Could the Clutch System on Your Automatic Transmission Be on Its Way out?

You may have bought a car fitted with an automatic transmission because you are fed up with changing gears manually and want an easier time behind the wheel. If you have done so, you may imagine that your days of dealing with a clutch are over, but this is not necessarily the case. After all, automatic transmissions also have a clutch mechanism, and as such, they can sometimes fail. So what issues could you expect with your clutch in this situation, and what should you do if you suspect a problem?

When Things Go Wrong

It is certainly the case that the clutch system on an automatic transmission is more complex than a manual version, and issues can arise. For example, you may notice that the system seems to be slipping in and out of gear. It may "kick down" for no apparent reason, or you may lose drive momentarily while coasting.

Sometimes, you may put your foot on the throttle pedal without any associated result. For example, the engine's revolutions may rise, but you may not see any forward motion. In this case, the clutch is not engaging and unable to select the appropriate gear. If you cannot get any drive, it means that the clutch has failed completely, but if you start moving momentarily, the clutch is worn.

What Is a Clutch Pack?

Unlike a manual car or truck, where there is only one clutch plate, an automatic transmission may have a set of clutches known as a "pack." These operate under hydraulic pressure, and the individual clutch is responsible for selecting the correct gear. The clutch plates themselves are quite hardy, but the bearings, seals and bushings that form part of the clutch pack are less so. In addition, they can all wear out as a result of excessive friction, which can accumulate over time.

Could This Failure Happen Quickly?

Unfortunately, the clutch packs in your automatic transmission can quickly fail once they start to develop any problems. After all, each time your clutch slips, it will generate heat, which can certainly accelerate the downward spiral.

While you can expect your automatic system to last a long time, certain factors can shorten its lifespan. These may include the wear and tear associated with stop-and-go traffic, should you use a vehicle primarily for a commute. In addition, if you also tow a heavy weight frequently, this can generate heat and increased wear.

What You Should Do Next

If you suspect problems with the automatic transmission, you may need to get the clutch pack repaired. This is a very involved job, and you should hand it over to an experienced mechanic for their attention. For more information on auto transmission repair, contact a professional near you.