more viscous. They don’t always downshift correctly, accelerating more monotonously, with serious “thoughtfulness”. This will indicate problems with the clutches, which are extremely expensive to replace.
  4. Evaluation of the reverse gear. Evaluation also requires the operation of the reverse gear. Many people forget about it, limiting themselves only to tests of the functioning of the box in the forward mode. So, we set the lever to the “R” position and, moving in reverse, we drive to some hill. In this case, there should be no jerks, and the movement should occur without visible effort. Having risen down the slope, we turn off the engine, keeping the selected mode of movement. When you turn off the “handbrake” and stop pressing the brake pedal, the car should stay in place without rolling down. The above methods for assessing the operation of an automatic transmission allow us to draw some conclusions about its condition, but will not answer exactly whether everything is normal with it. Such testing can cut off options for completely “killed” boxes. If the initial diagnostic procedures have been successfully completed, you will have a direct road to the service center, where specialists, using special equipment, will as accurately as possible find out the state of the “machine” of the car you like.

Summing up, let’s say that any problems with automatic transmissions turn into huge financial losses. After you purchase a car, all costs for its repair will fall solely on your shoulders. That is why it is important to find all the flaws in the transmission before buying. As soon as you have signed the necessary documents, all the risks of automatic transmission breakdown will be in your area of ​​​​responsibility only.