Let’s face it: a transmission rebuild is a big deal. Chances are it’s the largest investment you’ll ever make when it comes to car repairs. So when you get it back, you expect it to shift perfectly. Not an unreasonable expectation.
But it might not shift the way you were hoping… at least, not right away. And that may be perfectly normal. Here’s why:
Today’s automatic transmissions are fully controlled by computers. Nothing new there; we’ve been talking about that for years. What you might not realize is that those computers do more than tell the transmission when to shift: They also modify operating commands to compensate for a host of variables, such as component wear, by going through a “learning” process.
That’s why you may not notice a problem with your transmission until it completely fails; the computer has been adapting its commands to maintain a smooth, clean shift as long as possible. Those adjustments can compensate for a lot of wear inside the transmission.
That’s not all: Today’s transmission control systems also adapt to your particular driving habits. Are you a bit heavy on the gas pedal? The computer will learn that and compensate to provide the best performance and smoothest shifts.
Same thing if you’re particularly light on the gas. Or if you tend to drive on flat or hilly roads. Whatever the conditions, the computer system will learn and adapt. But that learning process takes a little time.
After a major repair, the technician resets the computer to base operating levels; with those settings the transmission works, but not at its best. From there the computer begins to learn, based on internal clearances… and your driving style. And it’ll continue learning for a few weeks or more. During that time, the transmission may not shift at its optimum level. Give it a little time; it’ll get there.
In the meanwhile, if you’re unsure of your transmission’s operation after it’s had a major repair at your nearby Cottman center, give them a call. They’ll check the transmission and the computer system to make sure it’s learning properly. Just know that your transmission computer may continue to learn for several weeks before it begins operating at its best.