It should go without saying that the transmission system is one of your vehicle's most important parts, and yet many drivers still don't know how to keep theirs in good running order. That's a shame since transmission repairs can be both expensive and time-consuming.
One part of your automatic transmission system that can fail over time is the oil pump. It works throughout every drive to provide the lubrication and cooling action your transmission requires for proper performance. In most cases, the transmission oil pump will last as long as the transmission system itself, but there are a few things that can cause it to fail sooner than expected.
Here are just four common causes of failure.
1. Low Transmission Fluid Levels
One of the most common causes of transmission oil pump failure is a lack of transmission fluid. After all, this part is designed to pump a certain amount of that fluid around the transmission system. If there isn't enough fluid available, the pump itself won't be working correctly and can eventually start to overheat. Whether low transmission fluid levels are a result of a leak or simply poor maintenance, this is an issue that demands immediate attention.
2. Contaminated Transmission Fluid
Having enough fluid isn't going to count for much if that fluid becomes contaminated. Like most other vehicle fluids, transmission fluid can break down over time and pick up small amounts of dust and other contaminants. When this happens, proper lubrication cannot be provided and heat will build up. Those contaminants can also damage or clog other internal components. Just one more reason why regular fluid checks and changes are important.
3. Poor Winter Driving Habits
Sometimes the transmission oil pump will fail because of how the vehicle is driven during winter. When the transmission fluid is not given a chance to warm up after a cold night, it won't be at the proper viscosity level and will therefore place added strain on the pump. Make sure you give your vehicle a few minutes to warm up during the cold winter months.
4. Aggressive Driving
Finally, keep in mind that your driving style is going to impact many important vehicle components, including the transmission oil pump. If you brake and accelerate abruptly, the transmission system will be more likely to overheat and parts such as the oil pump will be put under added strain, so it's best to drive more steadily if you don't want to face expensive repairs in the future.
Reach out to an automatic transmission services shop for more information.