Did You Ever Wonder How A Transmission Works

How A Transmission WorksAt Key Transmission and Gears, our business is transmissions. But you might be wondering what does a transmission do, anyway? You may not want to become a car engine expert, and that’s okay, but it is a good idea to have a little bit of an idea of how things work in your own vehicle. That way you are more likely to notice when something is not quite right and know when to take it to a professional before a small problem gets out of hand and becomes a massive repair.

The transmission has a vital function in your car’s engine. So, when your transmission stops working, your car stops moving – period. All the parts of the engine cooperate to create a great force, but that force is variable and uncontrolled. If the engine were connected directly to the wheels, the wheels would not turn at a constant speed and your ride would get a little crazy.

Also, the power produced by the engine is too high for the wheels. An engine generally produces a rotational speed of 600-7000 RPM while wheels typically operate somewhere between 0-1800 RPM. That’s a pretty big difference, and obviously, your wheels simply cannot keep up with the engine in that way. Notice that the engine speed doesn’t go down to zero? That means you wouldn’t be able to ever stop fully. Not a good thing.

The transmission is the magical device that brings that speed down and regulates it appropriately. Well, maybe it’s more scientific than magical, but you get the idea. In order to perform this function, the transmission uses a series of gear ratios and components like the differential.

Gears are little wheels of varying sizes with grooves, or teeth, around the edges. The ratio comes into play when these gears are fitted together. Imagine a wheel with 40 teeth around the edge, now imagine a smaller one with only 20 teeth. Now fit these two together and imagine that the smaller one is connected to the drive shaft. It will rotate twice for every one rotation of the big wheel. See what happened there? The speed gets cut in half.

In this case, the ratio would be written as 0.5:1. This depicts how many times the output gear rotates in relation to the input gear.

Now, inside the transmission, there are quite a few different little wheels with different gear ratios. Depending on the speed that the vehicle is traveling, different ratios are required. If you’ve ever driven a manual, you’ll understand this a little better as you have to shift the gears yourself. With an automatic transmission, your vehicle still makes those shifts – you’re just less likely to notice.

That’s about it! The answer to what does a transmission do, anyway, turns out, isn’t that complicated. Although if you were to peek inside your transmission, it looks quite complex. That’s why trusted professionals like our staff at Key Transmission and Gears are so essential for the proper maintenance and repair of your vehicle’s transmission. Give us a call today and we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have and offer our expert advice.

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How to Diagnose a Problem with Your Vehicle’s Clutch

How to Detect a Problem With Your Car’s ClutchHere at Key Transmission and Gears in Sheridan, Colorado we want you to be safe out on the road. So, we’ve written up a handy guide on how to detect a problem with your vehicle’s clutch. It’s an important aspect of road safety and something that every driver who owns a manual car should know about. By being able to identify issues early, you’ll know what to do and when to ask a professional for help.

It’s hard to predict when your clutch is going to fail. It quite literally depends on the environment in which the car is usually driven and the driving style of the primary driver. If the driver rides the clutch a lot, you can bet that the clutch will wear out much faster.

To put things into perspective, a clutch can last anywhere from 20,000 miles to 150,000 miles. That’s quite a big range! Needless to say, how to detect a problem with your vehicle’s clutch isn’t as simple as keeping an eye on your mileage. Here are a few things to be on the lookout for, indications that it’s time to replace your clutch–or at least have a professional take a look.

Spongy Feeling

If your clutch starts to get a “spongy” feel, this is an early sign of clutch failure. Pay close attention to when the gears catch. If you must let out the clutch almost entirely before the gear kicks in, your clutch is pretty worn out.

Burning Smell

If you start to notice a burning smell when you use the clutch, that’s another indication that failure is imminent. The clutch is beginning to slip, which causes excess friction, which causes the smell.

Difficulty Shifting

If the gears are not engaging smoothly and the car is shaking a lot when changing gears, there’s a problem with your vehicle’s clutch. This warning sign is most apparent in first gear and reverse.

Visibly Damaged Clutch

If you know a little about cars, pull off the inspection cover and take a look at your clutch. Any visible signs of wear and damage mean that it’s going bad. However, if you see fine black dust, this is normal and not an indication that your clutch is going out.

When in Doubt, Test It Out

If you’re still not sure how to detect a problem with your car’s clutch, try this quick road test. Rev the engine high in first gear and then go directly to fifth gear. If the gear doesn’t catch, as in the vehicle keeps whining and revving high, the clutch is going out. However, if the gear catches and the car begins to shake from being in the wrong gear and tries to pick up speed, then your clutch is still okay.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns on how to detect a problem with your vehicle’s clutch, or just want the peace of mind of having a professional examine it, give us a call. Here at Key Transmission and Gears in Sheridan, our staff is always happy to help out our customers in any way that we can.

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Need Transmission Service? Here’s How To Find Reliable Help

transmission serviceWhen it comes to the most expensive car repairs, the transmission comes in number three on the list with an average repair cost of $4,000 to $5,000. It’s only behind hybrid batteries (approximately $6,000) and cylinders (up to $10,000).

The best way to prevent the need for any car repairs is to seek regular maintenance. Unfortunately, even though maintenance can help, at some point, all car parts are going to fail. After all, they aren’t designed to last forever.

If you want to minimize what you have to pay for transmission service or replacement, you need to find out when service is needed, and how to find the right service provider. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know.

Signs You Need Transmission Service

Before diving into how to find the right service provider for transmission service, you need to know when it is necessary. Some of the signs it is time for this service can be found here.


If you have an automatic transmission, one of the most common signs of a problem is slipping. This feels as though you are driving in a certain gear, and then it changes for no obvious reason.

When this happens, you may notice a noise coming from the engine that has a whining sound. You may also notice your car is struggling like it is underpowered or isn’t accelerating properly.

Rough Shifts

Another sign you need transmission service is if your vehicle feels reluctant to change gears, or if the shifts aren’t smooth. You may also hear or feel a “thud” or “clunk” when shifting gears. The vehicle may also have trouble getting up to the desired speed.

Delayed Engagement

This occurs when there is a delay before the vehicle engages into drive and begins to move forward. When shifting out of park and into drive, there may be an extended pause. During this pause, the vehicle may rev the engine as you give it gas, but it doesn’t move forward.

Fluid Leaks

A transmission system is usually a sealed unit. This means they should never leak fluid.

If you have started to notice leak spots on your garage floor or in your driveway, use cardboard laid beneath the vehicle to figure out where the leak is coming from. If the transmission is leaking, you are going to see bright red or brown fluid.

The Transmission Warning Light

A single warning light, such as the “check engine” light, doesn’t always mean a transmission issue. However, if you notice any of the symptoms above, along with a warning light, you should seek the help of a mechanic.

Tips for Finding the Right Mechanic

Now that you know that you need transmission service, the next step is to find the right mechanic for the job. Some tips to help you with this important decision can be found here.

Ask People You Know

It’s a good idea to begin the search for a reliable mechanic by asking people you know. They can give you information and insight about service providers they have used in the past.

Getting recommendations is a great way to start your search, but it’s usually not a good idea to make your decision based on this alone.

Find a Shop with Certified Mechanics

When it comes to mechanics, there are several different certifications they can obtain. If you need transmission service, it’s a good idea to try and find a mechanic who specializes in this particular part of the vehicle.

While there is no legal requirement for a mechanic to be certified, it’s a good indication they have the skills and ability to handle the issue at hand. At the very least, try to find a mechanic who is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

Request an Estimate

It’s not a bad idea for you to request a written estimate from a mechanic before hiring them. In fact, it may be beneficial to get three to four estimates for the work that needs to be done.

Any experienced repair shop will be able to diagnose the issue quickly, and then let you know the cost for the needed repairs.

It’s a good idea to request that your estimates are provided in writing. This can help minimize the possibility of surprises when you receive the final bill.

Go to a Vocational School

As mentioned before, transmission service and repair is one of the most expensive issues your vehicle can have. As a result, you may be able to find a way to minimize your costs by taking your car to a local vocational school.

Here, students are usually working under a certified teacher’s supervision and can do the needed repairs. In most cases, this will cost a fraction of what you would pay a professional mechanic.

While this is a more affordable option, repairs can take a lot longer, so keep this in mind. If you only have one car, you’ll likely need to rent another vehicle which could wipe out the potential cost-savings.

Plus, they may or may not offer any guarantees on workmanship, so research the school first.

Finding the Right Transmission Service Provider Isn’t as Hard as You May Think

If you need transmission service, don’t put off getting it. The problem you are having is only going to get worse. Also, the longer you wait, the more likely that replacement, rather than repair, will be necessary.

If you need more information about transmission repair, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our certified technicians can handle all types of repairs for your vehicle and get you back on the road fast. Let us diagnose your vehicle’s issue, provide the needed repair, and provide you with the peace of mind your vehicle is ready to go.

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Does Your Automatic Transmission Need A Flush

You don’t need to be a professional like the Key Transmission and Gears team, but having a handle on tips like these 5 signs you need a transmission flush will come in handy for keeping your car running optimally and knowing when something isn’t quite right. Most importantly, you’ll know a bit more about how your vehicle works and when an issue needs help from our experts.

On average, you can expect that you should have a transmission flush performed around every 30,000 miles. For the average vehicle, that should be about 2 years. On occasion, however, things don’t go quite so perfectly and knowing the warning signs can help prevent a bigger issue from developing.

  1. Transmission begins to grind or make other strange noises

This usually happens because the transmission fluid is low or filled with grime or other sludge. If you notice odd sounds emanating from your transmission, you can check your transmission fluid with the vehicle running. Clean fluid will be bright red whereas dirty fluid will be brown or even black. If the level is good, that’s an indication that it needs a flush.

  1. Difficulty shifting gears

This applies whether your vehicle is manual or automatic. In an automatic, you may notice sluggish gear change performance, while in a manual it may become tough even to change gears. This is usually due to too much sludge, or grime, built up in the transmission fluid and is blocking proper flow.

  1. Gears are slipping

Another sign that your transmission fluid is too dirty and is not properly flowing is losing hydraulic power. Again, this can also be caused by too little fluid, but a simple check will tell you whether you have adequate fluid. If your level is right, you probably need a flush.

  1. Vehicle surging ahead

That inconsistent flow of dirty transmission fluid can also cause your car to surge ahead or fall back for unexplained reasons. If your car starts behaving erratically, the transmission fluid is a likely culprit.

  1. Sluggish vehicle response

The final sign that you may need a transmission flush is if your car is slow to respond when switching gears. It might even stall a little for a couple of seconds before catching and beginning to move after having switched gears.

Of course, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, you don’t have to be an expert on cars to be a good driver. However, if you do notice one of these 5 signs you need a transmission flush it would be a great idea to turn it over to the professionals here at Key Transmission and Gears to find the problem and get it taken care of quickly and efficiently. Our 20 years of experience working in the Denver metro area has given us a wealth of knowledge when it comes to common vehicle problems, and we can get your vehicle up and running, back on the road in no time. Call or contact us today for an appointment.