Transmission Diagnostics in Sioux Falls, SD

Big Transmission Problem or Minor Repair? It takes an EXPERT to Know!

Vehicle Diagnostics  

The single most important procedure in determining what is wrong with your automobile is diagnostics. Today’s vehicles are extremely hi tech, computer operated, driver adaptive and electronically dependent. Often time what seems or feels like a major transmission problem can be attributed to an electrical component and not necessarily a major problem.

A DTC (Diagnostic trouble code) or general code scan can be done by literally any non-skilled technician. It is not a complicated procedure and most auto parts store have hand held scanners that can read trouble codes and present possibilities and suggestions to correct the problem, but it is not an exact blueprint to repair the vehicle. Just a read out of what the computer in seeing as a problem. There are even adapters and apps that you can buy to plug directly into your vehicles on board diagnostic port and scan with your smart phone and even access a database of possibilities, but in reality, these are high priced gadgets that bring huge profit to the developer but do not really diagnose a vehicle. DTC’s can be component specific or system specific. Most codes require a diagnostic flow chart to get to the bottom of an issue or advanced testing of electrical components and systems that control various aspects of your vehicles performance.

Transmission Diagnostics

Transmission are the biggest mis-diagnosed component in your vehicle. Primarily because the automatic transmissions of today relay heavily on data input from the vehicle’s engine components such as throttle position sensors, coolant temp, mass air flow and many more. In attempts to maximize a vehicles gas mileage potential and deliver a smoother ride, all of these components are mandatory and work in conjunction with each other.

At Jim’s National Automatic Transmission repair in Sioux Falls South Dakota we perform a “No Wrench Evaluation”. This evaluation will help us determine what exactly is causing a problem After we compile a list of concerns and description of the problem, we will decode the vehicle identification number, confirm transmission type and check our data base for common issues with the vehicle. Next, we will check the level and condition of the fluid providing the vehicle has a dipstick. Then we will hook our advanced diagnostic full-service electronic scan tool to the vehicles on board diagnostic port (OBDII) and check for trouble codes. Finally, a road test will be performed to verify the condition.

Most of the time we are able to make a recommendation based on our no wrench evaluation. Other times advanced diagnostic time will have to be charged in order to track down a potential electrical or wiring issue. This will require reading live data and sometimes multiple technicians to identify and properly diagnose the automatic transmission and make proper repair recommendations.

When we begin the diagnostic procedure, we will come to what boils down to two different possibilities. One, the problem is external to the transmission and can be repaired without removal or dis assembly or two, the problem is internal between the pump and tail shaft and will require remover, tear down and re-assembly which will constitute a re-build transmission repair.

Examples of External repairs are:

Speed sensors, wiring harness, TCM / PCM valve body, solenoid blocks, various individual solenoids, rodent damage to various clips and/or engine related components or issues.

The diagnostic being properly performed by a qualified technician is the single most important part of the procedure. Many times technicians not specialized in transmission repair will condemn a transmission, because they simply read codes or do not know how to interpret live data. For hypothetical example, A transmission speed sensor has a damaged wire leading to plug and sets a transmission speed sensor code. An unqualified technician replaces that speed sensor based on code. Drives it, and same code sets again. He recommends a replacement transmission. This will fix the problem as the wire is part of the transmission however, it could have been repaired with an electrical kit. Now, this is an example of common mis diagnosis i have seen and only a small example of how diagnosis can be mis interpreted. A 300.00 Minor repair vs a 3,000.00 Transmission repair.

Over 70% of the vehicles we look at do not require a major repair. Good diagnostic work leads to more options and less money out of the consumers pocket. When shopping for a transmission be sure and ask questions and verify that a transmission specialist is on staff and will be able to properly diagnose your vehicle.

Better yet call Jims National Automatic Transmission Repair at 605-336-0332