• 76698 Ubstadt-Weiher, Großer Sand 16
  • Tel.: +497251 / 61820
  • E-Mail: info@fzth.de

Automatic transmissions

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Kerstin Ostermann

+497251 / 618 21-24

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Edi Hetzel

+497251 / 618 20

My transmission is defect

What do I do now?

Is my transmission now completely broken? Do I have to get a new automatic transmission installed?
Questions like these are asked by many. We have the right answers for you!

Gerät zur Fehlerdiagnose bei Automatikgetrieben

Indicators

There are different, typical signs of damages to the transmission.

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Extent of damage

A replacement transmission is not always required straightaway

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Reparatur eines Schaltschiebers Automatikgetriebe

Error Causes

The elimination of the cause is just as important as the repair of damage

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Troubleshooting

Alternatives - differences in performance - General overhaul vs. Repair

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Detect problems - find the error causes faster

What kind of difficulties does your vehicle have?

  • Vibrations when starting up
  • Car starts up with a delay at high rotational speed
  • Gears slip or are suddenly missing completely
  • Shifting problems or hard shifting
  • Transmission makes unusual noises
  • The car no longer has the proper "pull"
  • Drive fails abruptly
  • Your vehicle does not move at all
The question of questions

How much damage has been caused?

It depends very much on what kind of problems the automatic transmission causes. In general: As soon as problems are noticeable you should act immediately.

A replacement transmission is not always required straightaway as some transmission problems can also be solved in an uncomplicated way.

If you notice for example that despite high engine power it is no longer possible to drive at high speeds and the engine rotational speed is very high it may simply be due to the wrong level of transmission oil.

If individual gears can no longer be used or the reverse gear no longer works the couplings in the transmission are often defective.

A defective torque converter is noticeable by the fact that the vehicle has neither forward nor reverse power.

The error lies in the details

Possible error causes

Defective switching or pressure control valves, speed, pressure or temperature sensors, as well as defective valve bodies or a lack of oil can be a possible cause of errors.

Important: Damage elimination is by no means automatically also the elimination of the cause, i.e. if the cause of the damage is not also eliminated the same damage can occur again within a short time.

With newer electronically controlled transmissions an external error ( e.g. a defective throttle body sensor, control computer, air flow meter or wiring harness) can also be the actual cause of transmission damage.

In the same way, there may also be control and actuation problems which should ideally can be read out with appropriate diagnostic devices.

If the transmission oil is not black, does not smell burnt and there are no splinters in the transmission oil, there is a realistic chance that the transmission is not damaged or not badly damaged. In such a case a cheap repair might be possible.

What options do I have now?

The appropriate solution for your problem

Oil change / flushing

In case of insignificant problems like shifting quality, vibrations, etc. with a maximum mileage of approx. 150.000-250.000km the problem can often be solved. If and in which way this is possible depends on the type of transmission, age and load of the vehicle as well as the drivers driving style.

Further information can be found here.

Targeted repair

If the extent of damages can be precisely defined through diagnosis, a targeted repair can sometimes be carried out. It may also not be necessary to remove the transmission for this purpose.

General overhaul

In case of massive damage affecting the entire transmission or in case of certain types of damage, a general overhaul cannot be avoided. For example, if chips are already present in the entire transmission.

A transmission, nearly as good as new

A complete overhaul

During a complete overhaul, the automatic transmission is entirely deconstructed and thoroughly cleaned. During a complete overhaul, the automatic transmission is entirely deconstructed and thoroughly cleaned. The highest level of cleanliness is necessary when a transmission is overhauled. All wearing parts are replaced, regardless of whether these parts are still functional or not.

What is exchanged by default?

  • All paper seals, rubber rings, sealing lips
  • All teflon and / or steel sealing rings
  • All shaft seals
  • All clutch friction plates (inner plates)
  • All clutch steel plates (outer plates)
  • Transmission oil filter
  • Torque converter
  • Valve body (testing/repair)
  • Brake bands (if existing)
  • transmission type specific vulnerable parts
  • All other defective parts

The range also depends on the transmission technology. Here we distinguish between the classic automatic transmission, the continuously variable transmission (CVT) and the dual clutch transmission (DCT).

For the small damages

A repair

If the extent of the damage can be precisely defined in the diagnosis, a targeted repair can sometimes be made. In case of minor gear damage or if the damage can be clearly limited, we also carry out specific repairs. Repairs are done at actual workload on the basis of a cost estimation.

Repair only makes sense at all for transmissions that do not show a high degree of contamination. In such cases wearing parts can be reused for price reasons.

What is included in the

Complete overhaul

  • Replacement of all wearing parts (whether broken or not)
  • Replacement of the torque converter
  • Functional test and reconditioning of the valve body
  • Disassembly and cleaning of the complete transmission followed by error diagnosis
  • Fixed-price offer
  • 1 year warranty not limited by KM *

*Commercially used vehicles: 6 months instead of 1 year.

What is included in the

Repair

  • Replacement of obviously defective parts **
  • Reuse torque converter (if possible)
  • Functional test and reconditioning of the valve body only as necessary
  • Disassembling and cleaning of the affected transmission components and error diagnosis only as necessary
  • Cost estimation according to time & spare parts expenditure
  • 1 year warranty without KM limitation on replaced parts & performed work*

**only possible if the degree of oil contamination is not too high

Differences in pricing between the offers

How is the price calculated?

There is no generally applicable standard for the repair of an automatic transmission and therefore completely different services are provided, which are very difficult to compare.

There are some questions you can ask to compare the different services.

  • Have you been satisfied with the information you received before placing your order?
  • Will the transmission be repaired or overhauled?
  • Will the transmission be completely cleaned inside and out?
  • Will the transmission be equipped with an overhauled torque converter?
  • Does the price include mechatronics?
  • Are planetary sets and other internal gear parts included in the price of the overhaul?
  • Will the transmission be tested on a dynamometer, filled with oil?
  • Do you have a warranty on the delivered or offered transmission?
  • Is there a mileage limit?
  • Does the warranty cover only replaced parts or the entire transmission?
  • For which of the mentioned services do you have to pay additional charges?
  • Is there an offer for pick-up and delivery service included?
Many questions are asked frequently

Here you will find answers

You should act immediately as soon as you notice problems with the automatic transmission. At first signs, it is often possible to repair minor damages to the transmission before serious defects occur.


For technically skilled vehicle owners it is recommended to check the transmission oil first. To do this, pull out the transmission oil dipstick and check the transmission oil. The oil level is checked via the overflow pipe - at max. 35° - 40° C - please take note of the manufacturer's instructions. Furthermore, it would make sense to remove the oil pan and check both the oil pan and the filter screen for contamination.

If the transmission oil is not burned yet, i.e. red (or yellow in some transmissions) and there are no splinters in the transmission oil, there is a realistic chance that the transmission is not or not significantly damaged.

In this case, it would make sense to make an appointment with us to check whether it might be a control or actuation problem.


In mechanical-hydraulic transmissions this can be caused by a defective vacuum actuator, a defective kickdown cable, a suspended centrifugal governor, a defective valve body case or a lack of transmission oil.

With newer, electronically controlled transmissions an external fault (e.g. a faulty throttle position sensor, control computer, air mass meter or wiring harness) can also be responsible.

Faulty shift or pressure control valves, the speed - pressure - or temperature sensor, as well as valve body cases or a lack of oil can be possible causes of errors. If your vehicle has neither forward nor reverse power it is quite common to assume that the torque converter is defective.

If the transmission oil turned dark brown or black or if the transmission oil smells burnt, then the automatic transmission must be removed in any case.
IIf this is not the case, then you should remove the oil pan and check it for metallic abrasion. If there is strong metallic abrasion or even larger splinters in the oil pan and on the magnet, the mechanical defect is too strong to be repaired in the installed condition. In case of heavy dirt and/or splintering, a general overhaul is absolutely necessary to remove all dirt particles from the transmission.