While you can physically drive around with a malfunctioning taillight, it’s not a good idea. But on the flip side, a faulty transmission can leave you sidelined. Unsurprisingly, failing drivetrain components can cost you a lot of money. But learning about your 2007 Ford F150 transmission can help you understand how it works — plus you’ll know the signs that point to potential transmission problems.
How Does an Automatic Transmission Work?
If you grew up driving manual transmission vehicles, you probably remember some basics on how they work. You engage the clutch to cut the link that conveys transmission power to the wheels. This is essential before stopping or manually changing gears with your gear shift lever. You shift to choose the gear that makes the engine produce the force or speed you need. Those needs change according to road conditions — hills, even ground, and so forth.
Driving stick means that you handle this process on your own. An automatic transmission, however, does all this work for you. Instead of a clutch, modern automatic transmissions use torque converters to change gears. Pressurized fluid conveys power to the gears. Sensors tell the transmission assembly when to trigger a gear shift.
Automatic transmission gears work in similar ways to manual versions. First gear aids in slow movement. Higher gears gradually call for more power, sometimes with less speed to handle tricky terrain. Overdrive is most appropriate for highway driving when you reach or exceed 40 MPH. While you must activate it yourself on a manual transmission vehicle, automatic transmission models kick it on automatically.
Failing Transmission Symptoms
Your F150’s transmission does a lot of work, day in and day out. Most of the time, it operates without much notice and you get from Point A to Point B. Symptoms of transmission failure are obvious and hard to overlook:
- Slow or lack of response from transmission
- Whining, clunking or humming noises
- Low transmission fluid levels
- Gear slippage
- “Check Engine” light on
- Grinding and shaking while in gear
Of course, individual components can develop problems as well — shift cables, torque converters, mounts and oil coolers. These can produce a wide range of symptoms. A faulty transmission cooler, for instance, causes the transmission to overheat. With a bad shift selector cable, your truck may start in the wrong gear or not go into gear at all. Failing torque converters can lead to gear slippage, acceleration loss, fluid leaks and overheating. You’ll need to diagnose the problem before purchasing any transmission parts.
Shopping for Your Drivetrain Components
Whether you’re replacing individual parts or an entire transmission, you need the best quality components you can find. When shopping for vehicle drivetrain accessories, choose a trusted aftermarket parts dealer as your supplier. Having a broad selection is a good starting point, but your retailer should also clearly indicate pricing and shipping options. Many retailers offer both shipping and in-store pickup, giving you more options for getting the parts you need. Finally, choose a dealer with auto care experts on staff — you’ll have access to help when you need it most.